NIGHT of the JUMPs China: Bizouard and Podmol off to strong start after mid-season break

NIGHT of the JUMPs China: Bizouard and Podmol off to strong start after mid-season break

On Saturday, China played host for the
first time ever to the FIM Freestyle MX World Championship. The NIGHT of
the JUMPs World Tour put together its finest line-up of riders for the scrutiny
of the assembled Guangdong bigwigs and the Chinese Motorsport Federation.
The occasion was enhanced by the presence of the two Red Bull drivers, Josh
Sheehan (AUS) and Petr Pilat (CZE). Unfortunately, the 2011 world champion
Javier Villegas had to drop out at short notice due to injury.

As early as the qualifying stage, it was apparent who was going to cope best
with the rock-hard surface in the Guangzhou International Sports Arena.

The top three positions in qualification went to Remi Bizouard (FRA), Maikel
Melero (ESP) and ‘comeback kid’ Josh Sheehan (AUS). Also leaving the rest of
the field standing were David Rinaldo (FRA), Libor Podmol (CZE) and Brice Izzo
(FRA). The four best-placed riders in the FIM World Championship had thus
booked themselves a place in the final. But before that, there was a spectacular
Best Whip contest which had the Chinese crowd on the edge of their seats.
Anyone subscribing to the cliché of the reserved, politely smiling Asian will have
found the occasion in Guangzhou something of a revelation. The spectators in
the hall lauded the Whip contest winner Josh Sheehan as if he had just won the
World Championship itself.

The fans had the opportunity to cool off during the half-time break, but the
Chinese applause machine cranked back up to full volume with the riders
contesting the MAXXIS Highest Air receiving further vociferous support. The
winner was Massimo Bianconcini (ITA) who cleared the bar at 8.90 metres. He
prevailed in a head-to-head with Libor Podmol to come a step closer to winning
the TAG Heuer timepiece for the MAXXIS Highest Air overall winner.

The finale saw the expected duel between Remi Bizouard and Libor Podmol,
this time with the Frenchman coming off best. But playing gooseberry on
this occasion was Spanish rider Maikel Melero who was on magnificent form,
finishing second and recording his best NIGHT of the JUMPS result to date.
Meanwhile, Brice Izzo had to settle for sixth place. Fifth position was taken by
his compatriot David Rinaldo. After seven successive podium finishes in his
previous NIGHT of the JUMPS engagement, a now fully fit Josh Sheehan just
missed out on the podium for a change. He made a small mistake on his final
run which almost certainly deprived him of a better result. Following the contest,
he confirmed that he is 100% back in contention and committed to joining the
podium party on Day 2 of the Chinese Grand Prix.

With a fourth victory of the season, Remi Bizouard marginally extended his
lead in the overall standings over Libor Podmol. But with one day to go here in
Guangzhou, the pack may yet be reshuffled.

FACTS NIGHT of the JUMPs – FIM Freestyle MX World Championships
Guangzhou, 15th September 2012 – Round 8

Overall
Firstname Lastname Nat WR Pts
1 Remi Bizouard FRA 20.0
2 Maikel Melero ESP 18.0
3 Libor Podmol CZE 16.0
4 Josh Sheehan AUS 14.0
5 David Rinaldo FRA 12.0
6 Brice Izzo FRA 10.0
7 Petr Pilat CZE 9.0
8 Jose Miralles ESP 8.0
9 Hannes Ackermann GER 7.0
10 Massimo Bianconcini ITA 6.0
11 Aleksey Koleshnikov RUS 5.0
Final
Firstname Lastname Nat Pts
1 Remi Bizouard FRA 396.0
2 Maikel Melero ESP 378.0
3 Libor Podmol CZE 371.0
4 Josh Sheehan AUS 358.0
5 David Rinaldo FRA 353.0
6 Brice Izzo FRA 315.0
Highest Air
Firstname Lastname Nat Height
1 Massimo Bianconcini ITA 8.9 m
2 Libor Podmol CZE 8.7 m
3 Maikel Melero ESP 7.5 m
Whip Contest
Firstname Lastname Nat
1 Josh Sheehan AUS
2 Libor Podmol CZE
3 Massimo Bianconcini ITA
4 Hannes Ackermann GER
4 Massimo Bianconcini ITA
4 David Rinaldo FRA
Qualification
Firstname Lastname Nat Points
1 Remi Bizouard FRA 348.0
2 Maikel Melero ESP 339.0
3 Josh Sheehan AUS 336.0
4 David Rinaldo FRA 334.0
5 Libor Podmol CZE 330.0
6 Brice Izzo FRA 320.0
7 Petr Pilat CZE 317.0
8 Jose Miralles ESP 309.0
9 Hannes Ackermann GER 295.0
10 Massimo Bianconcini ITA 255.0
11 Aleksey Koleshnikov RUS 240.0

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