January 19 & 20, 2001
MAD MIKE MAULS IN LITTLE ROCK
BARTON COLISEUM, LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS - The SFX IFMA Freestyle MX contest arrived in Barton Coliseum just after the frigid ice storm that hammered Arkansas not long before.
The IFMA series had two two-night events on the same weekend, the other in Denver. This split the field and the ramps, leaving a shallower transition on the only ramp in the Little Rock contest, which made it harder for the riders to do their tricks. The other two jumps had short runs, making it next to impossible for 125s to clear them. Kenny Bartram didn't want to take the chance on his buck and a quarter, so he filled his routines with shorter jumps off the sides, doing tricks like Heel Clickers (to flatland) and Front Fender Touches. He did throw some big ones like Double Grab Hart Attacks on the middle ramp, but it wasn't enough to beat the heavy competition he faced. He's moving up to the new Yamaha four stroke 250, which will exit turns faster than a 125, as shown clearly by AMA Supercross pro Ernesto Fonseca.
During practice, Floridian Kenny Yoho, owner of the ramp, was jumping the 75 foot center jump in 3rd on his 250 and things were looking good. Then he tried it at higher rpm in 2nd gear, but not high enough. He came up short and landed on the face of the 2nd jump, almost sticking where he landed. His right arm broke right in the middle. His elbow was pulled closer to the shoulder, making it look like it broke about an inch from the elbow. He essentially got a 3rd elbow out of the deal. Hardcore. He toughed it out and came back later with a cast. His friends from Florida took up the slack.
FRIDAY NIGHT, 1-19-01
On Friday night, Bartram was 3rd, which was hard to do on a 125 without clearing 2 out of the 3 jumps, but he did a lot with his run and the other riders were making a lot of mistakes. His big tricks, sprinkled with little tricks, were done at a typical Bartram/Pastrana pace, and the overall flow of the routine was good enough for a decent lead over 4th place finisher Ronnie Renner.
In 2nd place was Dan Pastor, a rider who is gaining good experience practicing with Mike Jones. He threw hard tricks like a McMetz to No Hander on the unforgiving course.
Mike Jones started his routine by tripling up: a Heel Clicker to Nothing to No Footer. His coffin was nice, although a Lazy Boy would score higher. He held a Stork for a long time, then did a perfect Surfer with a Look. It's hard to surpass the Mike Jones Miracle Whip. He doubled up on the Superman Seat Grab Indian Air, but the rules said doubling up is okay. His Kiss of Death is a trick you don't want to miss, which is a Front Fender Kiss, but with his entire body in line with the FORKS! He sketched on one jump and then did a Superman Indian Air, getting a little "Superman Indian Air Happy" out there, but his routine was the best overall. He finished with his One Footed Whip, which is very extreme.
SATURDAY NIGHT, 1-20-01
Garrett Schull was the first rider out. His bike wasn't running very good. He had been trying to get the jetting worked out but it still wasn't right. The ratty running machine severely limited his jumping game. He started with a Dead Sailor and was riding at a slow pace. Another plain old jump, then on the third jump of his routine, the bike bogged on the face of the launcher. He dropped off the back of the bike and threw it away as he left the top of the ramp. He flew bikeless and landed on his feet, saving himself as his bike endoed through its trajectory to an upside down position and landed with a big CRACK! at the base of the second jump. The impact broke his bars right off on one side and smashed his subframe down. The fender and seat were bent down several inches and distorted. The crowd went wild as he thrust his arms in the air in typical Crusty style.
Jones, Pastor & Turner qualified to the final.
In the 2nd qualifier, Bartram, Waller and Renner transferred.
The final started with Ronnie Renner. His routine was pretty good. He scored 87.
Bartram went out and scored an 89. He impressed the packed house with moves like a Pendulum to Heel Clicker, a Lazy Boy and a Superman Double Grab, but his final jump, a Sterilizer to Endo, held his score down. He sure took a big spinal hit!
David Turner blew everybody away with this opening trick - a Sterilizer. For those of you who don't know what a Sterilizer is, it's a Bar Hop Lander, and it's hard to throw cold. He nailed it. Then it was a Whipped Nac Lookback. Good stuff. Then a super 180 degree Switchblade, even farther around than Clowers gets it, if you can believe that. His next trick was unusual - a Saran Wrap to 1 Handed Suicide. He followed that with a Coffin, then a Whip, but came up short, which made the trick weaker than it should have been, since he had to pull out of it early. Then it was a No Hander to No Hander Lander. Unfortunately he blew a jump and had to retry, which caused a big glitch in his program. Then he did a Super Nac. Great trick. A Super Nac is a whipped Superman to No Footed Nac. Next was a Heel Clicker to 1 Handed Suicide, followed by a Superman to No Footer. Then it was a Whipped Heel Clicker, which is super cool. He did a huge Bar Hop. Then it was a head-on-seat Cordova, which takes Cordovas to the next level. He finished with a Hart Attack. He is destined to win some contests. He earned a 91. His trick list was full and he definitely executed some of them in awesome fashion. A few glitches held his score down a couple of points.
Dan Pastor, who prefers not to be called "The Reverend", as announcer Cameron Steele used to call him, did an 88. So don't call Pastor "Reverend" or he might kick your teeth in. Just kidding.
Mike Jones went on the uncomfortable-to-ride course with a strategy to do slightly simpler tricks than Turner, and nail them all. He only got a little shaky on one trick, a No Hander Lander. He pushed the limits of believability with his Front Fender Kiss to Stork, his No Footed Nac to Stork and his One Footed Whip.
Turner's trick list was more impressive, but Jones' almost flawless routine really stood out from the other riders' routines, which were riddled with mistakes. He flowed his whole routine, where the others were more start-and-stop.
Jones will have his work cut out for him this year on the IFMA tour. Turner is one with a lot of potential to win one soon.
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