Moto X Freestyle canceled because of wind
BARCELONA, Spain -- A highly anticipated Moto X Freestyle three-peat attempt by Japan's Taka Higashino met overnight rain Friday and high winds Saturday at X Games Barcelona, forcing officials to cancel the contest.
After steady rain Friday night, course experts worked on the jumps and landings throughout the day on Saturday to make it contestable, but as time arrived to start the event, high winds picked up.
"Due to high winds, the Moto X Freestyle competition was changed to a demo," read a statement released by ESPN shortly thereafter. "The health and safety of our athletes is a top priority."
High winds can be dangerous for freestyle motocross riders performing backflip variations and other elite-level tricks.
Moto X Freestyle competition is scheduled to return to X Games next month at X Games Munich in Germany.
Last month in Brazil at X Games Foz, the 28-year-old Higashino won his second consecutive gold medal, following his win at X Games Los Angeles in 2012.
In Barcelona, the Japanese rider was facing Friday's Moto X Speed & Style bronze medalist Nate Adams, who has claimed seven Moto X Freestyle medals, two of them gold.
France's Thomas Pages has also been on a competitive roll of late as the points leader in this season's Red Bull X-Fighters contest tour.
Also on the X Games Barcelona Moto X Freestyle roster was Spain's Dany Torres, running just behind Pages in the X-Fighter rankings. Torres claimed the bronze in this event in Los Angeles in 2011. Another standout Spaniard, 25-year-old Maikel Melero, was going to make his X Games debut Saturday night.
According to event organizers, the contest's prize purse will be split evenly among the 10 invited athletes.