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Sunday, March 18, 2012
Bizouard, Villegas victorious in Berlin

Remi Bizouard topped the podium on Friday for Round 3 of the 2012 FIM Freestyle MX World Championship series, and is the current overall leader.

The 2012 FIM Freestyle MX World Championship series is shaping up to be a head-to-head battle between French rider Remi Bizouard and Chilean rider Javier Villegas, the defending champ. The international competition series moved to Berlin, Germany this weekend, where Bizouard won Round 3 on Friday, beating out Villegas and French rider Brice Izzo to top the podium, and Villegas won Round 4 on Saturday, edging out Bizouard and Czech rider Libor Podmol, the 2010 FIM champ, for the top spot.

On Friday the night belonged to Bizouard, soaring above the crowd at the o2 World Arena with a run that featured a tsunami scorpion, seat grab to suicide, no-hander flip, suicide double seat grab indy combo, nac-nack, switchblade flip, shaolin flip, tsunami flip, 360 underflip, and an Oxecutioner, with a huge Hart attack flip for his final double-up trick.

Javier Villegas lounges back on a recliner in Berlin on his way to winning Round 4 of the 2012 FIM Freestyle MX World Championship series.

"It's really important to me to have a lot of variations and be really good both upside down and straight," Bizouard said in a podium interview after the competition. I'm practicing a lot and I'm here to enjoy the ride and having fun with my friends around. If I'm winning it's pretty good also. It's like a bonus." Bizouard -- who also won Round 2 earlier this month in Turin, Italy -- now holds a commanding lead in the overall standings, ahead of Podmol and Izzo, partly thanks to a Round 2 crash that knocked Villegas unconscious just one night after winning Round 1.

But Villegas appears to have made a full recovery and was back in top form this weekend: On Friday he won the Best Whip competition, then held on for second place in the freestyle competition. And on Saturday he beat Bizouard by more than 10 points, taking Round 4 with a run that featured a tsunami, seatgrab indy flip, one-handed takeoff to suicide rock-solid, nac-nac, nac flip, whip, switchblade flip, cordova flip, recliner to no-hand landing, ruler flip, and underflip, then a suicide flip on his final, double-up trick.

"I was just waving to the crowd and asking for their support and I threw it all," Villegas said, after the competition. "Man, first place, I'm completely excited about this!"

Like all events on the International Freestyle Motocross Federation (IFMXF) Night of the Jumps World Tour, the Berlin events featured a handful of local riders; the tour has been helping to grow both the international audience for FMX and the international field of competitors for more than a decade. German riders this weekend included Hannes Ackermann, Fabian Bauersachs, Lukas Weis, and Kai Haase. Ackermann made the cut for finals on Saturday, finishing in sixth place.

Javier Villegas, Remi Bizouard, and Libor Podmol share the podium.

The Berlin events also featured a Best Trick competition, which Australian rider Clinton Moore won both nights with his volt body varial. Friday's event featured a new freestyle mountain bike competition, which Russian rider Pavel Alehkin won, and Saturday's event featured the MAXXIS Highest Air competition, won by Italian rider Massimo Bianconcini, the current world record holder.

The 2012 FIM Freestyle MX World Championship continues with Rounds 5 and 6 on April 13 and 14, as the International Freestlye Motocross Federation (IFMXF) Night of the Jumps World Tour heads to Basel, Switzerland.