When the basketball court at the Staples Center turns into a Rocky Mountain wilderness, chaos ensues. In this case, that chaos is called Moto X Enduro X, the final event of X Games 17.
Both the men’s and the women’s races went to riders who simply knew how to not fall. Both Taddy Blazusiak and Maria Forsberg took the lead for good when the initial frontrunners hit the dirt.
“I was driving on the limit all the time,” the Polish Blazusiak said. “Just trying to push as hard as I could.”
Blazusiak passed Geoff Aaron on the fifth of 10 laps when Aaron’s motorcycle got caught up in a pile of rocks immediately following a fallen tree. From there, Blazusiak never looked back, though if he had, he would have seen Mike Brown holding onto silver.
“In enduro cross there are no standard obstacles, so we have different kind of tracks every race,” Blazusiak said. “This track was a little bit more like the European tracks like we have back home, a little bit more spread out.
“You could hit the stuff faster, and that actually suits my riding style better.”
The rock-laden, log-filled, soaked track caught Joakim Ljunggren on the final lap, allowing Justin Soule to snag the bronze medal.
Before the men took to the course for their final, the women gave it a run, and for the most part, the course won. More than half the women’s field fell of their bikes at some point, Elizabeth Bash even falling off the side of the largest log-covered dirt mound.
Forsberg never faltered, though, citing a home-track advantage similar to Blazusiak’s.
“The logs got really wet, and I live in Washington and all it ever does is rain there,” Forsberg said. “So I practice a lot in the rain, which I hated, but it helped me.”
Kacy Martinez grabbed the early lead, but about halfway through a rock pit tipped her over. Forsberg caught but did not pass Martinez. That is until Martinez fell again on the next obstacle, the prominent log-covered mound. Forsberg was home free.
“It was really hard, and that’s what I like,” Forsberg said. “I’ve had butterflies for the last two months, and they just fluttered away.”
Martinez recovered to earn the bronze medal, as Tarah Gieger overcame both Martinez and a fall in the first 100 feet of the race to take silver.