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Thursday, July 30, 2009
Updated: July 31, 11:53 PM ET
X Games 15 Moto X Blog - Thursday

By Ryan Leyba
ESPN Action Sports


10:08 p.m. PST: The first day of Moto X competition is over and three golds have been handed out — yes three. Two were set aside for Best Whip and Step Up, but for the first time in history, Ronnie Renner and Ricky Carmichael tied for gold. Todd Potter proved that he's the one to beat when it comes to the whip game, being that he won Best Whip for his second consecutive year. And when I say he won, I mean it — Potter received 42% of the vote with James Stewart coming in second taking 21% of the vote.

Tomorrow is arguably the biggest competition of X Games 15 — Best Trick. Front flips, body varials and uh... the Toilet Paper Roll? Yeah, check out exclusive video of Travis Pastrana's crazy trick here. See you tomorrow!


8:44 p.m. PST: History has been made tonight. Probably not the way either RC or Renner would've liked to win gold, but both of them did in the first ever double-gold/tie. They both put in a hard-faught battle, but both machines and bodies stood in the way. Congrats to both Renner and RC. I need to quit betting against Renner.


8:28 p.m. PST: Renner didn't clear his third try and now it's on RC. No! RC's down! He looped out and it doesn't look good. He's still down — looks to be a shoulder. Stay tuned.


8:24 p.m. PST: Renner can't clear 35 feet, now it's on Carmichael. First attempt... no! RC's last attempt, if he does this he's got it! No, he doesn't have it! Time to get a third try... one shot each.


8:19 p.m. PST: 34 feet is the name of the game. Buyten is out. I really thought he would've been in it till the end. Renner's over and now the pressure is all on RC... and he's got it. Man, Renner is sweating bullets. Next up, 35 feet!


8:13 p.m. PST: Three down, three to go. MC is out after 33 feet. Ronnie Renner is throwing the most insane whips to finesse his two-stroke over the bar.


8:01 p.m. PST: Have you ever seen how high 33 feet actually looks from the ground? I have and it's nothing to scoff at. Three stories to be exact.

Matt Buyten is the first to show the boys that 33 is clearable. Next up, MC ...


8:01 p.m. PST: Four riders remain as the bar moves up to 32 feet.-RL


8:01 p.m. PST: Another commercial break. My take?

It's going to be a Battle Royale between Ricky Carmichael and Matt Buyten. RC has skills for days, but Buyten has more heart than anyone else competing. It's going to be a classic battle between talent and heart.

-RL


7:45 p.m. PST: Kevin Windham, 31 feet—and he knocks the bar down twice. It's too bad Windham's out... I was really pulling for him. -RL


7:31 p.m. PST: Buyten almost missed his chance to go for 30 feet when his bike wouldn't start. His mechanic just had to give him a push so he could kick it into gear and get it going ... damn four-strokes! -RL


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Commercial break!
7:21 p.m. PST: And now for a commercial break. It's a known fact that X Games isn't the best event to watch live. Why? Commercial breaks for live TV, which is going on right now, B! -RL


7:45 p.m. PST: These 31 feet are really giving these guys trouble. McGrath nailed it on the first attempt, but barely got over on his second. Now the skill will be crucial. -RL


7:35 p.m. PST: So far, Renner hasn't been hindered by being the only guy on a 250 two-stroke, but we probably won't see him struggle until the bar gets a bit higher. -RL


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The big 3-0.
7:15 p.m. PST: Can you say ghetto photo? Here's Jeremy McGrath easily clearing 29'. All the boys are over, except Deegan who unfortunately got knocked out at 29'. -RL


7:05 p.m. PST:The bar has been set. First 25' then 26' and now were at 29'. Brian Deegan us the first to hit the bar at 29'. Can he clear his second chance? He's lined up and... No!

Deegan is out! Just like that. One down. -RL


5:59 p.m. PST: Skateboard Big Air just ended and you know what that means... Step Up baby!!! Kevin Windham is the first to line up. It's so on ... -RL


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Gold baby... gold.

5:59 p.m. PST: 42%!!! Todd Potter crushed the competition by winning 42% of the fans votes. James Stewart came in second with 21% of the votes. What an insane comp. Congrats Potter! -RL


5:55 p.m. PST: If I had to vote, I honestly don't even know who I'd pick. They were all so sick. Josh Grant and James Stewart definitely had some sick style. I'm a sucker for Stewart so I may be texting JS to 43776. How about you? -RL


5:51 p.m. PST: James Stewart and Josh Grant are barely pulling their bikes back in time. They're seriously testing the law of physics. Stewart just threw down a HUGE nac whip. So Sick!!!! -RL


5:49 p.m. PST: "I think the crowds way more pumped on my turn downs than my normal whips because Potter and I are the only ones throwing the bike like that." - Myles Richmond.

I agree, the crowd is freaking out over both Potter and Myles.


5:39 p.m. PST: And the winner is... It's all in the viewers hands at this moment.

Text riders initials to 43776

Ricky Carmichael (RC)

And so on. Do it now!!!!! -RL


5:28 p.m. PST: Stewart and Carmichael are the only riders rocking the big 450 four strokes, but it doesn't seem to be hindering them.

The first round is over and the crowd is amped. Potter's panic rev style seems to really get the crowd going.-RL


5:26 p.m. PST: Wow, session one is going down and it's honestly hard to pick who has the best whip. Potter just pulled a huge ruler followed up by an insane whip. The crowd's loving him.

Holy crap, Stewart with an insane one handed whip to panic rev.-RL


5:25 p.m. PST: Biggest Whip works like this: everyone rides a five minute jam session, they take a break, ride one more five-minute jam session, and then it's up to the viewers to text in their favorite to declare the winner.-RL


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Love the color ways.

5:20 p.m. PST: It's on! The last post was just a tease. The real deal event is getting underway as we speak! The staples center us nearly filled to capacity and the rider introductions are going down right now.

James Stewart is obviously a crowd favorite. Can he hang with the FMX boys?-RL


5:10 p.m. PST: The first session has just began and the stadium went from "dead silent Skateboard Big Air" to "crazy chaotic brappage and insane whip action."

As of now, Todd Potters getting the biggest response from the crowd. It's freaking sick.

I just got booted due to my lack of credential, so I'm off to sit with the peasents.-RL


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Get yer whip on!

5:01 p.m. PST: Finally! Watching practice has been great and all, but it's finally time for the first comp ... Biggest Whip!!!! The peeps are filling the stadium and the riders are getting geared up.

It's so close I can smell it!-RL


4:45 p.m. PST: It's ain't over 'till the riders get to make a 60 second simulated comp run. That's the plan, at least, for the finale of the four hour Moto X Freestyle practice sesh. Bilko put it this way: "With a course like this you can't really hold things back for your run. Well, some things you can." Make of that statement what you will ... -TM


It's all happening at XG15.
4:10 p.m. PST: Look carefully and you'll see our boy Leyba perched in prime blogging position. No wonder this guy pulls so much ... content. -TM


3:27 p.m. PST: I just ran into X Games Best Trick darkhorse Paris Rosen here at the Home Depot Center. Apparently he's all registered, checked in and ready to rip! Believe it or not, I actually woke up from one of Paris's texts this morning, which read:

"Want to let everyone know, I finished my last foam pit session yesterday in Phoenix. I'm headed to LA now to claim my gold. I've never felt more confident! Paris." -RL
Gold? Paris thinks so...


3:05 p.m. PST: Freestyle Moto X practice is wrapping up here at the Home Depot Center and luckily everything went super smooth. Potter, Bamburg, Richmond, Stewart, Carmichael and more are getting ready to start Best Whip practice up at Staples. I'll hit you guys up as soon as I get there. See ya! -RL


2:59 p.m. PST: What does "L.A." stand for? Well, according to Todd Potter, it stands for "Lusk Attitude." What's that mean? "It's the eye of the tiger," says Potter. Peep the butt patch. -RL
RIP.


3:16 p.m. PST: Thomas Pages and Andre Villa are about to get in their first practice of the day. I talked to Thomas earlier and he mentioned that he was really tense and nervous in yesterdays practice. Regardless, he's got a sick helmet!
Front Flipper?
-RL


2:59 p.m. PST: Ox was able to get in a round of practice, but he more than likely won't be riding because he's the 2nd alternate behind Jim McNeil. He's definitely pretty bummed about it. -RL


2:47 p.m. PST: I'm just chilling here with Jeff "Ox" Kargola watching Taka and Bilko practice. Bilko just pulled a massive 360 ... Again. Besides that, not much new going on. -RL


2:44 p.m. PST: Maddo just saw his crash for the first time along with Deegan and Twitch. They didn't realize how gnarly it really was.
Mate!
-RL


2:40 p.m. PST: Just talked to Maddo. He's holding oub on practice today, but he'll be back tomorrow. "I'll be back out there, but I just want to give my elbow one mire day of rest." -RL


2:40 p.m. PST: Twitch has taken to the course and he's already killing the big 115' with huge hart attack seat grabs. -RL


2:19 p.m. PST: Sitting here with Andre Villa. He's getting ready to head out.

"The course is pretty easy, but it doesn't flow too well for a jam-type format."

Andre is one of those guys that if he puts it all together, he could win. -RL
Andre Villa


1:59 p.m. PST: Nate's rocking some sweet new One Industries gear. I'd take a photo, but I'm up in the media center and he's look like a little bug. -RL


1:58 p.m. PST: Nothing's going on right now, but I want to keep you guys updated. As usual, it's practice, so not too much is going down. The boys are just using this time to feel the track out and get dialed. Nate Adams and Ronnie Faisst just took to the course. -RL

1:54 p.m. PST: Both Jim McNeil and Nixey Danielson seem to be riding smooth, but have yet to bust out any solid tricks. McNeil's bike is completely switched up — it's a Suzuki RM250, but you can't even tell it's a Suzuki. It looks like a Yamaha. Pretty trippy. He's also rocking white spokes... never seen that before. -RL


1:46 p.m. PST: I just made it up to the media center here at Home Depot Center and Beau Bamburg and Jeff "Ox" Kargola are putting in the first practice session of the day. Beau just went for a ruler flip off the 115' ramp — didn't quite pull it, but it looked massive regardless.

Beau is also whipping it HUGE off one of the standard comp ramps. Look for him to crush it in tonight's Biggest Whip final at Staples Center.

A crowd has also congregated in the bleachers and they're actually really vocal. It makes for a much more exciting practice session.

Next out, Jim McNeil and Nixey Danielson. -RL


1:28 p.m. PST: I'm heading out to practice right now, but check out our coverage from the Red Bull Toast with Travis Pastrana at the Avalon in Hollywood. It took a few to get the video, but check it out... it's worth it.

CLICK HERE to see what went down. -RL



12:29 p.m. PST: Awe man, here we are... day two of Freestyle Moto X practice. All the riders have crawled out of their plush hotel beds and managed to scurry down to the Home Depot Center to put in a little more seat time.

Nothing too major going on as of now, but the pits are getting a lot more packed and having James Stewart cruising around in his gear is a bit surreal. What started off as an Xtreme freakshow has since turned into a first class action sports event — the largest in the world.

I'm off to go do some some scoping and sniffing around the pits, but stay tuned because the 250 two-strokes will be firing up very shortly.

And, speaking of roaming the pits, I caught up with the one and only Kevin Windham after last night's step up practice to pick his brain and find out if he's pumped to be battling the bar at Staples Center. Check out the K Dub video HERE — and don't pay attention to my horrible interviewing skills and annoying girl voice... -RL


11:35 a.m. PST: Practice is over for the day. The last rider to leave the grounds was Josh Hansen, who walked out with a slight limp accompanied by a blog-a-neering tweetster.

"Awesome track," he says. "I'd say X Games makes the best best supercross tracks. I wish they'd make 'em like this in AMA. ... There's more air, tighter sections and more ryhythm -- more like BMX out there -- and I've always enjoyed stuff like that."

A few folks ask Hansen for tickets -- "I'll work on it," he says, adding, "Man, I haven't eaten anything today. I had like a Gatorade..."

Before parting ways, we asked Hansen the big question -- how do you beat James Stewart? "I want to beat him," he says. "I know he's gonna be fast, but I'd like to be the guy to crack him."

Hansen was rushed through the rally course by officials, who were pointing with some urgency to the idling rally cars waiting for the course to clear of humans. Travis Pastrana, one of the rally drivers, saw Hansen coming with his limp.

"Dude," Pastrana says, "you were the fastest girl for sure." Hansen cracked up. -TM


10:55 a.m. PST: James stewart just pulled off for a breather. He ewas towelling off and drinking some purple fluid.

"Course is pretty good. Fun track to ride -- pretty technical and tough to pass..."

On the general vibe: "So much more relaxed. Everbodys whipping out it out off the finish line (jump), and we've got an hour long practice session here so no one feels like they're in crunch mode. It's fun out there, man." - TM


10:35 a.m. PST: Riders are periodically pulling off onto the ramp at the north side to tweak bikes and check in with crews.

Kevin windham during just such a stop:

"We're all having a lot of fun. Great jumps. It'll be interesting to see once it comes down to race time."

How big is the triple? "Not sure. Bigger than normal. But the biggest one is the finish line (table top). We're able to get a bit of roost off that one. ... I bet its about 80 (feet)." - TM


10:25 a.m. PST: Women's practice is over and the men have overtaken the track.

Checked in with Jessica Patterson:

- Regarding the triple, she says, "Once I finally did it, it was easy. It went well. .. I was a little nervous going into it but my bike's good and I just trusted it. I watched Josh Hanson and just did what he did."

Patterson also cleared the finish line table top on her second lap of practice. "I felt a lot better than I did last year; way more comfortable and a lot more confident." - TM


10:15 a.m. PST: James stewart and media entourage in the home depot center house. T. Pastrana has also taken a seat for the ladies practice. Men's practice follows directly after. - TM

Getting prepped.


10:05 a.m. PST: Most riders are on 250 cc 4 strokes weighing about 240 pounds. "So about double what the girls are," says Cowboy Kenny.

"These girls aren't used to supercross tracks though, but rather outdoor tracks, which usually have mellower jumps and more space between obstacles. Outdoor is also generally a lot faster -- 3rd and 4th gear mostly. Here, you're rarely outta 2nd." - TM


9:40 a.m. PST: Girls on course ... including a few riders like Sherri Cruse, a 20-year-old from nearby Bakersfield, whose petite frame is dwarfed by her bike.

"I'm excited to get out there," she said. "Nothing looks too gnarly." - TM


9:40 a.m. PST: Women's racrer meeting at the home depot center... Definitely a better looking crew than the x games moto x racers we've grown accustomed to to date. Stay tuned for updates -- b/c who doesn't love the smell of gas and brake dust in the morning?!- TM


9:20 a.m. PST: Up and at 'em moto campers! Because it's a sizably large day for Moto X at X. On tap just this morning we've got Moto X Super X (translation motocross supercross -- oxymoronical implications aside) practice for men and women.

It's ladies first, of course, from 9 to 10 local time, then the men from 10 to 11. Your roving dispatch machine will be burning holes in his thumbs to keep you abreast and informed of the very latest. Even if our brows are buried in our blackberrys, we will not miss a thing!

Later in the day we've got FMX practice (1 to 5 p.m.), Moto X Best Whip (practice and finals), Moto X Super X Adaptive practice, and finally Moto X Step Up Finals for primetime. Got all that? Right, probably not. In which case, we've got you covered -- provided we don't miss it either. - TM