FOZ DO IGUAÇU, Brazil -- X Games rookie Lance Coury, 23, won gold in the Speed & Style event on Saturday at X Games Foz after beating out Brazilian rider Gilmar Flores in quarterfinals, dispatching former FIM Freestyle MX World Champion Libor Podmol of the Czech Republic in semifinals, and finishing ahead in a final bout against Norwegian rider Andre Villa.
"It's my first X Games. I love this," said Coury, breathless and dusting himself off in disbelief after the head-to-head race. "I got into freestyle motocross because of Travis Pastrana and X Games."
In quarterfinals, Villa beat French rider David Rinaldo, the current leader in the 2013 FIM Freestyle MX World Championship series, and took Swiss rider Mat Rebeaud down in semifinals. In the main event Coury took an early lead out of the gates, then slipped up in the rhythm section with Villa closing in fast.
The stadium-sized course was bigger and more open than the previous Speed & Style tracks at X Games Los Angeles, which were held inside the Staples Center arena, leaving room for both more speed and bigger airs.
"I knew I was in front," Coury said, recounting the slip-up that sent both riders careening off the course. "I don't know what tricks he's doing, I'm doing the tricks that I have in my head, I'm going as fast as I can, I can hear him on my back. I make a mistake in that line, he jumps over my head, I'm like, 'I've gotta take the inside, one so he doesn't crash on me, two so I can maybe keep him off of me.'"
Villa won on style points, 84.66 to 84.00 -- partly thanks to a huge whip flip on the course's 75-foot FMX competition ramp -- but Coury came out of the scramble first and finished well ahead of him, bumping his overall score to 97.85.
"I didn't even expect to ride X Games this year," Coury said. "I didn't expect to make it to the final round... honestly, I just had fun out there."
Villa claimed silver, his first X Games medal in four appearances. Rebead beat out Podmol for the bronze in the consolation round.