Nate Adams picked up his second X Games 17 gold on Saturday after edging out Adam Jones in quarterfinals, Ronnie Faisst in semifinals, and Mike Mason in the Moto X Speed & Style finals. Faisst defeated Carey Hart in the bronze medal round.
Mason took the holeshot ahead of Adams in finals and held the lead throughout the race, but couldn't match Adams' tricks; the final score in Speed & Style competition is a combination of total race time and trick scores for the first three laps.
Adams, who also won gold in Moto X Freestyle on Friday and is currently defending back-to-back 2009 and 2010 Red Bull X-Fighters championships, came out swinging with his signature 360 flip and got upside down with flip variations (no-handed backflip and La-Z-Boy backflip) on all three judged hits. Mason would have needed to beat Adams by more than three seconds to make up the points differential, but Adams -- who has long dreamed of making the jump to a supercross racing career and has been working on his racing chops -- was able to close the gap in the final lap.
"I put in a lot of time with supercross the last three years and I even qualified for a main event last year," Adams says. "But I didn't feel like I accomplished my goal the way I wanted to, so I put in a lot of work this year for Speed & Style as my chance to race and do freestyle, two of the things I love the most. Mike was riding great the first lap and I was riding a little tight. He gapped me a couple of bike lengths. The last three laps I said to myself, 'Don't let him get any further,' because I was right on the bubble of him beating me. Mike was ripping on that two stroke and he pulled the start on me with half the motor."
"I knew Nate had the tricks but I at least wanted to win the race," Mason said. "I knew this was the last four laps I was doing, so I was laying it all out there. I was actually riding over my head out there because I knew Nate's tricks were harder and I needed to make up the difference."
This is Adams' third X Games gold medal; he took silver in the Speed & Style event in 2010 behind Travis Pastrana.
"I only had one gold before," says Adams, who last won gold in 2004. "To do two in one week, I don't even know what to say. You put in the work and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't."
Jeremy Stenberg crashed hard on lap three of four in his quarterfinals heat against Hart, leaving the track with assistance from the X Games medical staff. "Broken tib in left leg and broken heal on right leg. Back to the wheelchair. Bummer," Stenberg Tweeted Saturday night.
Stenberg, an eight-time X Games medalist, took bronze in Speed & Style in both 2008 and 2010 and had been a favorite to make the podium in the lead-up to Saturday's event. The star of VH-1's The X Life was voted Fan Favorite at the 2010 American Freestyle Motocross Association Awards and has been one of the most-loved X Games athletes since 1999.
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