Hudson wins Moto X Step Up gold
FOZ DO IGUAÇU, Brazil -- X Games rookie Bryce Hudson upset defending gold medalist Ronnie Renner on Friday night, the only rider to clear 30 feet during the Moto X Step Up competition.
"I've been looking up to Renner for years and I wouldn't be where I'm at without guys, especially like him, helping me out over the last couple of years," the 22-year-old Hudson. "I have the utmost respect for him and I'm glad that we got to battle it out straight like that."
Hudson -- the field's youngest rider -- perfected his speed and technique, while 35-year-old Renner rode as the overwhelming favorite.
But Renner may have had some of his confidence rattled by another rider earlier in the competition.
From the outset of the contest, Josh Hansen's bike skill -- even while riding a motorcycle with a part borrowed from Enduro X rider Jolene Van Vugt because his didn't make it to Brazil -- was evident as he cleared the bar at 28 feet with ease and confidence.
Hansen, who placed fourth, worked the crowd in his favor, riding past Renner in the take-off area and jawing at him as the bar was raised to 28 feet. The second time Hansen passed through the take-off area, Renner jumped off his bike to chase Hansen, who eluded him. Hansen then lined up parallel to Renner outside the barrier and revved his motorcycle. After Renner cleared the height, he rode back around to the pack of riders in the staging area and intentionally steered his motorcycle into Hansen's bike. The two riders exchanged words as mechanics and handlers separated them.
"We had a chat and I just don't roll like him," Renner said of the altercation. "I have a different style, I take this real serious. It's my job, you know. So one time was enough of him joking around and I had to kinda make a statement the second time. I don't like doing that stuff on TV, but I'm not gonna have somebody heckling me or whatever you call that just because he knows I'm the guy to beat. I beat him so that's all that matters on that run. And it got out of my head quick."
When the bar was raised to 30 feet, the field of six had been whittled down to just Hudson and Renner.
Both cleared 30 and Hudson cleared 31 on his second attempt. But when Renner failed to clear it on both his attempts, Hudson claimed the gold.
Renner took home the silver, and Prague's 28-year-old Libor Podmol won the bronze.