Start times for Big Air events moved up
FOZ DO IGUAÇU, Brazil -- A few late changes have altered the schedule and format at the inaugural X Games Foz do Iguaçu, the most significant caused by the tropical humidity.
Both Thursday's Skateboard Big Air and Friday's GoPro BMX Big Air competitions have been bumped from late at night to just before dusk due to condensation on the MegaRamp's hardwood surface, event officials announced at a news conference Wednesday. Each event now will begin at 6:30 p.m. local time, or 5:30 p.m. ET.
The Skateboard Big Air competition will air live Thursday on ESPN3 and on same-day tape delay on ESPN at 9:30 p.m. ET. The GoPro BMX Big Air can be seen live Friday on ESPN3 and on tape delay on ESPN at 10 p.m. ET.
Four-time Skateboard Big Air gold medalist Bob Burnquist, the most famous of 29 Brazilian athletes competing at X Games Foz, said he tested the MegaRamp at 9 p.m. local time Tuesday, about when the contest was slated to begin Thursday. The nighttime condensation made the conditions too dangerous, he said.
"You can see the moisture when the light is on it. I put my board down and it just slipped out. Our wheels are so hard that with a little bit of condensation, it's over," he said.
BMX competitor Kevin Robinson, a three-time gold medalist in Big Air, agreed that moving the competition to an earlier start time was the right call. "Any kind of moisture, it's like riding your bike on ice," he said. "It's just out of the question; you can't do it."
Our wheels are so hard that with a little bit of condensation, it's over.Skateboarder Bob Burnquist
In addition to the Big Air time changes, Skateboard Vert and Skateboard Big Air will feature new scoring systems in Foz. Instead of being judged strictly on their overall runs, competitors will be scored in three separate jam sessions. At the end of the third session, an athlete's best score from each heat will be combined for an overall score, which will determine the winner.
In Vert, each competitor will be judged during a 15-minute lip trick heat, a 20-minute full run heat and a 15-minute best trick heat. In Big Air, the sessions will include an 18-minute gap heat, an 18-minute quarterpipe heat and a 20-minute full run heat.
A few hundred yards away, RallyCross drivers will battle on a track that features significantly more dirt than recent X Games courses. Ken Block, who earned a silver medal at X Games Los Angeles last summer, said he believes the course favors his driving style over others who have raced on the NASCAR and Formula One circuits.
"For me, the best thing they could've done is make the [course] all dirt, which it mostly is. Because that's my specialty, I've got more dirt experience than any other driver competing," he said. "I'm really happy about that and I have a lot of confidence going into this race."