POMONA, Calif. – Javier Villegas outdueled Jimmy Fitzpatrick to win the Metal Mulisha Moto-X Champions event Saturday night at the Pomona Fairplex.
The 10th annual ASA World Championships of Freestyle Motocross featured Villegas, Fitzpatrick, Ronnie Faisst, Javier Villegas, Drake McElroy, Kenny Bell, Nixey Danielson, Jimmie McGuire and Derek Garland battling through a head-to-head competition on the last night of the Los Angeles County Fair.
This year's competition featured a new style of bracket elimination. It was the standard head-to-head competition as seen in the past, but a "battle back" bracket was added to give riders a second opportunity to work their way back into the main bracket as the "lucky loser."
The event started out with a warm breeze in the air, the smell of race gas and a certain buzz of anticipation and excitement in the crowd. This excitement grew when opening ceremonies were met with rider intros and a warm-up train filled with whips, backflips and the Captain Morgan trick to kick off the night's competition.
As the competition began and riders were advancing to the next bracket or filling up the battle back bracket, Metal Mulisha riders Faisst, Fitzpatrick, Danielson and Chilean rider Villegas all stood out with promising rides.
During Round 5 Faisst was up against Fitzpatrick who threw massive KOD (kiss of death) flips and rock solids to advance to the next round and Faisst to the battle back bracket. During Round 6 Villegas took control of the crowd and his advancement as he threw long, paused, stretched-out right-side-up KODs and his signature Gangnam trick.
Rockstar Troy Lee Designs rider Villegas, who was using this as a warm-up for this weekend's Red Bull X-Fighters season finale in Sydney, Australia, beat Fitzpatrick in the semifinal.
But Fitzpatrick then emerged from the battle back bracket to claim the "lucky loser" position and a rematch against Villegas in the final. The energetic and packed house saw Metal Mulisha's Fitzpatrick go toe-to-toe with Villegas on backflip Cordovas, cliff hangers and KODs. By this time Fitzpatrick was throwing heart-stopping backflip KODs while Villegas launched massive stretched out KODs and backflip Cordovas.
In the end Villegas came out on top with the championship, but it was not easy and Fitzpatrick and the Metal Mulisha riders made him earn it.
"After three years of competing in this event, I am incredibly excited to come out of here with a win," Villegas said. "All of these Metal Mulisha guys are real athletes and tough competitors, so they made me work for it. To be able to go up against them and then walk away with this trophy is an amazing feeling."