With the Global X Games expansion, the debut of the new FIM Freestyle of Nations event and other big things ahead in 2013, we can hardly wait to see what's next. But first, here's a look back at the soaring highs and crushing lows in motocross, FMX and rally circa 2012.
Robbie "Maddo" Maddison and snowmobiler Levi LaVallee opened 2012 with fireworks for their Red Bull "New Year. No Limits" jump on ESPN, with Maddo pushing the motocross distance jump record to 392 feet in practice and LaVallee flying a record-setting 412 feet, 6 inches for the big show.
But records were made to be broken, and in May mostly unknown motocross rider Alex Harvill, then just 19, pushed the mark to an astounding 425 feet at Toes MX Park in Royal City, Wash. Footage of Harvill's jump will appear in a long-in-the-works documentary on the history of distance jumps, codenamed "The Daredevil Project," due out in 2013 from filmmakers Jay Schweitzer and Mike McEntire.
Shaken, not stirred
Maddo, not to be outdone, bounced back with the role of a lifetime, jumping in as Daniel Craig's 007 stunt double in the James Bond movie "Skyfall" for a motocross chase scene filmed in Istanbul, Turkey. And motocross looked good on film all year long thanks to flicks such as "Black Friday," "Twitch's 420% All Natural," "Kickstart 4," "Moto 4," "Twice: The Cam Sinclair Story," "Tomorrow Will Be Better" and "Bro'."
Maria Forsberg went undefeated in 13 races in the Grand National Cross Country women's division in 2012 in addition to winning her second consecutive Enduro X gold medal at X Games Los Angeles 2012 and securing her second consecutive championship title in the Geico EnduroCross Series. On the men's side, Polish rider [and 2011 X Games gold medalist] Taddy Blazusiak missed the podium at X Games Los Angeles 2012 but came back with a vengeance to dominate the rest of the 2012 EnduroCross season, trouncing his next-closest competitor by 70 points in the overall tour rankings.
Would you believe it's possible to win a major FMX contest in this day and age without throwing a single backflip? French rider Thomas Pagès showed the world how it's done at the Red Bull X-Fighters event in Munich, breaking out game-changing special flips and volt body varials and unveiling a new flatspin 540 flair. But the big prize ultimately went to Kiwi rider Levi Sherwood, who won his first Red Bull X-Fighters championship in October, clinching the overall title after beating out Pagès in head-to-head finals on Cockatoo Island in Sydney, Australia. The two riders were tied in the overall rankings headed into the final event.
Dewin' in right
Adam Jones marked the return of FMX to the Dew Tour with a return to form in November, drinking from the Dew Cup in San Francisco after winning the new Triple Threat event.
Vive le FMX
French rider Rémi Bizouard worked his way into our headlines more often than any other FMX rider in 2012 after dominating the UEM Freestyle MX European Championship series and the FIM Freestyle MX World Championship series, where he picked up his third overall championship title. Bizouard also made his Red Bull X-Fighters debut in 2012 and says he hopes to be looking for gold when the expanded Global X Games series gets under way in 2013.
Ken Roczen, Max Nagl and Marcus Schiffer led Germany to its first championship in the Motocross of Nations in Lommel, Belgium, beating out their hosts and the U.S. team that had been dominating MXoN for the previous seven years in a row.
Dungey gets it done
Ryan Dungey's eight-win AMA Pro Motocross streak brought home a milestone championship win for his KTM team and his second career AMA Pro Motocross season title. Dungey also won four of the AMA Supercross events in 2012, but the overall title went to rival Ryan Villopoto, who was sidelined with injuries for much of the rest of 2012.
Fiolek goes out on top
Ashley Fiolek won her fourth Women's Motocross Championship in five years, then announced she's moving on. She'll continue to compete at X Games in 2013 and has said she'll be holding a press conference in January to announce her future plans.
All About the Benjamins
Justin Barcia snatched $100,000 at the Monster Energy Cup on a course designed by "GOAT" Ricky Carmichael, beating out Dungey and Eli Tomac for the top spot in the overall rankings after a three-round final that saw each of them on top [and thus leaving the $1 million jackpot, which Villopoto had won with a sweep in 2011, on the table].
Pastrana-thon, still going strong
Travis Pastrana crashed out in the X Games RallyCross qualifiers and sat out the Moto X events at X Games, but the Pastrana-thon went on and on in 2012 with the worldwide release of "Nitro Circus 3D." Pimping the film brought Pastrana to both "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" and "Conan" and an expanded Nitro Circus Live world tour kept his stunt carnie crew busy while Pastrana renewed his focus on NASCAR racing in 2012, dabbled in truck racing with his debut in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and briefly led a NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in September. The only Pastrana win on the NASCAR circuit so far, however, belongs to his wife, pro skateboarder Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins Pastrana, who won the Better Half Dash charity race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in October. Pastrana skipped the final round of the Global RallyCross series to repair a labrum and rotator cuff injury that had been nagging his left shoulder for nearly a decade, a surgery that should put him in better position heading into the fast lane in 2013.
Life in the Foust Lane
Tanner Foust won the GRC title after beating out teammate Brian Deegan, who might have been a little distracted by his unlikely but unsurprising new role as a Mini Dad. And, speaking of rally, Ken Block was on fire in 2012 literally and metaphorically. "Gymkhana 5," the latest installment in his viral stunt driving video series, got more than 37 million YouTube views in 2012.
Ride in Peace
Risk reared its ugly head on the motocross track in 2012: 19-year-old Chase Alessandro died in September after sustaining injuries during the Lucas Oil Westcoast Classic series at Lucas Oil MX Park [formerly Starwest MX] in Perris, Calif., and 16-year-old up-and-comer Jantz Grodzicki died in November after severing his spine in a crash on the track at the 41st Annual Thor Winter Olympics. Motocross and FMX legend Carey Hart best said what everyone else was thinking: "Our sport is brutal sometimes. Terrible to be in this position. Thoughts and prayers go out." BTO Sports will be having a memorial ride day at Lucas Oil MX Park on Jan. 12 to help raise money for the Grodzicki family.
One step backward, three steps forward
Moto X Freestyle won't be a part of X Games Los Angeles, but there's a silver lining: Three Moto X Freestyle events will take place in much bigger and more appropriate venues on the new Global X tour in 2013, including the stops in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, Barcelona and Munich.
If you haven't been following the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour or the International Freestyle Motocross Federation's Night of the Jumps World Tour, get ready to learn some new names because the FMX world has been getting bigger by the day. And Moto X fans will still have X Games Los Angeles to look forward to, where Best Trick, Best Whip, Step Up, Enduro X, and Women's Racing will all be contested. If you're looking to pick some winners, keep an eye on X Games Los Angeles 2012 champs Taka Higashino, Jacko Strong, Mike Mason, Vicki Golden, Maria Forsberg, Mike Brown and Moto X Step Up world record-setter Ronnie Renner. See you in 2013!