After a lackluster past two-years, the X Games Step Up returned to the Staples Center for an exciting five-rider showdown on Friday night, where KTM’s Ronnie Renner, aboard the only four-stroke in the competition, took top honors after clearing a height of 33 feet.
The showdown went down between Jeremy McGrath, Tommy Clowers, Matt Buyten, Renner and Brian Deegan. It was a disappointing night for McGrath, who was the first one out while the other four advanced several feet.
Once heights reached over 30-feet, complications began for the two-strokes. They had to dump the clutch so hard that it was causing them to spin on the take-off, and on the lip. In one scary attempt, Deegan spun and got a little sideways off the lip, and landed a little too-close-for-comfort in the soft dirt next to the course workers. No one was hurt, but the course workers received a heavy roosting.
Only Renner seemed to have no trouble hooking up on his 450 SX. Apparently he struggled with the decision of whether to race the two-stroke or the four-stroke, but in the end, it proved to be a good decision.
“Watch, next year there will be five four-strokes in the event,” said KTM boss Kurt Nicoll, who was ecstatic to see KTM collect its first X Games gold medal.
Final Step Up Results
1. Ronnie Renner/Westminster, CA/33.00
2. Brian Deegan/Temecula, CA/32.00
2. Matt Buyten/Minden, NV/32.00
2. Tommy Clowers/Ramona, CA/32.00
5. Jeremy McGrath/Encinitas, CA/26.00