For snowmobile enthusiasts, the X Games Aspen event (previously known simply as “Winter X Games”) isn’t nearly what it used to be. The snowmobile events have been squeezed out as the annual spectacle of extreme sports continues to evolve. In fact, the made-for-TV ESPN event only had one snowmobile competition this year in Colorado.
There were a lot of familiar names of snowmobilers there, though, competing in various snowbike competitions along with the dirt bike crowd – including the incredible return of snocross and X Games legend Blair Morgan to competition. Combining sleds and bikes, Brett Turcotte was the biggest winner – he earned silver medals in each facet, while Mike Schulz continues his domination of adaptive sports at X Games. Here’s a quick overview.
Bodin Wins Snowmobile Freestyle
In Snowmobile Freestyle on Friday, January 25, it was 34-year-old Daniel Bodin who gained his second Gold Medal in Snowmobile Freestyle, but first since 2011 and his fifth X Games Gold overall.
Competing on a Red Bull-backed Polaris, the Swedish competitor did one combo backflip after another on his second run, utilizing the lone jump on this year’s X Games course multiple times, to score a 91.66 from the judges and steal first place away from Brett Turcotte.
Turcotte, a British Columbia native who like Bodin has been competing in X Games since 2007, earned identical 90.66 scores on his two runs in a competition he won one year earlier to nail down second just days before his 31st birthday. Wisconsin’s Justin Hoyer, similarly just days before his next birthday (which will make him 37) claimed third with a score of 87.33, allowing him to edge out longtime X Games competitor Joe Parsons, who had previous scored an 86.33 on his first run.
Three of Bodin’s previous gold medals have been in the Snowmobile Best Trick competition (2011, 2013 and 2017).
Snowbikes, Snowbikes and More Snowbikes
X Games has clearly fallen in love with snowbikes, resulting in many more events for dirt bikes carrying track and ski conversion kits and fewer events for snowmobiles.
In the Snow BikeCross event, Arcade, New York’s Jesse “Showtime” Kirchmeyer got out to the early lead ahead of British Columbia’s Brock Hoyer and paced the field for a long time in the 15-lap final, while the defending champion Cody Matechuk from Cochrane, Alberta, opened the race in fifth.
Matechuk was on the prowl, however, moving past Keaton Ward and into fourth on lap two and then past former snocrosser Darrin Mees into third on the following lap. The top three – Kirchmeyer, Hoyer and Matechuk – opened a gap on the rest of the field and ran in that order about 2 seconds apart from one another until Hoyer laid his bike down in the last turn before the start/finish line with eight laps to go, handing the runner up spot to Matechuk. Matechuk then stalked the leader for the next five laps before using an outside line to take the lead with three laps to go and then running away to a 4.445-second victory, with Kirchmeyer working hard late to hold off the remounted Hoyer for second.
In Adaptive Snow BikeCross, Minnesota’s “Monster” Mike Schulz added to his trophy case with a commanding victory, earning his 9th X Games Gold by 22 seconds over his nearest competitor, X Games rookie Tyler Brandenburger from Illinois, with motocross/mountain bike athlete Kevin Royston from Utah third.
In Para Snow BikeCross, Blair Morgan made his return to competition at X Games, where he earned gold five times (2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006) but it was Doug Henry who took the big corn, leading from start to finish and winning by 19 seconds over second place Will Posey from Georgia, the only other competitor on the lead lap. Leighton Lillie claimed the bronze medal. Morgan finished seventh while another historic snowmobile showman – Paul Thacker – finished fifth.
“That’s what it came down to was just being smooth and consistent the whole time,” Henry said when interviewed on ESPN.
In Snow Bike Best Trick, defending gold medalist Rod Adelberg from Australia came out of the box strong on Sunday, scoring a 91.00 on his first run with a California Roll body varial to steal the lead from B.C.’s Brett Turcotte, who earlier had a great 89.66 score with his Tsunami Flip. Turcotte didn’t actually make a second run – sticking with his first-run score and loaning his snowbike to Kyle Demelo, who had previously ruined his own bike trying a front flip on his first run. Nitro Circus regular Ethen Roberts from Utah claimed the bronze medal.
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