Live X Games Moto X Blog - Wednesday

What? Really? One day of Freestyle Moto X and Step Up practice and it was already this exciting? Seriously though, today was the first time that the Home Depot Center and Staples Center had any sort of brappage going on and what could have been a very mellow day turned out to be really exciting. With the first Freestyle Moto X practice out of the way, the HUGE and international 16-man field made quick work of the challenging course and started putting a few tricks together. Besides Robbie Maddison's scary (but fairly harmless) crash after losing control of his bike—upside down—everything went smooth and the riders stayed safe. I've always been a fan of Step Up, but to tell you the truth, I've never been as genuinely amped to watch it as I am this year. I just got done watching the first practice and it was seriously so rad to Kevin Windham and Ricky Carmichael just straight up putting it down. Step Up takes gnarly bike control and Kevin Windham is known for having just that - he came out of the womb in a fully flicked upside down whip ... seriously. Tomorrow K Dub trades in his Step Up bike for his more familiar Supercross bike and takes to the freshly sculpted Super X track where he'll be joined by none other than James Stewart. This years Super X track looks a bit gnarlier than last years, but to tell you the truth, Stewart will probably make it look like a mini bike track for beginners. But unlike today, tomorrow is actually filled with some official action as Best Whip and the Step Up final will be taking place in Staples Center. Speaking of Best Whip, have you had a chance to see invited riders Todd Potter and Josh Grant practicing out at the Metal Mulisha Compound? Oh man, it's so on. Keep it locked and we'll keep it cocked. See ya'll Thursday! -RL Don't forget to check out the Whip Vid!
9:19 p.m. PST: Step Up practice is starting to wind down here at the Staples Center. Renner's starting to get a bit more height, but he still seems to be struggling to get the same height as the other boys. -RL
9:06 p.m. PST: Uh oh, here comes the bar. Looks like Dane and the boys want to give the new system a real life test. The riders are taking a quick break. Initial thoughts: Ricky Carmichael truly is the GOAT (greatest of all time). He's boosting so high and whipping it so hard, he's riding the line of crushing it or crashing it. Matt Buyten has been doing his homework. RC and Buyten look to be going around the same height... Around 35 feet Metal Mulisha's Brian Deegan is also riding really good. He looks confident on the bike and he's getting good height out of the lip. As always, Jeremy McGrath is killing it. I know it's just the first practice session, but MC is such a natural the he looks like he could jump into competition right now and be a contender for the gold. Kevin Windham is looking smooth and getting pretty high, but he doesn't seem to be killing it like I was expecting him to. I gotta cut him some slack though... The first time he's ever hit a Step Up lip was yesterday at the Red Bull Compound. I think that Ronnie Renner should rush home and grab his 450. He's the only dude on a two stroke and it's evident that he's at a disadvantage on the smaller bike. -RL
9:37 p.m. PST: "After riding the 250 all year, practicing for the Red Bull High Rise, I just feel way more comfortable on the two-stroke. Who knows, it could be a bad idea, but we'll see." Indeed we will! The bikes are being fired up as we speak and practice is set to go down. SICK!!! -RL
8:28 p.m. PST: Kevin Windham! Check out his bike.
7:26 p.m. PST: Ok, everyone is geared up and ready to go. I can't tell you how sick it is to see Ricky Carmichael and Kevin Windham here with they're racer style and insane bikes. Anticipation is building. The new Step Up rig is up and the final preparations are being made.
I'm sitting here with Nixey Danielson, and he's stoked to here at X games - riding Freestyle and watching Step Up and Best Trick. "I can't wait to watch Best Trick," he says. "There are so many gnarly tricks that are going to get thrown down. I'm looking forward to seeing Loza's trick and of course Travis Pastrana's 360 flip deal." As for Step Up, Nixey is equally excited. "I'm stoked on Windham riding Step Up. I'd be stoked to see more supercross riders get into Step Up. It takes so much bike skill to do this." Practice should be kicking off any second! -RL
6:46 p.m. PST: A no-hander backflip got away from Maddo in tonight's freestyle practice (watch the video HERE). He took a hard hit, but the indestructable Aussie was later spotted in the pits with a smile on his face and an ice pack on his right elbow. Look for him to be back in the saddle tomorrow (and Leyba, I promise to stick to race coverage from now on). -TM
[Maddo addendum: "I'd like to see Hanny (Josh Hanson) get a cheeky hole shot and repeat in Moto X Racing. But I don't know. Who's racing? Stewart? Is he here? Chad Reed? What's his story? Oh, and Josh Grant -- He's on a bike that I know can win." (A Yamaha, of course, Maddo says with a grin).
6:33 p.m. PST: Kevin Windham and Jeremy McGrath's X Games step up bikes. Check it! -RL

6:41 p.m. PST: Tedesco and I made it to the Staples Center for Step Up practice and as of now, Matt Buyten looks to be the only guy here. Course builder Dane Herron and crew are putting the final touches on the new bar system, which looks to be really sturdy. Ronnie Renner just showed up, so make that two dudes here. By the way, Kevin Windham and Jeremy McGrath's Step Up bikes are on the stadium floor and they're looking absolutely insane. More to come. -RL

Tim Mutrie

The busiest man at X?

5:59 p.m. PST: From Bo Tucker via email: Which is better for the sport of SuperMoto: a James Stewart win or a win by an AMA Supermoto rider? There's something to be said for each, I think. The big name wins or the big name goes down. What do you think? Either way, it will be better if Stewart doesn't crash out.

We'll let James weigh in here: "Obviously, for me, SuperMoto is a different event. I've never raced it and [yesterday] was second time I'd ever ridden it. I was laughing because I'm like, man, I'll probably end up doing better in the sports that I'm not supposed to do good in and suck in the supercross." -TM

5:29 p.m. PST: So this is what a reality TV show I progress looks like. A kindly prducer named Christine tells us they're filming a 10-part TV series for Fuel TV -- "Bubba's World". Indeed. -TM

5:29 p.m. PST: The first round of practice is over and to be perfectly honest, everyone looked really good. Since it was the first practice sesh, most riders just felt out the jumps with minimal tricks, but then guys like Robbie Maddison, Eigo Sato and Blake Williams went out there throwing down. It's all a matter of personal preferance as everyone will be throwing down huge come game time.

Chris Tedesco/ESPN Action Sports

Beau Bamburg was killing the course with authority.

A safe practice is a good practice and todays first sesh was flawless. ESPN photog Chris Tedesco and myself are off to Staples Center to catch Step Up practice, so stay tuned for more. A little later this evening I'll be bringing you the rundown from last night's Red Bull Tiasted with Travis Pastrana. A lit went down, so you don't want to miss that! -RL

5:09 p.m. PST: James Stewart on scene in the moto pits surrounded by 16 hands involved in a rather fancy photo shoot. James stewart is being asked to turn this way and that, but he's not being asked to smile. -TM

5:09 p.m. PST: Mike Schultz, who lost a leg in a snocross race wreck last winter, was taking in FMX practice this afternoon. But Schultz is not here at X Games just to watch. The six-time Winter X Games competitor is making his Summer X debut in Moto X Super X Adaptive racing. "I've been riding dirtbikes since mid-April," says Schultz, who walks tall these days with a prostheic knee and lower leg. "I do get a little tired walking the quarter-mile back and forth from our pit area to here. But I'm so far ahead of where I thought I'd be; I thought I'd have to get rid of the dirt bike. But now, seven months after my accident, here I am at X Games." -TM

5:09 p.m. PST: Bilko here. Twitch just got onto the course and I think his helmet's looking a bit metrosexual. Other than that, not too much going on besides sitting here with about 20 Anzacs and Levi Sherwood. I'm dissapointed he won't be riding. He would've been a real threat out there. Potters running his mouth. All talk no action. KNOB.

Ryan Leyba

Bilko mate!

4:42 p.m. PST: Just watching practice. I'm currently in the lead with four riders to go but Maddo is out there goin' for it Mad Dog style. Will he bust out the flying Dutchman? Aussie Aussie Aussie! —Bilko

4:32 p.m. PST: Bilko and Taka are on the course right now and Bilko is definitely trying to prove a point. He's backflipped nearly every jump including the huge 115' dirt hit and just threw a HUGE 360 down ... Wait make that two 360s ... Off one of the more standard ramps. Bilko is winning practice at this point. He's also sporting an entirely new look with an all black bike decked out with gold rims. Not a hint of red on his entire setup. He's looking better than ever leading up to XG15. Photos of his setup to come. -RL

4:23 p.m. PST: This just in: Daniel Blair is IN as an alternate in Moto X Super X. -TM

4:11 p.m. PST: Mutrie here. No Moto X racers on hand today -- but freestyle riders are going off at present during practice. Some details on the course, meanwhile: Dane Herron designed the entire set-up, which incorporates both the Freestyle course, Moto X Racing track and, somehow, some Rally too. On the race side, "It has a supercross flair to it -- a lot of the standard supercross features, but unique because of all the freestyle elements incorporated into it," says Joe Duncan, Sports and Comp coordinator for motor sports at the Home Depot Center. "So whoop sections, rythym sections, singles, doubles and triples, table tops and a step up." Some notes: Kevin Windham and Josh Hanson were the Moto X Racing "test althetes" selected to preview the course yesterday -- racers will get their first offcial practice tomorrow. "They don't run the whole course all at once," Duncan explained, "but they hit each feature to see how it all works. That way when we come out for practice, like we are here now for our first practice (for freestyle), for the most part it should all work just fine." Indeed, for the most part. Says FMX rider Adam Jones, who was waiting his turn to get some freestyle practice: "We could use this whole floor for a freestyle course, but we don't have that luxury with trying to squeeze a race track in here too. It definaitely makes it a little harder all around." -TM

3:33 p.m. PST: I said that Charles hasn't had a chance to ride the course, but he won't be riding freestyle, so he won't ride the course at all. Just Best Trick where he'll front-flip (we hope). On a side note, holy crap!!! Beau just flipped the 115 dirt hit. Freaking huge!!!! -RL

3:20 p.m. PST: I just made it Into the stadium where I ran into Frenchman Charles Pages. He hasn't had a chance to ride the course yet, but he's liking the looks of it. "Yeah, it looks really safe and fun to ride." We're watching Beau Bamburg put in the first practice session of the day, but he had a chan e to ride the course yesterday, so he's killing every hit right off the bat. The 115' dirt hit is pretty montrous. -RL

2:32 p.m. PST: I talked to Travis Pastrana last night about his new trick. Check out the video. -RL

Rumor has it there's a special limited edition color that the entire Fox team will wear come event time.

2:14 p.m. PST:I made my maiden voyage to the pits and I'm just getting bombarded by all the comical FMX dudes. First off Mike Mason and I get to talking about the course. He had a chance to ride it yesterday and he's claiming that it's super fun, but it'll be hard to pull off more than 6 tricks in a 60 second run. The next thing you know he invited me into his "locker room" inside the massive and insanley tricked out Hart and Huntington semi. "It's what I've dreamed of since I was a kid, since racing back in the days. Now I freaking ride one minute, pull off the course and cruise into my air conditioned rig. Life's pretty good. I've finally made it." After hopping out of the rig I was bombarded by everyones favorite Aussie, Blake "Bilko" Williams. After giving me my shades back that I left at his house, Bilko proceeded to tell me how his bike seized after landing off the 115' ramp during yesterdays course test. His mechanic had to pull out his motor and replace it with the one from his practice bike. Rough start for Bilko, but nothing major. Next thing you know Todd Potter zips by shirtless on his sweat little mountain bike. "You guys listen to loveline last night?" asks Potter. "No why, were you on it?" I reply. "Hell yeah dude, it was so funny!" finishes Potter Apparently Todd had a chance to be himself on the infamous Love Line on KROQ and talk about all the things that deals with on a daily basis- like chicks, sex, stds, relationship problems, drug addiction and unwanted pregnancies. Infortunately I didn't have a chance to catch the show, but I will not rest until I get my hands on it. Stay tuned. Back to the pits! Be back shortly. -RL

2:01 p.m. PST: Mutrie here. Not too much happening moto x racing wise today, but the rally drivers are spinning practice laps on the tarmac portion of their track. Its hot out and many of them, ken block included, are seeking shade to wait out their next cracks on the track. Travis pastrana, meanwhile, is not sweating -- despite his full lenth Royals blue flame retardent jumpsuit. We asked him for a prediction in moto x racing and pastrana obliged: "You gotta go with james stewart -- the fastest rider ever to put a leg over a motorcycle. ... The only rider who's gonna beat james stewart is james. He makes amzing riders look dumb on a daily basis."

1:37 p.m. PST: Tweet from @perplexy: What rumors are going around XG15? Who's bringing what (ahem ... Pastrana best trick)?

The rumor on Pastrana is he'll be throwing a no-handed 360 backflip. You can hear all about it here, although the latest info is that he's 50/50 on whether or not he'll do it. Apparently, rumors about Kyle Loza's bike flip are premature, although that might just be some misdirection from his camp? And then, of course, there's the front flip, which you can read all about right here. How's that for beta?

11:10 a.m. PST: What's up you X Games moto fiends, Ryan Leyba here live on location here at the Home Depot Center. Freestyle Moto X practice is set to be kicking off at 3pm and then the Step Up big dogs will be testing out the freshly-shaped lip over at Staples Center in downtown LA. Keep your web browser locked right here as I'll be bringing you guys live updates every few minutes. Even though the big comps are a few days out, you can bet that it's going to be going down today. Ahhh, there's a strong scent of X Games 15 in the air. Gotta love it. -RL (PS - We've got Tim Mutrie on the scene covering the racing, so he'll be posting here as well.)