Freestyle motocross is filled with amazing feats of athleticism. Here%uFFFDs Andre Villa.

Photos by Tom Wallace

The skill and timing required for Motocross Freestyle event at the X Games is one of the most awe-inspiring events to witness, especially live. On Friday, July 29, at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, fans packed the arena to see the top international freestyle motocross guys compete in an action-packed competition that clearly raised the bar on what motocross events are all about.

You could hear the collective breath-holding of the audience as riders took off from a mix of massive ramps to pull enormous 360’s, double backflips, no-handed Can-Can’, or the all-out Supermans with only a split second to land it right and move onto the next obstacle.

Taka Higashino came in fourth but the guy was busting out amazing moves. Fans loved him.

In the finals, while it appeared that Taka Higashino would be a medalist (dude can do a backbend over his handle bars and touch his front fender with his heels), he was outpaced by the industry vet Nate Adams in the final runs. It was Nate’s first gold in this event since 2004, meaning you can come back and win it at X Games. Bob Burnquist, Bucky Lasek, and even Shaun White are prime examples of this phenomenon at this year’s Summer X Games.

According to Adams, “Freestyle and Speed & Style are my favorite events for the weekend. Now that freestyle is over I%uFFFDm really excited for Speed & Style.”

The seatgrab milla-seconds before landing. Yes, Nate Adams, vet of this sport that took the Gold.

In freestyle, Nate pulled massive 360’s and technical combos for the win.
According to silver medalist Adam Jones, “I liked the smaller arena a lot better. A course like this is what I am comfortable riding on. I was so excited to come this far in this contest and I wasn%uFFFDt going to give up. You can%uFFFDt buy this feeling, you have to earn it and we got it today.”

Spain’s Dany Torres claimed the bronze.

Overall, the event was exciting and tight. The course itself made it that way. Unlike previous venues like the LA Coliseum, having the moto events inside Staples has made the course much more strict and hairpinned, which some athletes thrive on, and others don’t. In this case, it worked out for the vet of the field, but all of the competitors took freestyle motocross to the next level in this summer’s X Games competition.

Upside down Andre Villa. To provide some perspective on the tight competition, he wasn%uFFFDt in the finals even though he was amazing.

The no-handed tricks score very high. Probably because if you get lost without your bike to land on…well, then.

Yes flying no-handed.

Here is Taka Higashino. He can touch his heels to the front fender when he does his backbend version.