• Competition Locale and Moto X Step Up Setup
As many X Games fans already know, the Moto X Step Up competition is one of the most spectacular events in the entire sequence of different sports and athletics in the X Games series. The reason for this being the case is that the step up competition allows for motocross athletes to push their skills and their nerves to the absolute extreme, soaring to incredible heights on their dirt bikes trying to reach higher and higher limits.
This event can be quite dangerous at times, given that when riders reach these insane heights of 20 or 30+ feet at a time, it becomes possible to experience extreme accidents and wipeouts which can cause major damage to riders and their equipment. Although these major risks do exist in the Step Up event, this only makes the event that much more exciting and gives the riders an intense and optimal level of focus and determination.
Every year the Moto X Step Up event is practiced by competitors, it seems like riders try to push farther and farther in terms of what the limits of big air really are. This is an event that gets more and more intense every year, and this year’s 2016 Austin X Games Moto X Step Up event was no exception to that trend.
There are few competitions that take as much nerve, focus, and commitment as the Moto X Step Up does, and for that reason it is an event that commands massive viewership and spectatorship whether in person or in terms of recorded footage. This year’s Moto X Step Up was a massive success, and for the benefit of anyone and everyone who missed the event this year, the top competitor performances and final scores will now be broken down and analyzed.
• Competitor Performances and Overall Final Scoring
As an incredible twist of fate at this year’s 2016 Austin X Games Lifeproof Moto X Step Up event, there was actually a two-way tie for 1st place at the conclusion of this contest. The winners’ final round step up heights will be revealed later in the article, but suffice it to say that the two leaders who tied for 1st achieved insane heights of well over 30 feet. Most people simply cannot imagine how it feels to fly over thirty feet into the air, much less doing so at high speed with a motorcycle under your body.
This is a feat only achieved by the most elite motocross athlete in the world, and people came from all around the planet to witness this remarkable event in person. This year’s Moto X Step Up saw a tie for 1st place, and it also saw a tie for 4th place too. These multiple ties for top positions are indicative of the reality that these athletes are truly pushing the actual physical limits of just how high a human being can fly on a dirt bike.
• 1st Place – Jarryd McNeil:
Jarryd McNeil was one of the competitors tied for 1st place, and he did so by pushing his limits to the absolute extreme. Of all McNeil’s step up trial runs, his Max Height top scoring value was 33.00 feet high. Jarryd was clearly determined to go as high as he possibly could, and spectators could see that he was pushing his throttle just about as hard as it would go as he approached the launch ramp for his massive 33 foot tall Step Up launch.
Jarryd’s launch was extremely clean, and so was his maneuver over the bar at the top. Maneuvering over the bar is actually one of the most difficult aspects of the step up event, since one cannot effectively go over the bar straight on. Rather, they must twist their bikes to the side in order to clear the bar at such insane heights. Both Jarryd’s launch and his bar clear were nearly flawless, earning him a tie for 1st place in the step up final.
• 1st Place – Libor Podmol:
Tying Jarryd McNeil for 1st place, Libor Podmol may be slightly disappointed that he didn’t get a bit higher in order to have 1st place all to himself, but at the same time there is definite glory in taking 1st even if he has to share it with another competitor. Libor’s technique over the bar was especially fluid and impressive; he almost looks effortless as he clears over the bar. His launch is also quite fluid, though it could be argued that Jarryd had a more powerful launch out of the main ramp over the step up bar. Libor Podmol, having tied Jarryd for 1st, also managed to achieve a height of 33 feet above the step up bar.
• 3rd Place – Massimo Bianconcini:
Massimo Bianconcini managed to secure the 3rd place spot in the Moto X Step Up contest, and he only lost to Libor and Jarryd by a margin of one foot. With a maximum height launch of 32 feet high in the final round, Massimo showed everyone that he had what it takes to compete in the step up competition at the highest possible levels of motocross athletics.
Massimo has a true gift for the launch, as his approaches are supremely smooth and hesitation-free, but his bar clearing left a little bit to be desired and he could use a bit of work maneuvering over the bar. This is not to say that Massimo is not world class at bar clearing, simply that he looked somewhat labored over the bar and could stand to smooth out that movement a bit. If Massimo gets better at high level bar clearing by the next year’s X Games step up competition, we could likely see him in the 1st place spot next time around.