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French rider Rémi Bizouard secured his third FIM Freestyle MX World Championships title on Saturday in Riga, Latvia. Bizouard beat defending 2011 champion Javier Villegas and 2010 champ Libor Podmol in the overall rankings after amassing an insurmountable lead in the first 11 of 12 events in the 2012 series, which concludes Dec. 15 in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Bizouard, who also won the FIM title in 2008 and 2009, has had a tremendous year, winning the three-stop 2012 UEM Freestyle MX European Championship, and taking either first or second place at every single event of the FIM series with wins in Italy, Germany, Switzerland and China along the way. He also made is debut on the Red Bull X-Fighters circuit in August, and says he has his sights set on making a splash at X Games in 2013. ESPN.com caught up with him after Saturday's competition for more on what he has in store for the international FMX scene.
ESPN.com: First off, congratulations. What does it mean to you to have the FIM championship title back for your third time in five years?
Rémi Bizouard: It's a nice feeling, for sure. I won my first two seasons and got second last year, and I'm really happy to be back on top. It's really fun to ride these contests with all the other guys. We have a good atmosphere on the Night of The Jumps World Tour and spend a lot of time together, practicing and competing at all these events, so to win is a great rush.
How high is the level of competition at these events? You've made the podium in one of the top two spots at the first 11 stops in the series this year, and I imagine we'll see you up there again in December before claiming your trophy in Bulgaria.
It's very high: We have Josh Sheehan coming out here doing 360s, Javier Villegas doing a lot of crazy flip combos, and Libor Podmol bringing the biggest underflips on Earth, so it's really tough. These are guys who have made the podium at X Games, have made the podium at X-Fighters, so it's very high, but everybody has a very different style and I wouldn't want to be a judge. I just try my best, try to get a good extension on every trick, and try to be smooth and clean. That's pretty much all you can do.
|Defending FIM Freestyle World Champion Javier Villegas presents the medal to new champion Rémi Bizouard on Saturday in Latvia.|
In 2013 X Games will be expanding to include events in Brazil, Germany, and Spain. Because you've competed in each of those countries on the Night of The Jumps World Tour over the past few years, what do you think the reception will be like as X Games expands?
I've only been riding twice in America so it's hard to compare, but I think the crowds in Europe are louder than in the U.S., and it's more like a show here than a TV competition. You're playing with the crowd, they get loud when you do big tricks, and one feeds the other. These crowds in Europe and Brazil like big tricks, they know what the tricks are, and they always want to see something new, and these are people who can't wait for X Games to come here. It's really cool to see those kinds of people in the crowd because you know you have to really step it up.
I really would like to ride the X Games next year and we're all very excited and pumped about it coming to Europe. I hope I can ride them and I'm going to spend the winter changing up my way of riding to get better for those events.
Do you have any other specific goals for 2013? This year we saw you pop up on the Red Bull X-Fighters series for the first time. Is that something you'd like to do more of?
Yes, but this year there were big problem situations where big events were held at the same time or the same weekend, and I couldn't be at both, and Javier couldn't be at both, so hopefully we can get the schedules to work out better next year between the different organizers. I would love to try competing at X-Fighters again and to make it to all of the events next year.
What's the FMX scene like back home in France? David Rinaldo and Brice Izzo are currently ranked third and fourth in the 2012 FIM series. Is it a scene that's growing?
There's a big FMX interest in France and it's definitely growing, with a lot of riders to watch for. David lives close to my place and we practice together sometimes. It's good to see him on a top level going bigger and bigger every year. We have to watch David. We all do a few shows together every year and we're trying to ride together when we can. I think when X Games comes to Europe you're going to see a lot more European riders coming up.
Are there any tricks you've been working on that you'd like to cross off your list in December for the last event of the FIM series before you collect your trophy?
I've been practicing a few different tricks for the last event of the year to finish strong and to prepare for next year, but for right now I'm just in the moment and really happy to have done well this year. I'd just like to say thank you very much to everyone who supports me and to all my sponsors, and to you guys for doing the interview and covering the tour. I plan to put on a big show for everybody in Sofia.