Sunday, July 31, 2011

The X Games' Newest Sport Is a Great Success

The obscure motocross discipline of Enduro X got prime-time spotlight at the close of X Games 17 Sunday, and true to its billing, the new event proved a suitably bone-crunching affair entirely worthy of X involvement.

"It's pretty clear Enduro X is here to stay," said X Games host Sal Masekela.

The sport's biggest hero, Taddy Blazusiak of Poland, came-from-behind to win his first X Games gold medal after surviving an unplanned trip to the last chance qualifier in order to gain entrance to the main event. That was one more grueling race than he wanted.

More widely known as Enduro Cross, this very technical form of moto racing is much more crash-derby than Supercross, with riders battling for survival on what is essentially a brutal obstacle course. The track is filled with boulders, giant logs, ponds and of course a few jumps and tight turns that require exceptional strength, agility, and of course endurance.

Having said that, it's never going to be considered a pretty looking sport. Frankly, its ugliness is one of its most endearing characteristics, as the wipeouts are spectacular.

While speeds don't approach those found in the premier motocross racing series like Supercross (stadium) and outdoor, the hits are just as bad, and much more frequent.

While a fledgling American Enduro Cross series helped the sport gain the notoriety needed to earn X Games placement, it's much more popular in Europe, where riders like Taddy Blazusiak have been dominating it.

That said, the fledgling American tour is likely to attract more local talent now with Enduro X getting X Games attention. And for what it's worth, Americans Mike Brown and Justin Soule proved they can compete by taking the silver and bronze medals respectively.

Blazusiak's road to victory was hardly an easy one. In his first heat he failed to advance directly to the final after getting caught up in an early pile up, and later, thrown over the handlebars while trying to jump a log.

After winning the last chance qualifier he found himself in a tough final battle. Mike Brown jumped out to an early lead, but Blazusiak pounced on the outside of a critical turn when Brown got hung up trying to avoid another rider.

"It's been a great night--a long night," Blazusiak said afterward. "It took me a while to get to the main but we did it."

Blazusiak is just the third Polish athlete in X Games history to win a gold medal. The other two both came in the now extinct X Games discipline of speed climbing.

Top: Racers get tangled in the corner made of huge boulders in Enduro X, the newest motcross discipline in X Games. Below: Taddy Blazusiak of Poland came in as the favorite, but had to work harder than he wanted in order to take the gold medal. Photos: Gettyimages/How.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Nyjah Huston Wins Third Street League in a Row in Glendale, Arizona

Nyjah Huston won his third Street League in a row at the Glendale, Ariz., stop, which took place this weekend. Ryan Sheckler came in a close second. "[Sheckler] definitely gave me some great competition," Huston said. "He's an awesome skater."

Chris Cole won the best trick of the contest -- a 360 flip to 50-50 on the hubba ledge -- and finished third.

In the tech section, skaters are given seven tries to perform their best trick. After flailing on a kickflip back Smith on the kinked rail, Huston regrouped and did a kickflip backside lipslide. Cole stomped a backside 360 lipslide on the same kinked rail, and Luan Oliveira, who ended up seventh, came through with a slew of technical tricks like a switch tailslide switch heelflip out on the ledge. Fourth place Paul Rodriguez squeaked his way into the line section with a switch backside tailslide switch heel to regular. Eric Koston and Chaz Ortiz were eliminated in the tech section.

Huston was ahead of the pack heading into the line section, but the battle between him and Sheckler was fierce until the end. Sheckler did a line that ended with long feeble to back Smith on the bump to bar. Huston answered back with a kickflip backside 50-50ing the square out rail and bigspin frontside boardsliding the round flat rail off the stairs.

Sheckler continued to stomp tricks like a massive 360 flip down the stairs and a fakie frontside flip. When Sheckler fell backside 360ing the stairs, Huston advanced his lead with a crooked grind down the hubba ledge. On Sheckler's last attempt, he spun his backside 360, landed, but at the last moment slipped out, securing Huston's third consecutive Street League win.

At this third stop of the 2011 Street League, the hubba ledge was bigger and the stairs were longer than at the two previous Street Leagues, held in Seattle and Kansas City, Mo., earlier this summer.

The Street League Championships take place in Newark, N.J., on Aug. 28. "I'll just keep trying to do what I'm doing," Huston said about the final stop. "That's the main one I'm trying to win."

2011 Street League Finals: Glendale, AZ. - July 17, 2011
1. Nyjah Huston92%32.78.936.277.8
2. Ryan Sheckler75%
3. Chris Cole67%21.08.430.259.6
4. Paul Rodriguez58%
5. Shane O'Neill50%
6. Billy Marks58%16.97.416.941.2
7. Luan Oliveira40%14.68.3--22.9
8. Tommy Sandoval60%11.17.9--19.0
9. Chaz Ortiz----6.9--6.9
10. Eric Koston----2.5--2.5

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Chad Muska -- Hurls 'N' Word During Gnarly Arrest

Pro skating legend Chad Muska was arrested for allegedly vandalizing two buildings last night in Hollywood -- and repeatedly dropped the "N" word on the security guards who nabbed him.

Muska was first detained by security at the Roosevelt Hotel around 2AM. Law enforcement sources tell us Muska was seen spray painting his name on a nearby Coffee Bean.

While security guards waited for LAPD officers to arrive -- Muska demanded the guards let him go, and called them "ni**as" several times ... including one instance in which he said, "Fu** all these ni**as right here."

LAPD eventually showed up and arrested and booked Muska for felony vandalism -- and our sources say Muska had tagging materials on him when he was arrested.

We got shots of Muska's alleged handiwork at the coffee shop -- "Muska"' -- and also at Hollywood's El Capitan Theater ... "Muska kills.