Bill Dixon smokes his rear tire in a dramatic opening to his last run.
Indianapolis, IN - August 26 & 27
The final round of the 2011 XDL Championship Series put an exclamation point on an exceptional season, with Graves Yamaha rider Bill Dixon clinching the 2011 XDL title in dramatic fashion.
Going into the XDL Finals, Icon/Monster Energy rider Nick Brocha had a one point lead over Dixon putting them in a virtual lock for the championship. XDL assigns three points difference per position (45 points for first, 42 points for second, etc.), which meant that whomever placed higher would secure the title. Things got off to a rocky start for both athletes. During Thursday night practice Dixon had a hard crash into the water barrier, injuring his knee and breaking the left fork on his Yamaha YZF-R6, making it impossible to ride. Said Dixon about his crash: "I've been riding my FZ8 a lot so I was out of sync with my competition bike. I hit really hard and got thrown over the barrier, and I hurt my knee pretty good, but I'll be alright." The championship could have been over right then and there, but a mad scramble by Graves Motorsports in California resulted in an overnight shipment of the necessary replacement parts and Dixon was good to go for qualifying.
Nick Brocha struggled with a new bike all weekend.
Brocha meanwhile struggled with a new bike that he had little practice time on. He managed second in qualifying, but only 4th in Round 1 and 7th in Round 2. Dixon on the other hand scored 2nd in Round 1 and 1st in Round 2, virtually securing himself the championship. Brocha and Dixon are good friends and respect each others competitive spirit so before the final run Dixon went up to Brocha to encourage him to ride his heart out. Said Dixon of the encounter: "I wanted him to do well and I knew that if he rode at his best he could pull out a 90." But it wasn't meant to be. Brocha placed 3rd in the final round and Dixon in 2nd, making him the first-ever 3-time XDL Champion.
Given the current level of competition in XDL, the three-peat is an exceptional achievement, especially considering that Nick Brocha won both of the first two rounds and could have closed it out in Nashville. For a moment it looked like it was over before it had really gotten started.
Rafal Pasierbek of Poland wowed the crowd with his technical skills
With all the focus on the championship hunt, it was easy to overlook the event results in FMF Cup, except that an engaging and exciting rider from Poland, Rafal Pasierbek, took the event win with a flashy and technical style. Pasierbek had previously beaten Brocha and Shin Kinoshita at the Stunt GP in Europe and the likes of Racing 905 rider Luke Emmons at a recent US competition. Emmons even predicted that Pasierbek would take the win: "Look, the kid has full time sponsorship and can afford to ride all day. Most of us have 9-5 jobs, so it is tough to compete like that." Emmons himself had a rough weekend with uncharacteristic spills but still managed a 4th place overall finish and a third place in the national championship.
On the Women's side, Dena Sodano beat out Brytni Noell for her second Sartso Women's Cup title. The two had battled each other all year and both are excellent representatives of the sport.
2009 Indy winner Brian Bubash took the overall in the K&N Circle Challenge and the Stuntride.com Sickest Trick. The Wheelie Teach Wheelie Race went to Dan Jackson, who used an opening in the rules to secure an exciting win. Jackson crossed over into the competitor's lane on several occasions to block a potential pass: "I really took advantage of a grey area in the rules. Nothing says we're not allowed to cross over. Call it smart riding, cheating, racing, I don't really care, I took advantage of the rules and won." Other competitors seemed to agree. The Racing 905 Speed and Style Challenge went to Jesse Toler when both Aaron Colton and Dan Jackson took themselves out of the competition.
Racing 905's Luke Emmons finished the season 3rd in points.
The 2011 XDL season showcased the world's best athletes in great events and once again raised sportbike freestyle riding to a new level. During the off-season XDL will release video clips and finish work on Inside XDL: Season 2. Follow XDL at:
FMF Cup Final
1. Rafal Pasierbek (162.5); 2. Bill Dixon (161.0); 3. Ernie Vigil (143.5); 4. Luke Emmons (142.5); 5. Nick Brocha (142.5)
K&N Circle Challenge
1. Brian Bubash; 2. Bill Dixon; 3. Aaron Twite
Stuntride.com Sickest Trick
1. Brian Bubash; 2. Rafal Pasierbek; 3. Jesse Toler
Sartso Women's Cup
1. Dena Sodano (67.0); 2. Brytni Noell (55.5)
Racing 905 Speed & Style Showdown
1. Jesse Toler; 2. Brian Bubash; 3. Kris Higdon
Wheelie Teach Wheelie Race
1. Dan Jackson; 2. Aaron Colton; 3. Jesse Toler
XDL is the only championship of its kind and is the leader in reaching the core 20-year old sportbike demographic. Each XDL event features the world's most skilled street freestyle riders squaring off in six unique competitions for over $10,000 in prize money. Since its inception in 2006 the series has built a global following in places as far off as India, Indonesia, China, Japan, Australia, France, Thailand and Eastern Europe, and in the process emerged as the fastest growing action sport in America.
Aprilia SR 50 Challenge Debuts At XDL Indy
Dan Jackson takes inside line from Aaron Colton in Aprilia SR50 Challenge
As is often the case, XDL unveiled a new competition format at the Finals in Indy called the Aprilia SR 50 Challenge. Competitors race each other on 50cc scooters in a very tight skills course and the event featured a combination of excellent passing, some good old-fashioned pushing and shoving, a few spills and best of all an overall good time. Event winner Dan Jackson called the Aprilia SR 50 Challenge "the most fun he's had all weekend."