Enduro X Practice Photo Gallery - Dirt Rider Magazine

Noho X Games Kick-Off Bash | Photo by John Lovell

X Games is known for having the best of everything; Best After Parties, Best Athletes and Best Tricks. But where X Games really took the Gold was at Enduro X, the crowd clearly loved every minute of this AMA EnduroCross Series X Games debut.

Photo by Drew Ruiz

It was rare to hear the arena calm. The EnduroCross Series claimed many new fans by the end of the evening. Although this event was highly anticipated in the mx and off-road racing community, I don't think the general public knew what they were in for. "Every round was amazing, every turn was packed with action. The girls event had me cheering the whole time and the championship round was intense! Every time I would see someone take the lead they would one small mistake and drop 5 spots. One even dropped to last place after a small mistake," says assistant web producer Raffi. It was Raffi's first time at the X Games and first EnduroCross experience.

Photo by Drew Ruiz

The well-EnduroCross-knowledged Laurette Nicoll guided the Staples Center crowd with play-by-play commentary while the riders gave the fans a great show. The night started off with three heat races of 10 riders each with the top 2 riders advancing to one of two 12-rider LCQ (last chance qualifier) races. Geoff Aaron, Justin Soule, Kevin Rookstool, Taylor Robert, Mike Brown and Joakim Ljundgren claimed the transfer spots. Lots of action held in the last heat where Ryan Hughes passed swiftly towards the front of the pack sending Taddy Blazusiak and bike to the ground pinned under Hughes and his bike. Blazusiak wasted no time getting unpinned from Hughes' reach and the race was on. But Blazusiak could not catch Brown and would go into LCQ.

Photo by Drew Ruiz

In LCQ races, it was Taddy Blazusiak, Cody Webb, Destry Abbott and Kurt Caselli that filled in the remaining gate spots on the main event lineup. The final would have a strong lineup of great contenders.

Photo by Drew Ruiz

Before the mens final lined the starting gate atop the ramp, the women took to the track. Many of the fans had yet to experience this event and did not understand the difficultly of EnduroCross, these six women rocked the course and showed the crowd their true determination to the sport. Few women participate regularly in the series during the year as it is one of the most challenging events in this male-dominated sport of off-road riding. The women's final was a 7-lap race for the gold medal. Sara Price had ended up in the first-turn pile which left the medics assisting her and her bike off the track. But she was not giving up and returned to the track shortly after she had dislocated her shoulder. Behind Price, Tarah Gieger had a spill down the ramp that left her in last place but recovered quickly and worked her way through the field. Elizabeth Bash had a gnarly dismount from her bike at the top of the log-and-rock lined hill. Bash had the crowd impressed when she returned to retrieve her bike and continue the fight. Having an off-road racing background is a big plus, Maria Forsberg and Kacy Martinez proved that while battling for the lead. In the end, Forsberg claimed the gold while Gieger worked her way from the back to 2nd grabbing the silver medal and Martinez went on to take the bronze medal. These girls are tough cookies!

Photo by Drew Ruiz

The final race was intense and exciting as expected by the industry. Kevin Rookstool shot to the front taking the lead from a field of top EX contenders. All of the riders were hungry for the season-opening win. After Rookstool went down, Geoff Aaron caught up and took the lead with Mike Brown and Blazusiak in tow. Blazusiak did not wait long to pounce, but he had a good battle on his hands for second place with the very fast Mike Brown. After much close-knit racing, Blazusiak made it into the silver medal position. Aaron went down. Blazusiak passed Aaron and put his KTM across the finish line claiming the gold. Brown secured the silver while Justin Soule held off Joakim Ljunggren for the bronze medal. Blazusiak is no stranger to winning, but the smile and excitement never left his face from the track to the medal ceremony.

Photo by Drew Ruiz

These guys and gals deserve much recognition for their true talent and grit. We think Enduro X will be back at the X Games 18 as a crowd favorite. It's our new favorite competition at X Games!

Women's Enduro X

1. Maria Forsberg

2. Tarah Gieger

3. Kacy Martinez

4. Elizabeth Bash

5. Amanda Mastin

6. Sara Price

7. Ashley Crouch

Men's Enduro X

1. Taddy Blazusiak

2. Mike Brown

3. Justin Soule

4. Joakim Ljunggren

5. Geoff Aaron

6. Destry Abbott

7. Kurt Caselli

8. Cody Webb

9. Taylor Robert

10. Kevin Rookstool