At the time-honoured Olympiahalle in Munich, the crowd witnessed some of its biggest highlights on Saturday night.
A total of 11 riders from six nations faced each other in the Bavarian capital to collect the all-important points towards the European Championship in Freestyle Motocross.
Particular attention was paid to the German brothers, Hannes and Luc Ackermann as well as the reigning World Champion, Maikel Melero (ESP) who has won the last 10 events in a row at NIGHT of the JUMPs.
Qualifying showed just how important the points were to the riders for the prestigious competition and the riders were willing to throw everything they had just to make it to the final round. The first rider of the evening was Steve Sommerfeld (AUS) who may be better known to NIGHT of the JUMPs viewers as the regular TV Presenter for the World Championship highlights. In qualification Steve finished an impressive 9th place and proved that he knows his business first hand when it comes to the TV Commentary.
After showing all of his tricks, the Australian who now lives in Bavaria received a huge ovation from the Munich crowd.
Sommerfeld was followed by Marc Pinyol (ESP) who has broken into the international field of riders after a long break with injury. Marc brought all of his best tricks including the Egg Roll on the Quarter Pipe to show his ambitions for securing a place on the tour in 2017. But it wasn’t enough after he made a mistake and did a dead-
sailor flip in his run to miss the finals.
The next newcomer to rock the Olympiahalle was the new Italian Stallion, Leonardo Fini. He showed a clean run with very difficult tricks and landed the California Roll body varial smoothly in the Double Up. At this point he was on top of the qualifying with the rest of the field to come, and would in the end secure 6th position to go into the Final round.
Before the show went into the half-time break, the Munich public were treated to a display of the seeing the very first Buggy Backflip at NIGHT of the JUMPs. Gerhard Mayr flipped the 650kg heavy buggy over a distance of 16 metres, without even attempting it in training earlier in the day. The audience gave a standing ovation to the Austrian before the break commenced.
The finale opened with the two youngsters first. Leonardo Fini backed up his impressive qualification round and showed stamina to add two extra tricks and be the first rider sitting on the coveted Hot-Seat. Luc Ackermann was the second rider to enter and had to concentrate again on his best tricks. Following his run and waiting for the Munich audience to settle down after several minutes of cheering, the judges decided Luc would take over the Hot Seat.
Maikel Melero was showing his hand and gambled more in the final round. Ranked 4th, he needed to bring his A-Game tricks but it was on his first jump when he would just wash out on the Egg Roll and crash. Despite a desperate comeback to continue his run, it was clear he would not go on to win an 11thstraight NIGHT of the JUMPs event in a row. He would ultimately end in 6th place, not the position the two-time World Champion expected to be in.
Luc Ackermann would remain on the podium for now, but with 3 more riders to go in qualifying, his position wasn’t certain. The next rider to enter was the 3-time Former World Champion, Remi Bizouard. He brought together a clean run with no new tricks and surprises like the other riders. After the 5-judge international panel calculated their points, Remi would find himself in 4th place.
The night came down to the final rider and winner of qualification, David Rinaldo who was the World Champion in 2012. He repeated his awesome run from qualifying and made it look even better, improving the Dead Body Flip and LazyBoy Flips. It was a very close decision and the crowd expected the win to go to Rinaldo, however the Judges decision had the lights shine on Libor Podmol to take the win. For Podmol, it was a huge win after such a long break and returning to NIGHT of the JUMPs.