Talking to flat track fans on both sides of the Atlantic, it's clear that British/ European fans don't have a feeling of just how highly the X Games is regarded in the US and how important it is to the flat track racers who are involved.
To the Brits (certainly the older ones) it's a made for TV, energy drink festival of skate, freestyle MX and BMX, where the Americans seem to see it as a massive honour to be involved with and a season-defining win for a rider who is perhaps not performing in AFT.
Harley-Davidson's sponsorship ensures X Games includes pro and hooligan flat track, for the time being at least, and the racing was put in a slightly warm-up slot of Sunday morning.
An elite group of riders were invited to race twins on an indoor short track that was smaller than some motorway roundabouts in the UK, an almost round. The entry was whittled down to a six rider affair that lined up like this...
Mees - Indian
Carver - Kawasaki
Halbert - H-D XR750
Johnson - H-D XR750
Coolbeth - Indian
Bauman - Indian
Watch the film above to see how it panned out.
Brandon Robinson is still out injured, but Harley put a number of guest riders on the Vance and Hines XG750s. Johnny Lewis, Cory Texter and Kolby Carlile, along with official H-D rider, Jarod Vanderkooi, were all on the liquid-cooled 750s. None of that four made the main. Sammy Halbert chose to race [update - we initially were told it was his own old, but no believe it was one of Vance and Hines'] XR750, painted up in factory colours. That says a lot about the XG750's state of development, that the man riding it all season would prefer to ride an XR750 on an indoor short track than the bike he's ridden all season.
Jake Johnson also chose to race an XR750, despite the fact he has a Yamaha framer (featured in SB33) and Indian FTR750 to choose from. Jeffrey Carver also chose his Kawasaki over his FTR750.
The race had the feel of exhibition, but not for the racers chasing a medal. There was one sour note, Brad Baker's heat crash. Coming off turn 2 his FTR750 got airborne, landed, tankslapped and threw him over the bars. As you can see from the video above, the track was short, speeds were low, but the crash was awkward and Baker was taken to hospital. Rumours we heard later than he had a spinal injury BUT we must say these are only rumours, information is very scare. Brad's brother Scott, posted he was 'awake and alert'.
We wish Brad the best of luck and our thoughts are with his family and friends.