MAGIC MAIKEL MAKES IT FIVE
The most exciting season ever of the FIM Freestyle Motocross World Championship series came to a dramatic conclusion at the final round in Shenzhen, China, where Maikel Melero re-wrote Night of the Jumps history by claiming his fifth title in a row.
Luc Ackermann fought fiercely with Melero the entire season until his very last trick of the campaign, but it was the Spaniard’s experience that ultimately triumphed over the carefreeness of the German, who at the age of just twenty was a proud recipient of the silver medal. Libor Podmol’s third position on the night was also enough to seal third place overall.
The spectacular show in the Shenzhen Sport Centre was the eighth and final round of another stellar Night of the Jumps World Tour in 2018, featuring ten riders from five nations. The first half of the season went the way of Ackermann, who took 74 points from the opening four rounds to establish a two-point advantage over Melero, with 2010 title winner Libor Podmol already twelve points further back.
However, Melero battled back to set up the final round showdown and after an electrifying run full of huge tricks on the second night of competition, Ackermann pulled too hard on his Surfer Tsunami Flip and he crashed heavily into the red Shenzhen soil. The young German managed to walk away from the crash but eighth place relegated him to second overall, as Melero took a safe run to make it into the final and secure his historic fifth crown.
5 Word titles – 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014
MAGIC MAIKEL MAKES HISTORY
Maikel Melero (Yamaha) made FIM Freestyle MX World Championship history in front of 20,000 spectators in the Shenzhen Football Stadium, claiming an unprecedented fourth title in the final round of another thrilling season. For the sixth year in a row, the best Freestyle MX riders from Night of the Jumps flew to China for two nights of competition but for the first time ever this event would be the season finale.
Ten riders from six nations were taking part but it was the showdown between three-time champ and series leader Melero and his rival Libor Podmol (Yamaha) that everyone was eagerly waiting to see. The qualification round on the opening night did not go to plan for Podmol, the Czech rider showing some early nerves as Melero produced a flawless run.
Podmol produced a solid effort in the final, finishing with a California Roll on his Double-Up, although was quickly upstaged by David Rinaldo (Yamaha), who started his run with a Rock Solid Backflip and finished it with a California Roll. With the title on the line, Melero emerged to a standing ovation knowing that third place would be enough to wrap up the championship. The audience were not disappointed as the Spaniard produced some stunning tricks like the Lazy Boy Flip and California Roll, although by his standards it was a reserved ride that secured the third spot on the podium and his fourth World Championship title in a row.
HAT TRICK FOR MELERO!
Over the last three years, Maikel Melero has become the absolute top favourite of the NIGHT of the JUMPs Series. In 2014 the Spanish freestyle motocross marvel won his first FIM Freestyle MX World Championship title and in 2015 he successfully defended that title.
Although Maikel still had to fight hard for his first two World Championships, he completely dominated the Series in 2016. He won the two Grand Prix curtain-raisers in Basel and went on to ace the third and fourth contests in Berlin. In March, the FIM Freestyle MX World Championship paid visits to Stockholm und Cracow, and there too, Maikel Malero was on his game. His victory in the Polish Grand Prix actually set an all-season record for the NIGHT of the JUMPs. Never before in the event’s 16-year history had any rider won ten contests in a row.
After the summer recess, the NIGHT of the JUMPs resumed in Cologne. During training in the Lanxess Arena, Maikel Melero floated a backflip and lost control over the motorcycle 15 metres above the ground, landing without the motorcycle. The Spanish rider came off lightly with just a few bruises, and anyone who thought the World Championship was over for Malero was in for a surprise the following week when, at the Latvian Grand Prix in Riga. In spite of his injuries, Malero took a giant step towards his third World Title. The deciding round of the World Championship took place in China at the end of October. The standout Spaniard won both contests at the event in Shenzhen, clinching the 2016 title with an unbelievable nine out of ten possible wins over the World Championship season.