Buell and Harley-Davidson professional rider leads the way
After a nail-biting freestyle shoot-out Buell Motorcycles’ professional extreme rider Craig Jones was crowned 2002 European Motorcycle Stunt Champion last weekend. Judges from 10 different countries had been unable to separate Jones from his old adversary Kevin Carmichael, and ordered both men to complete another freestyle riding programme. Under intense pressure Jones delivered the best programme and lifted the championship.
Over 20,000 motorcycle enthusiasts converged on the Czech Republic for the 2002 European Stunt Championship and witnessed 60 of the world's finest extreme riders (representing 10 countries) compete for the coveted European title. After a tough qualifying competition involving freestyle and compulsory technical elements, just 12 riders made it through to the final. Jones and Carmichael finished dead-level and then battled it out for the championship laurels.
Craig rides exclusively for Buell American Motorcycles and Harley-Davidson and was understandably delighted to have won the championship and believes his strategy of riding 'two-up' with his passenger Wing Chui might have provided him with the decisive edge.
"Wing has been working with me since I turned professional and we've developed an intuitive partnership that allows us to push things to the absolute limit on the Buell X1 Lightning," said Jones.
"I think we got the crowd on their feet at vital moments during the competition with a couple of extreme manoeuvres. We performed a front wheel 'stoppie' that involved Wing hanging from the front bars and placing his head on the tarmac whilst we were still moving at high speed. Wing wore a motocross style helmet with a titanium modified peak, thus producing sparks as proof of ground contact."
The motorcycles Craig used in the championship played a key part in his victory.
"The Buell X1 Lightning is an awesome motorcycle that copes with everything that I throw at it. I also used a specially prepared Harley-Davidson FXDX Dyna Super Glide Sport with Screamin' Eagle performance parts that really deliver the power."
Craig, from Birmingham in the UK, admits that taking part in this year's championship was a close run thing after he damaged his wrist a fortnight before the event. He has also been undergoing laser and ultrasound treatment to speed the recovery.
"I used several cans of painkiller spray to make sure the wrist held up during the championship and my body could now do with a short break from competition. However, I've got a busy season ahead of me and I'll be back on my Buell on July 28 to entertain the crowds at the World Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch in England."
This year's championship, which was held at a military base near the town of Bechyne in the Czech Republic, attracted riders from as far afield as Brazil as well as a strong contingent of local Czech stunt riders. Craig believes the growing popularity of serious competition will have a positive impact on his profession as it is encouraging riders to be even more creative, athletic and daring:
"The riding standards were exceptionally high. A large number of competitors were very strong in the technical disciplines with very precise handling control. We also saw some outrageous examples of skill in the freestyle competition. This means that you'll see some increasingly spectacular performances from the stunt riding community.
"The guys representing the Eastern European countries deserve a special mention as they're relatively new to the sport and don't always get access to sponsorship. There's some serious talent in Hungary and the Czech Republic and they'll be a force to be reckoned with in the near future."
Tyler Wright contributes and publishes news editorial to http://www.all-motorcycle-helmets.com.
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