Taka Higashino wins FMX High Rollers

Brett Wilhelm/ESPN

From left to right: Levi Sherwood (third place), Taka Higashino (first place) and Adam Jones (second place).

There are two types of tricks in freestyle motocross competitions: those that are good under perfect weather conditions, and those that are doable when the winds are too high but the show must go on.

Today in Las Vegas, at the Monster Energy FMX High Rollers competition, the show had to go on, and with it came the more conservative, "less dangerous" approaches to FMX riding.

As Freestyle Motocross got underway early on Saturday, with winds gusting up to 20 mph, the approach for most of the riders in the field was to transform their competition runs into a one-way directional trick contest with the wind at their backs, including veteran riders such as Javier Villegas, Jarry McNeil and Nate Adams.

But all that changed when Taka Higashino took to the course. Higashino faced the wind, rode the course in its entirety while landing more tricks than any other rider, and catapulted himself to the top of the start list after the end of round 1. Then, rather than rest on his laurels, Higashino came back for run 2 to best his previous score, winning the event with a final score of 92.33.

"I almost crashed on the second run, but I'm glad I landed clean and finished," said Higahino.

Following close behind Higahino was second place finisher Adam Jones with a 90.33, and third place finisher Levi Sherwood with an 89.33. Both of those riders followed Higashino's lead and transformed the one-trick approach into an overall FMX course, separating the top three from the remainder of the field.

  1. 1. Take Higashino 92.33

  2. 2. Adam Jones 90.33

  3. 3. Levi Sherwood 89.33

  4. 4. Javier Villegas 84.33

  5. 5. Jackson Strong 79.00

Dirt Sharks Best Whip

In Dirt Sharks' Best Whip, Tom Parsons took the final win, followed by Jarryd McNeil in second and Destin Cantrell in third place. The final event of the day, Best Whip followed the direction of the wind and managed to go off without too much of an interference from the shifting winds surrounding Las Vegas.

  1. 1. Tom Parsons

  2. 2. Jarryd McNeil

  3. 3. Destin Cantrell

Brett Wilhelm/ESPN

This is how Saturday at Monster Energy's FMX High Rollers competition kicked off, and this is what happens even when it's windy outside.

Quarterpipe High Jump

While most of Las Vegas was either still in bed or just getting their morning coffee, the Monster Energy FMX High Rollers competition kicked off on Saturday morning with the debut of Quarterpipe High Jump at the Sam Boyd Stadium.

Originally scheduled to run midday, the competition was moved to an earlier start because of high winds in the vicinity. And when a 200 lb. dirt bike is flying 30-feet in the air, that's definitely a safe bet to make.

In the end, Australian Jarryd McNeil took the win with a quarter pipe air height of 15'2", even after dislocating a finger and popping it back in during the course of competition. McNeil's approach to Quarterpipe Big Air, a relatively new field in the realm of FMX, was to carve almost the entire width of the landing before reeling it back in, which when done under 20 mph wind gusts, is not easy.

Finishing behind McNeil was Axell Hodges with a height of 15'0" and Kris Foster with a height of 12'7".

  1. 1. Jarry McNeil 15'2"

  2. 2. Axell Hodges 15'0"

  3. 3. Kris Foster 12'0"

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