Ronnie Renner wins Moto X Step Up
BARCELONA, Spain -- The Moto X Step Up gold medal was decided by the first jump-off in event history Sunday night at X Games Barcelona, as decorated freestyle motocross veteran Ronnie Renner faced off against Josh Hansen with the bar set at 32 feet.
As the last two riders in a final field of six, Renner and Hansen each got a third attempt to clear 32 feet, after both failed in two tries at that height.
Up first in the jump-off, Hansen came up short, leaving the door open for Renner, who cleared the bar to claim the gold medal, leaving the silver for Hansen.
"That was a battle, probably one of the hardest battles I've had," Renner said. "[Hansen's] a sharp rider; I knew he'd get this step up thing figured out."
Hansen, an experienced motocross competitor, was a Step Up rookie at X Games Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil last month. In Brazil, Renner and Hansen exchanged words in the starting area after Hansen taunted Renner, who responded by driving his motorcycle into Hansen's bike before pit crews separated the two riders.
"In Foz, I let my mouth do a lot of talking," Hansen said Sunday in Barcelona before attempting 31 feet. "Tonight, I'm letting my riding do the talking."
Added Renner, "How ironic is that, me and him end up on the battlefield together in the end? It's hard to block all that stuff out, honestly, but I knew I was here for the right reasons and take it real serious."
Hansen was nearly eliminated on his second attempt at 31 feet, his back tire tapping the bar, which wobbled but did not fall.
Hansen was using essentially a stock bike with borrowed parts, just as he did in Brazil. Only this time, he said some gearing was stolen out of the box his bike was shipped to Spain in.
"I made the best of it. I got beat by one of the best, so I'm going to work hard and come back and make it happen next time," Hansen said.
Matt Buyten -- who's won gold in this event four times, including back-to-back victories in 2010 and 2011 -- was not so fortunate, toppling the bar on both attempts at 31 feet, the winning height at X Games Foz.
Buyten took home the bronze.