Heikkinen, Sanz, Blazusiak win on Day 4
LOS ANGELES -- After 11 action-packed years in Los Angeles, Sunday marked the final day of X Games competition in L.A. New host city Austin, Texas, will join the six-stop global X Games tour in 2014. On Sunday, Enduro X and RallyCross closed down the house in historic fashion.
Ford RallyCross SuperCar
Toomas "Topi" Heikkinen won gold in the Ford RallyCross SuperCar finals in front of a packed grandstand at the Irwindale Speedway on Sunday. The win made it four in a row for Heikkinen on the Global Rallycross Championship and his second X Games gold in a row.
Tanner Foust won the silver medal and Sverre Isachsen took the bronze.
"We just take it like everybody, race by race, every time," said Heikkinen, who won the second of two RallyCross races in Munich. "I'm so happy now."
Heikkinen and Foust drove around a massive pileup on the first lap that took out three race favorites -- Ken Block, Brian Deegan and Liam Doran. Block looked good in the heats, but his troubles in the main events with more cars continued. He finished in sixth place.
Isachsen was in the lead when the pileup occurred behind him but was black-flagged for jumping the gun on the start. He was penalized with a stop and start in the penalty box and rejoined the field, clawing his way back to third.
X Games icon Travis Pastrana finished fourth one day after driving in a NASCAR Nationwide Series race in Iowa.
"The team has been doing a great job on the car, but we were way off in practice," said Pastrana after finishing second in his qualifying heat. "We're making changes, we're making improvements."
This was the final RallyCross race for the X Games in 2013. The GRC series continues in Atlanta on Aug. 10.
Women's Enduro X
Spanish rider Laia Sanz tangled with other riders right out of the gate in Sunday's Women's Enduro X, but she managed to make up for lost ground to earn her third gold medal of the year.
By the second lap, Sanz had passed everyone but Tarah Gieger. A slip-up in the rocks in Lap 4 tossed Gieger off her bike, leaving Sanz and Maria Forsberg to battle it out up front.
"I had a really bad start," Sanz said. "Tarah was jumping a lot and I'm not good at jumping. At the end, I didn't make mistakes today and I feel super pumped for that because in Munich it was a disaster. The race was good and the bike was much better than it was in Munich."
Racing out front is more familiar territory for Sanz than chasing down the pack, and by the time she crossed the checkered flag she'd extended her lead, beating silver medalist Forsberg by 37.189 seconds -- an enormous interval in a six-lap race -- and bronze medalist Gieger by nearly a minute.
Forsberg dominated Women's Enduro X in its first two years at X Games but she's had her hands full since Sanz, the 2012 FIM Enduro World Champion and a 12-time FIM Trials World Champion, made the scene. The two riders have held the top two spots at every global X Games event in 2013, with Sanz on top in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, and Barcelona, and now Los Angeles, and Forsberg with the win in Munich.
"It's funny that everyone calls it a rivalry because we're friends," says Forsberg. "We haven't really gone back and forth because I've beat her once and she's beat me three or four times. It's been an honor riding with her and I feel like I've learned a lot from her. We both obviously want to win in the end, but she rode an awesome race and it's well deserved."
Men's Enduro X
Taddy Blazusiak won Men's Enduro X on Sunday, ahead of KTM teammate Mike Brown, who took silver. Cody Webb took the bronze medal.
Blazusiak and Brown have gone back and forth for the win since Enduro X first debuted at X Games in 2011. Blazusiak won in 2011, Brown won in 2012 and this year, Blazusiak won in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, and Brown took gold in Barcelona. Taylor Robert won Enduro X in Munich.
"I felt super confident on the bike," said Blazusiak, who beat Brown by a margin of 3.744 seconds. "The question mark was the start – it's super important on this track, but I had great starts all night. I knew I had Mike on my back but I knew that I had a little bit more speed in me so I was just controlling the situation and trying not to make any mistakes."
Brown said he and Blazusiak are close friends off the track but emphasized that "racing is racing."
Blazusiak said that adding the three international events into the mix has made for a long but rewarding season. His planned celebration will extend well beyond the X Games after-party. "I'm going back home and I'm going to be sitting at the pool for a few months," he said.
|1||Taddy Blazusiak||7:55.393 R|
Information from XGames.com's Colin Bane and Dave L'Heureux was used in this report.