In June of 2008 a promising young kid from the Northeast named Luke Emmons won XDL Nashville and put himself on the map. Since that time, Emmons has established himself as “Mr. Consistency,” but that second win proved elusive because the field at XDL now consists of the best riders in the world. Emmons never gave up and in fact has spent more time than ever practicing his runs, and it finally paid off in a big way. He took first in run 1 and second in run 2 for a combined total of 3 points, just edging out Bill Dixon who went 3-1 and Rafal Pasierbek who went 2-4.
Rick Hart mixed it up for fourth after being away from competition for over a year, proving that he is still one of the top riders in the world. Chris McNeil took his second consecutive 5th place, keeping him in touch with the leaders and opening up a chance at the national title. Dixon leads the championship after two events with 58 points over Rafal Pasierbek with 48, Luke Emmons with 45, followed by Ernie Vigil and Chris McNeil both tied at 32 points. Round 3 in Indianapolis on August 17 & 18 may prove to be decisive in the championship hunt.
After getting so used to Bill Dixon and Nick Brocha battling it out in the national points battle, and Aaron Colton and Dan Jackson dominating the other events in 2011, 2012 is providing a whole new level of excitement. Rookies Kyle Sliger and Nick Karipis are starting to make themselves known, with Sliger finisihing 6th in XDL Cup and Karipis taking the win in the Yamaha Generators Wheelie race. Team Japan put in a very respectable showing with Hiroyuki Ogawa placing 7th in XDL Cup and Dai Yabuki, who flew all the way from Okinawa, placing 14th in only his first XDL Cup event ever.
The hot new competition of the year, the Motul Drift Battle, has been up for grabs at every round, with Bill Dixon taking the win in Round 2 and drift specialist Aaron Twite placing 2nd. Lin Eshalom wasn’t able to repeat his stand-out performance from DC but still took third in the K&N Circle Challenge, getting edged out by Joel Figueroa and eventual winner Rafal Pasierbek. Pasierbek was also able to clinch his second consecutive Racing 905 Sickest Trick win with a beautiful switchback drift. The small area and slippery surface that had made it so difficult on many of the athletes all weekend, turned out to be just what Pasierbek needed to pull off his trick, putting an additional $1,000 in his pocket.
From a coverage perspective, the weekend set a new record with 18 minutes of live airtime on the FOX morning and midday news, as well as Good Day LA. In addition KABC filmed and aired a short feature and ESPN for the first time filmed an XDL event for a short series on Grantland.com.
Next up is Indianapolis as part of the Red Bull Indianapolis GP on August 17 & 18 in beautiful downtown Indy. Did we mention that we’ll have a beer truck and several food trucks? Should be quite a weekend in the park. A 25% discount is available online at xdlshow.com by using discount code GO INDY.
Images from the event can be viewed in the XDL Facebook Gallery courtesy of Jeremy Billera.
1. Luke Emmons; 2. Bill Dixon; 3. Rafal Pasierbek; 4. Rick Hart; 5. Chris McNeil
K&N Circle Challenge
1. Rafal Pasierbek; 2. Joel Figueroa; 3. Lin Eshalom
Racing 905 Sickest Trick
1. Rafal Pasierbek
Motul Drift Battle
1. Bill Dixon; 2. Aaron Twite; 3. Dan Jackson
Yamaha Generators Wheelie Race
1. Nick Karipis; 2. Aaron Colton; 3. Joel Figueroa
2012 XDL Championship Series Schedule
R1: Budds Creek, MD – Maryland International Raceway, 7/21 & 22
R2: Long Beach, CA – Queen Mary, 8/3 & 4
R3: Indianapolis, IN – Downtown, 8/17 & 18
R4: Albuquerque, NM – NAPA Speedway, 8/31 and 9/1
Finals: Portland, OR – Portland International Raceway, 9/14 & 15