After a rain-soaked round three in Nashville, Tennessee, the Los Angeles round of the XDL Championship Series offered plenty of sunshine all around. Under clear skies, and with a solid crowd in attendance and a buzzing vendors’ area in the background, Yamaha’s Bill Dixon managed to close the door on the 2010 FMF Cup championship hunt by finishing second to 2008 champion Nick Brocha. Although Brocha did what he had to do, which was win, Dixon’s points total was high enough to secure the title by one marker, even if Brocha were to win at the upcoming Indy round as well. This crucial point was the bonus point earned by Dixon’s number-one qualifying spot, proving how important it has become to qualify well in FMF Cup competition.K&N Filters stepped up its contingency program for the L.A. round quite significantly, which generated a whole new level of enthusiasm among the athletes. The K&N Circle Challenge was won by veteran Lin Eshalom, but the standout performer was Tony Carbajal, who – in only his third XDL appearance – managed to beat Ernie Vigil, Brocha and Dixon on his way to second place and some K&N bonus money.
Scorpion rider Eric Pettit (above, center) may have sealed the Aprilia All-Star Challenge championship by earning his third win of the season, ahead of Bill Dixon (above, right) and Joe Dryden (above, left), and finally winning in the dry. And he did it in an amazing 22.69 seconds, the fastest time of the year. Dan Jackson still has a mathematical chance of taking the title, but things are sure looking good for Pettit.The Sartso Women’s Cup saw the largest field of the year, with four riders competing. Brandy Valdez from Texas took the win, over Daytona winner Dena Sodano from Pennsylvania.
The Team Battle was won by Cali Alliance (above), comprised of Alex Flores, Guru Khalsa, Rick Hart & John Michael O’Leary.The XDL L.A. event closed out, as it always does, with the Speed & Strength Sickest Trick competition, which delivered an amazing final trick, as well as a fair amount of controversy. Factory Aprilia-HJC rider Joe Dryden had gone without a win or place in any competition and was looking at a long drive back to Florida with no money to show for his efforts. In a bid to try to pull a rabbit out of his hat, Dryden decided to go for a Hail Mary by attempting a high-speed, no-handed wheelie scrape. While this may not sound that difficult, one needs to remember that his Aprilia doesn’t run a traditional 12-bar, so he doesn’t benefit from the additional six to eight inches of length in the bike. For Dryden to scrape the tail of his bike, he’d have to lean the bike back past the balance point – essentially riding “upside down.” With a failure rate of more than 90 percent, the prospects of Dryden crashing onto his head at 35 to 40 mph were fairly high.The Speed & Strength Sickest Trick rules state that a rider has two attempts to complete his trick. Dryden’s first run wasn’t even close. On his second run, the trick started to develop. This should have been the end, but the judges and crowd felt that there was enough progress to see this one through, or see Dryden crash. On his fourth run, Dryden pulled off this never-before-attempted trick and took the win. Other riders immediately protested the rules infraction, but the win was upheld on the grounds that even if other riders had been given additional attempts and completed their tricks, Dryden’s feat was simply the most stunning trick of the day. It was a fitting end to a day full of spectacular riding and showmanship.Next, it’s on to the XDL finals in Indianapolis, as part of MotoGP weekend on August 27 and 28. XDL can be followed on www.xdlshow.com.ResultsFMF CUP FINAL: 1. Nick Brocha (155.5); 2. Bill Dixon (147.5); 3. Luke Emmons (139.0); 4. Chris McNeil (134.0); 5. Shinsuke Kinoshita (131.5).APRILIA ALL-STAR CHALLENGE: 1. Eric Pettit (22.69 sec.); 2. Bill Dixon (24.88 sec.); 3. Joe Dryden (29.37 sec.).K&N CIRCLE CHALLENGE: 1. Lin Eshalom; 2. Tony Carbajal; 3. Eric Pettit.SPEED & STRENGTH SICKEST TRICK: 1. Joe Dryden; 2. Darius Khashabi; 3. Rick Hart.SARTSO WOMEN’S CUP: 1. Brandy Valdez (66.5); 2. Dena Sodano (61); 3. Alicia Speck (49); 4. Leah Peterson (49).FREESTYLE BURNOUT: 1. Alex Flores; 2. Nick Brocha; 3. Randy Callicoat.TEAM BATTLE: 1. Cali Alliance (Alex Flores/Guru Khalsa/Rick Hart/John Michael O’Leary) (24); 2. Death Squad (Nick Brocha/Ernie Vigil/Shin Kinoshita/Lin Eshalom) (23); 3. LA To The Bay (Nick Hernandez/Billy Wynn/Tony Carbajal/Darius Khashabi) (18).