Robbins is the new king of boardercross
The streak is over. Eight-time defending champion Jason Lee didn’t even make it to the final of Saturday’s men’s pro division boardercross at the U.S. Open Mountainboarding Championship at Snowmass, clearing the way for new champ Leon Robbins.Robbins, who didn’t compete in Friday’s prelims and had to fight poor starting position Saturday to advance, won the four-rider final in convincing fashion. A powerful start gave him the lead out of the gate and he charged down the Fanny Hill course to victory. Jeremy Leafe, who defended his title in slopestyle Saturday afternoon for the third straight year, finished second. Jason Small was third and Tyler Mork fourth.”Streaks can’t last forever,” said Robbins, who is sponsored by Lee’s company MountainBoard Sports. “(Jason) is happy for me. I’m sure he’s a bit bummed out that he didn’t get to the final, but it happens.”
Lee, one of the founding fathers of the sport of mountainboarding, took three falls Saturday morning – one during a practice run, one during his first heat and the last during a heat that would have put him into the semifinals had he won. Both times he crashed during heats he was leading the other riders on course. Lee said he felt something pop in his knee during the third fall, which led him to pull out of the afternoon slopestyle competition. His ankle was also bothering him.Both falls during heats, Lee said, were a result of going too fast into clusters of roller jumps on the course – the first fall coming on a set of three rollers, the final taking place on a set of four. “On the triple section, I knew I needed to jump the double, then suck up the second,” Lee said. “I went over the double and I was too far in the backseat and too low and I just got bucked off the third one. Then the same thing happened to me in the semifinals on the double double. I was just going too fast.”Despite limping around for the rest of the day, Lee said he was happy that another rider from his team took his title. Lee was happy about his Leafe’s slopestyle victory as well, since Leafe also rides for MBS.
From a company standpoint, it’s a good day,” Lee said. “We’ve got the best riders out here.”In the 12-and-under division, Max Puder beat out Jeff Wooley, Chris O’Brien and Patrick Reynolds in the final to take gold. Other champions were Morris Hogan in the 13-17 division, Cole Shipp in the 18-34 sport division, Carolyn Kunkle in the women’s open division and Eric Stefflre in the 35-and-over masters division.Leafe rules slopestyleLeafe wasn’t completely satisfied with his performance in the men’s pro slopestyle, but the judges weren’t complaining. Three solid runs earned him the title with a combined score of 103.5, 12.5 points better than runner-up Robbins. Devin “Captain Insano” Garland was third with 70.5 points. Leafe said finicky gusts of wind made it tough for riders to decide on big tricks while standing atop the 24-foot tall ramp that led into the big kicker jump on the slopestyle course.
“It wasn’t really windy, but every so often you’d get a wind gust,” he said. “If you got that before you were going to drop, you were going to lose too much speed to clear the gap and throw a trick.”Riders were given five runs apiece, with the three best being tallied for the final score. Judges based half of their run score on the trick a rider pulled over the kicker jump. The remaining half of the score was based on the rails section of the course, which featured a kinked rail, a rainbow rail and two quarterpipes. Leafe said his best run was a 360 over the kicker, followed by a 50/50 on the kinked rail and topped off with a 180 on the bigger of the two quarterpipes. His two rodeo flips over the kicker on separate runs – each with a different grab – also impressed the crowd and the judges.The biggest trick of the afternoon came from 16-year-old Sean Vile, who attempted a double back flip over the kicker jump on his second-to-last run. Vile completed the second rotation, but crashed hard on the landing, scraping up his arm.He decided on another double back flip for his final run on course, but changed his mind in mid air. He stopped his momentum on his second rotation so he could crash down on his side, instead of on his head.
Vile’s final score of 25.5 was the lowest in the 10-rider final, but that was fine by him. He said his primary objective was to do the biggest trick – even if it cost him some blood and gave him some lasting bruises.”I wanted to bring the double back flip here,” Vile said. “That was my main goal. I did that and nobody else did, so I’m excited about that. What I like to do is go as huge as I can and push the level.”Results for the other divisions in slopestyle were not available at press time.Nate Peterson can be reached at email@example.com
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