...and the winner is, like my English collegue Tom already informed you at 4 o´clock in the morning (he should get a bonus salary for this extraordinary job commitment!!!), Kevin Pearce! Although the sympathies were more with Norwegian kid Mikkel Bang (see picture below).
With his win of the Rookie Challenge last year, Mikkel qualified for the main event this year but nobody would have thought that he made it straight into the super final. Especially since he picked Travis Rice as his opponent at the Rider´s Draw on Friday and as everybody knows, Travis just won the Air & Style last year.
So after Mikkel kicked out Travis with perfect 10s, he and Kevin were pushing it in the super final. Although Torstein Horgmo and David Benedek didn´t make it too easy for them with Torstein taking over the lead after the third jump with a bloody good SW BS 9 and David going for his Double Cork 12s (unfortunately he never landed them perfect but big up´s for him for taking the risk - the kids were appreciating it with an incredible loud "DAVID BENEDEK" chorus).
After Torstein taking over the lead, it was up to Kevin Pearce: He did a perfect SW Cab 12 and Torstein was not on the first place anymore. Now imagine 17 year old Mikkel standing at the drop in, more than 20.000 people shouting and screaming and he knows that he could win this event if he could just handle the pressure. He could! With a textbook SW BS 1080! The crowd is waiting for the score and is disappointed when the screen shows that Mikkel is becoming 2nd only. But that is a pretty good result for somebody who was still a rookie last year, isn´t it?
If Tim Humphrey, the winner of this year´s Rookie Challenge, will try to do the same next year? I hope so as it is really good to see the youngsters putting some pressure on the "old" pros!
In general, the Air & Style was a again a banger - perfect jump, good atmosphere in the Olympic Stadium, a huge crowd and highly motivated riders!!! Thank you all for this crazy event...
A more detailed report as well as some video footage from the Air & Style will follow as soon as everybody has cured their hang overs ;)