Eight of the best all-around riders in freestyle motocross will be battling it out in the head-to-head Moto X Speed & Style competition May 17 in Barcelona, including X Games Foz do Iguaçu 2013 gold medalist Lance Coury, X Games Los Angeles 2012 gold medalist Mike Mason and X Games Los Angeles 2011 gold medalist Nate Adams. The far-and-away fan favorites, however, will be Barcelona locals Jose Miralles and Edgar Torrenteras.
"Barcelona is where I was born and I want to do my best and, the most important, enjoy," says Miralles, better known in Barcelona by his nickname, El Loco. "This event here will be insane and having all these extreme sports in Barcelona is so good for us. There's a lot of pressure on me to do well."
Miralles will be more than just the local favorite: he began Supercross racing as a kid, winning three national titles, and has also been holding his own on the international Night of the Jumps World Tour: He's currently ranked fifth overall on the Freestyle MX European Championship circuit and seventh overall on the FIM Freestyle MX World Championship circuit. He says he's thrilled to be making his X Games debut on home soil and believes the Speed & Style format just might give him a chance at a medal.
"In Spain the people like all kinds of extreme sports and I think they will come to see races and freestyle together," he says. "The level is so high in this event and I know I have to be fast and do good tricks. I know that it will be difficult, but for me the most important thing is to enjoy riding. If you enjoy, you can win."
The Speed & Style event favors riders such as Miralles with race chops who can also handle hucking 70-foot jumps off freestyle kickers at top speed. And thrills and spills are the name of the game.
Just ask Coury, who opened his X Games rookie year with his first gold medal last month after narrowly avoiding a crash with Andre Villa in an incident that briefly bounced both riders off the track during the final. Villa will also be back in the mix in Barcelona for Speed & Style, an event he's doubly committed to after announcing last month that he's retiring from traditional freestyle competition. U.S. rider Ronnie Faisst and Swiss rider Mat Rebeaud, both known for their all-around riding skills, will also be among the favorites. This one could truly be anyone's game.
"I'm looking forward to riding in front of my family and all the sponsors and fans that every year support me," Miralles says. "See you at X Games Barcelona!"