With the cancellation of freestyle at X Games Barcelona, there will be many people anxiously watching the weather forecasts in Munich this week. The freestylers are all a bit antsy to get out there and compete, and with Mother Nature's cooperation, the competition should be hot enough to burn off any cloud cover.
Obviously the runaway favorite for Munich is Japan's Taka Higashino, who won in Foz do Iguaçu and more recently took the X-Fighters win in his hometown of Osaka, Japan. Higashino is smooth and consistent with big flip combinations and, perhaps most importantly, does not seem to be affected by the pressure of the big game.
Higashino has many contenders who wish to shake him off his lofty perch. Nate Adams is back and finally ready to ride back at the top of the sport, Adam Jones seems to improve week by week and is bringing bigger and bigger tricks to Germany.
Perhaps the most interesting and unlikely threat for gold in Germany will be Clinton Moore, whose previous two X Games appearances were in Moto X Best Trick. Moore has been riding in the Nitro Circus Tour in his native Australia, but he is one of the few riders who really seems to have almost every type of trick variation in his arsenal -- flips, 360s and varials. We caught up with Moore recently as he prepared for the JamBo Urban Summer Festival in Bologna, Italy.
XGames.com: You've spent most of your Aussie wintertime riding shows -- do you really feel like you are competition-ready?
Moore: Actually I feel really confident going back into competition. Having those shows with Nitro Circus Live and being among everyone and having so much fun with it, it has made me really enjoy what I am doing again. Every week I am learning new tricks and learning new flip tricks.
Going home in the breaks has been a really good thing because I can learn something new or perfect something a little bit better. I'm definitely ready to have a go again, that's for sure.
You have the volt down and have been landing the electric doom, or whatever version you are calling it.
Yeah, I'm not sure really what to call it yet. I've still got a little more time to -- I'm just going to say -- run with the "doom." Because the way I do it and the way (Kyle) Loza does it are kind of like two different styles at the moment until I can learn to Indy up and then come around, which will make it more look like his style. I'm just going to do it the way I feel most comfy right now and see where it goes from there.
As for the volts, they're going really good now. I happened to do so many on the tour, and just doing them in practice now definitely gives me good confidence, and I'm going to keep on throwing them.
Munich X Games I definitely will throw them the best I can, so it will be like volt to heel clickers or I would like to get a volt to no-hander-lander just so I can get the technical side of things there.
Obviously you have watched Tom Pagès (who withdrew from X Games Munich on Tuesday) come out in the past year and half doing really well in competition with these technical tricks, but so far he has not been pulling the big technical flip tricks that you are throwing.
Being on tour, X-Fighters is on the weekends, so I am always there to watch and learn and see who's doing what. Watching Tom, he's got two varials in his run, and all his style's really good.
I think if I can get the two varials down and have a good clean run with some 360 combos and some flip combos, hopefully my position -- getting first -- might be really good.
I think the only thing I have to learn right now is a bit of quarterpipe stuff. My quarterpipe got delivered the Monday, the day before I had to come here, so I'm a bit bummed not having any practice on it at the moment (laughs). After this few weeks in Europe I will get home and pretty much be just quarterpipe practice that whole week leading up to X-Fighters (Madrid on July 19).
Now that Best Trick is gone from X Games do you still feel the same drive or the same pressure to learn new tricks?
Even before I was in Best Trick I was always trying new stuff. It was just a good stage to go and try to throw it down and make a name for yourself, but for me it hasn't changed anything. I still want to go out and do the 720 and by next year I will be hopefully doing that to dirt as well.
Also, I think it gives it back to a lot of the freestyle riders who learn that big trick and throw it in their freestyle run because that's what's going to make them stand out. I kind of look at the good side of it, rather than the bad.
So after X Games, you fly all of the way back home to Australia and then a week later fly all of the way back to Europe for X-Fighters? That seems crazy!
Yeah, it is crazy, but at home I feel comfy, and in my comfy zone, I will try things. It's nothing for me, for an afternoon, for me and my fiancée and the kids to be out there.
I have a 30-ton excavator next to the foam pit, and I have my fiancée operating it to get me in and out of the foam pit. It's quite handy for me because I don't have to rely on anyone else for it. She understands that this is my job so she supports me and the kids come out and hang out. They have bikes and they muck around for the afternoon.
It's nothing for me to spend three afternoons in the pit learning a new trick and then have my dad come up and keep an eye on me if I want to try it to dirt. Or I tell a few buddies and they will come out, or my manager will be there and he will be helping as well.
I have a good group of people, and that's why I like to go home on breaks.