Monster Energy FMX High Rollers, Saturday updates
Live from the pits
Saturday at the Monster Energy FMX High Rollers competition kicked off earlier than expected due to high winds at the venue, but fortunately, the world's most elite FMXers were able to rally for an early start time to beat the winds. Here, the Monster Energy crew poses with some of the prize purse, which was handed out throughout the day across Quarterpipe High Air, FMX and Best Whip. Scroll through for more from Saturday in Vegas!
Beginning at 9 a.m. PT, riders assembled for Quarterpipe Big Air in an attempt to beat the forecast winds for the day. Riders such as Jarryd McNeil, Axell Hodges and Kris Foster set their alarms early and made sure to arrive at the venue in time to compete.
Quarterpipe events are still a newer development in FMX, but from tricks to big airs, riders are starting to adjust. The setup in Vegas was about as perfect as it gets for the new FMX niche.
Throwing caution to the wind
And yeah, it didn't take long for riders to face their fears and throw caution to the proverbial wind.
Air and style
Quaterpipe high air style is still in the developing stages, but the riders on hand in Vegas are figuring it out quick.
Quarterpipe Big Air podium
And in the end, Quarterpipe Big Air "raised the bar," with Axell Hodges in second place (15'0"), Jarryd McNeil in first place (15'2") and Kris Foster in third place (12'0"). McNeil suffered a dislocated finger, but managed to pop it back into place and complete the competition.
A moment of downtime
Following the completion of Quarterpipe Big Air, Jarryd McNeil suited back up for Freestyle Motocross, despite being injured. McNeil would go on to compete in all of the High Roller events throughout the day.
Time for some FMX
As Freestyle Motocross got underway early on Saturday, with winds gusting up to 20 mph, the approach for most of the riders in the field was to transform their competition runs into a one-way directional trick contest with the wind at their backs.
An awesome show
FMX commentator Brian Deegan said it best as the competition got started. "My grandma would come up to see this and say, 'That's awesome.'" Deegan and his grandmother couldn't be more correct.
Going for it
"The landings are shaded. The sun doesn't even shine on the other side of some of the landings," said commentator Brian Deegan. That didn't bode well for some variations, but the riders went for it regardless.
Flips for days
Despite the winds, the backflips did arrive early in the competition, along with flip variations.
The wind battle rages on.
Adam Jones took the early lead after round 1 with a score of 88.66, but alas, it didn't last long. He sure threw some amazing double grabs though.
And then there was Taka
Taka Higashino faced the wind, rode the course in its entirety while landing more tricks than any other rider, and catapulted himself to the top of the start list after the end of round 1. Then, rather than rest on his laurels, Higashino came back for run 2 to best his previous score, winning the event with a final score of 92.33.
FMX podium winners
From left to right: Levi Sherwood (third place), Taka Higashino (first place) and Adam Jones (second place). What happened in Vegas definitely didn't stay in Vegas!
The old FMX adage goes "It doesn't count unless you Instagram the results." Here, Taka Higashino makes sure that it counts.
Hosts with the most
Hosts Brandon Graham (left) and Brian Deegan (right) take to the course prior to the start of Dirt Sharks Best Whip.
Out in force
Monster Energy's crew came out in force to deliver all of the prize purses for each discipline.
Said no one ever
Nothing goes along with the sound of four-stroke engines better than acoustic guitars.
Final event of the day
By early afternoon, the winds weren't slowing down at all, and the organizers made the call to run Best Whip. Here, riders line up prior to the start of the whip parade.
Oh inverted world
Things got out of hand quickly as fans began to assemble for Saturday night's Monster Energy Cup event.
Tom Parsons made it through all of the rounds to the final three riders, and ended up whipping his way into first place to cap off the day. Here, Parsons spots the landing.
From left to right: Destin Cantrell (third place), Tom Parsons (first place) and Jarryd McNeil (second place). And with that, Monster Energy's FMX High Rollers comp is in the books.