X Games 17: Enduro X (Video)

Aug. 01, 2011 By Josh Burns
Thrills and spills: Enduro X kept everyone on their toes at Staples Center, including the competitors.

The action sports extravaganza that is X Games wrapped up in downtown Los Angeles last night with a new event to X Games called Enduro X, A.K.A. Endurocross. This unique form of dirt bike racing is staged on an obstacle-riddled course built inside Staples Center that included giant logs, rocks, a water crossing, tires and more. 

Thirty well-known and many very accomplished, off-road racers made up the huge field of riders for Enduro X. There were three round one heats made up of 10 riders in each, with only the top two racers advancing to the finals. Those who did not advance would go into one of two last-chance qualifiers (LCQs).

The starts were wild and produced a crash almost every time once they reached the bottom of the hill.

The competition was pretty exciting, and the course was a challenge for even some of the best riders in the world. It’s not often that crowds will see elite racers crash numerous times during a race. The racing requires a great deal of balance, throttle control, and a never-quit attitude. It looked exhausting, and riders would often get their bike stuck in a rut, on a rock, and fall over onto the obstacles and then have to get their bike up and fire it back to life. 

Justin Soule earned X Games bronze.

In the first heat, Geoff Aaron and Justin Soule advanced. In heat two, Kevin Rookstool and Taylor Robert were the top two finishers, respectively, and move on to the finals. The top two in the third heat were Mike Brown and Joakim Ljunggren. In the first LCQ, two accomplished off-road racers who just missed qualifying got through, as Taddy Blazusiak won while Cody Webb earned second. In the second LCQ, Destry Abbott and Kurt Caselli earned the final two spots.

The 10-man final was set, and racers fired off the starting line hoping to survive the course for 10 more laps. In the end, Polish racer Blazusiak earned the win with his consistent race.

Taddy Blazusiak earned the win in the first Enduro X race.

"You just try to push yourself to the limit and that's what I tried to do, and you had to make a decision in the split of a second," Blazusiak said. "I'm really happy, I had a steady start, I wasn't going over my head and I just worked my way through."

Brown, of Bluff City, Tenn., also stayed in the hunt but finished about 14 seconds behind Blazusiak.

Destry Abbott (2) and Mike Brown (311) tackle the wood pit.

"It's my first time at X Games and it was great,” he said. “It's fun to watch and there's always something going on in this sport. I hope we get to come back again next year and put on a good show for everyone.”

Finishing in third is Soule, the Victorville, Calif., off-road racer glad to put the sport on the map in X Games 17.

"This is awesome because everyone gets to see what Enduro X is,” Soule said. “Everyone knows what BMX and skateboarding is and now they know Enduro X, so it's cool and it's an honor to be a part of this." Soule said.

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