Saturday, June 7, 2014

X Games in Austin, Texas… The Inaugural Event at The Circuit of The Americas (COTA)

Austin, Texas is known for being the Capital of the State of Texas, Live Music Capital of the World, The University of Texas, Keep Austin Weird slogan, Austin City Limits Festival, Formula 1 Racing, Moto GP Racing and now...
The X Games!!!!
The weekend of festivities kicked off with a free skating demo in the downtown area on a vert ramp built in the middle of Congress Avenue. The man, the legend, the bird man, Tony Hawk and some of his friends provided the entertainment.
However, most of the action was taking place at the Circuits of The Americas race track. The race track course and green spaces were turned into a variety of multi-sport venues.
A friend of mine that works with a local technology company lent me two all access badges for the day for FREE. This badge is better than a VIP pass and better than a Media pass because it allows access to all the regular activities as well as all the backstage areas. I enjoy the skateboard, BMX bike and other X Games events, but what I really wanted to check out was the motorsports. I was joined on this little adventure by my buddy Vinny.
The first thing the we checked out was team pit area of the motorcycle teams. There were Moto X Enduro motorcycles.
There were special whip and step up motorcycles.
We moved on to see some of the rally cars.
I asked one of the pit crews if I could pass inside the barrier to take some close up of these rally cars.
No problem… even to check out Travis Pastrana's Red Bull car.
This ain't your grandma's Subaru.
There were some team cars set out for display...
Other team were actively working on their cars...
Adjusting suspensions...
Welding exhaust systems.
Around the X Games grounds there were a number of sponsor exhibits like this Lego tent.
This is my friend Vinny playing with a little remote control Lego 4x4 truck.
Vinny is the type of guy that likes to get his hands dirty and pitch in when needed.
As we were walking around the team pit area, this crew needed a little help pushing their Super Truck back into their pit, so Vinny jumped in to help.
Here he is again, mounting a tire.
Actually, he was just acting like he was mounting a tire… a good photo opportunity. 
After all that hard work Vinny needed a beer. He also took time for a different type of photo op with this paddock girl.
No beer, but I was not going to pass up the opportunity to take a photo with this pretty lady.
We did actually check out some of the events. We first watched some of the Super Truck racing.

Then we walked into the pit area of the Moto X Enduro races. The crews were lining up their racer's motorcycles.
Under a staging tent the racers waited in the order of their seeding for their heat to start.
As their heat was called out, the racers put on their helmets and got ready to ride.
And then they were off.
In Moto X Enduro the participants race on a course over various obstacles like dirt mounds...
Over rock piles...
Around sharp corners...
Where the participants often have to put a foot down, pop a wheelie, turn the bike sideways in mid-air and then ride out of the rock pile.
There are log obstacles...

And hill jumps.
It is not just the guys that ride Moto X… there are lady riders as well that race in their own event.
Some riders relax before their heat.
Others receive last minute support and technical advice.
The ladies ride over the same course...
And tear it up just like the guys.
In the ladies race there was a fierce battle between these two racers.
But there can be only one winner.
This is X Games gold medal winner Kacy Martinez. Congratulations.
For the guys, there were a number of qualifying heats.
The action was fast...
I was amazed at how easily they rode over the obstacles.
This rock pile was causing difficulties for many riders.
Sometimes there would be collisions and stalled bikes in the rock pile.
After a number of qualifying heats, it was determined who would compete in the final heat.
It would come down to number 10 Colton Haaker.
And number 111 Taddy Blazusiak
The race was a close one.
The two riders raced side by side for much of the race.
But there can be only one winner.
This is X Games gold medal winner Taddy Blazusiak. Congratulations!
After the Moto X races we walked around the grounds some more and met some other paddock girls.
We made our way over to this monstrosity… the Big Air ramp.
Competitors ride down one steep roll on ramp and hit this huge ramp to fly over a gap.
Then they slide down a second ramp and up this huge half pipe ramp to catch some big air.
These guys are basically flying.
Tom Schaar landed a 720 over the gap and a 900 on the quarter pipe to win X games gold. Congratulations!
After the Big Air event, we walked around some more and I found this Super Truck.
And these Super Nice Promo Ladies.
It was a hot day, so people were actually swimming in the little pond on the grounds.
The last event that we watched was the Moto X Step Up.
Riders run up a short but steep ramp and try to jump over a suspended bar.
It is kind of like a high jump with a motorcycle.
Some riders jump straight over the bar, some riders do a sideways tail whip over the bar for added clearance.
The rider that cleared the tallest height and landed cleanly was X Games gold winner Ronnie Renner. Congratulations!
X Games Austin!!!
Here are some scenes from the X Games Austin.

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