Deegan Wins Air MX Challenge

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October 7, 2000


BAKERSFIELD, CALIFORNIA Brian Deegan and Tommy Clowers battled hard at the Air MX Challenge at Mesa Marin Raceway to a packed house, but in the end it was Deegan roosting home with the Gold.

It was a beautiful day and the jumps were huge. The landings were pretty huge anyway, yet razorback and steep. They weren't overly forgiving, as Grant Steele discovered in practice. He came up short, got bucked over the bars, and endoed to flatland on the hardpack 15 feet below the peak of the jump. Unfortunately he would not walk away. He broke 5 ribs, punctured a lung, broke his scapula and broke his collarbone.

Some riders just didn't feel right and weren't used to the ramp shapes and landings. They decided to go home instead of ride. When a rider knows he's sketchy on such huge razorbacks, he needs to not ride. The price of being unprepared is too high.

The launch ramps were of a decreasing to increasing to decreasing to increasing radius elliptical transition, mimicking a three phase ramp and producing slightly sketchy jumps for everybody.

The contest was run with 2 minute rounds. Round 1 was a qualifier where 10 riders competed. 5 were eliminated. Then those 5 went up against 5 pre-seeded riders. Those 10 jumped off and 5 were eliminated. The remaining 5 riders went to the final round.

Ryan Leyba came out first, followed by new leaders Sean Peer and Billy Walls. Then Josh Smith came out. He started with a No Hander Lander, then he rolled the next two jumps. His next jump would be his last of the day when he came up short and endoed, landing hard. Billy Walls retained the lead. Linkogle was next, but his routine didn't quite beat Walls. In fact, none of the remaining riders Adam Pierce, Bobby Lee, Dave Walters, Leonard Cabinaton and Mike Harris scored higher than Billy Walls.

Leonard Cabinaton displayed considerable genius and good timing during a crash in his routine. This genius and timing saved him from being admitted to the local hospital. He came out with a straight jump, then he rolled the next two jumps. Then he was jumping the big one and was going too slow off the launch ramp. He flew over halfway there, then pushed off the footpegs and bars to clear the edge. The bike came up way short and stuffed the wall of the second jump. Cabinaton's body cleared the razorback and he landed on the downside, then started rolling and tumbling to a safe stop. If it hadn't been for his split-second timing to save himself, he would definitely be in the hospital right now.

Here are the results from the first round.


1. Billy Walls 84.75

2. Larry Linkogle 84.00

3. Adam Pierce 82.75

4. Sean Peer 80.00

5. Ryan Leyba 65.25

6. Dave Walters 63.50

7. Mike Harris 63.25

8. Bobby Lee 53.25

9. Josh Smith 50.75

10. Leonard Cabinaton 47.25

Top 5 transfer.

The Car Killers Stunt Team, Gregory Carpenter and Ira Bruce, came out in a car which exploded into a huge fireball. They emerged, stumbling away and falling down. They were okay, and amazingly they could actually hear after the deafening explosion.

Round 2 was a showdown between the top 5 of the first round and 5 seeded riders: Jeff Tilton, Ronnie Faisst, Kris Rourke, Brian Deegan and Tommy Clowers.

Leyba was first out with a 71.5, but Tilton followed and beat his score with 77.5. Then Peer came out and beat Tilton with an 80.

Ronnie Faisst was looking strong and assumed the lead commandingly with an 88.88. He has a new move where he does a radical Bar Hop, then does the splits with straight legs with his butt way out at the front of the front fender. It's radical, and a beautiful gymnastic move. Then he brings his legs back together and gets back on for the landing.

Adam Pierce was next, but the Highlighter came away with 85.5.

Kris Rourke got near Faisst with 87, but it wasn't enough to inherit the lead. He got creative with Use of Course and did a big Heel Clicker on the vert wall step-up jump.

Linkogle scored 83.75. He looked like he hardly took any time off.

Brian Deegan was next. He wowed the crowd with a nice Cliff Hanger to start off. He also did a nice Cordova. His Lookback Hart Attack was looking pretty polished. He was playing no games with his Superman Seat Grab Indian Air. His No-Footed Nac Nac was crazy looking, but he wasn't done yet. He did a Superman Double Grab and a Lazy Boy, among other tricks, and finished with a Superman Double Grab, repeating a trick, yet taking over the lead with a 91.75.

Walls scored 84.625.

Tommy Clowers was last in this elimination qualifier. He started out with a Switchblade. He did a nice Superman Seat Grab Indian Air. His Catwalks always look spectacular and tonight was no exception. He did his superb Lookback Hart Attack. He did other nice tricks, but the Superman Seat Grab with One Hander was really nice. He did a Superman Double Grab too. He finished with a Nac Nac Lookback. He scored 92.75.

Here are the scores after Round 2.


1. Tommy Clowers 92.75

2. Brian Deegan 91.75

3. Ronnie Faisst 88.875

4. Kris Rourke 87.00

5. Adam Pierce 85.50

6. Billy Walls 84.625

7. Larry Linkogle 83.75

8. Sean Peer 80.00

9. Jeff Tilton 77.50

10. Ryan Leyba 71.50

Top 5 transfer.

A step-up contest was held. The usual hardcores were at the top.

Step-up Contest

1. Tommy Clowers

2. Adam Pierce

50cc and 60cc riders filled up the intermission entertainment slot with a multitudinous series of motos that were reminiscent of Ponca City.

The finals got underway with Adam Pierce. He did a good routine and scored 84.25. Then Kris Rourke came out and bested his score by one point. Nice Rodeo!

Ronnie Faisst was on fire! He scored 91 after a solid routine.

Deegan came back out and romped to an aggressive 94, pulling tricks like a Superman Double Grab Indian Air, a No-Footed Nac Nac and a Superman Double Grab Indian Air Catwalk!

Tommy Clowers was the last rider. His routine was very good but he didn't throw as many tricks as Deegan. This might have made part of the 1/2 point difference. It was hard to judge which rider was better on this night, but Deegan got the nod.

The final scores.


1. Brian Deegan 94.00

2. Tommy Clowers 93.50

3. Ronnie Faisst 91.00

4. Kris Rourke 85.25

5. Adam Pierce 84.25

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