It's that time of year again, when hordes of stunt riders and stunt fansfrom around the globe pack their suitcases and trailers and make the trek tothe small town of Lakeland, Florida for the annual Stuntwars event. The 2006running (held over the weekend of February 10-12) was a history-makingmoment, with three world champion stunters (A.C. Farias from Spain, ChristianPfeiffer from Germany and Hungary's Feri Potzner) making the trip to competealongside the best (and a few of the worst) stunt riders America has tooffer.
The event kicked off with open practice on Friday the 10th, when riderstraveling from the colder climates were blessed with near perfect, 70-degreetemperatures. The practice sessions were limited to competitors only thisyear, reducing the overcrowding that hampered the practice day time previousyears--appreciated by all, though the same can't be said for the crackdown on50cc pit bikes that kept them out of commission all weekend.
Saturday the 11th was set aside for qualifying, and the entire day wasneeded, as more than 100 riders attempting to qualify for the 20 open spotsfor Sunday's individual freestyle competition. Qualifying for this eventwrapped up just before clouds rolled in and a downpour began, forcingorganizers to cancel the rest of the day's events, including longest endoqualifying. The unseasonably cold, 40-degree temperatures that followed thestorm front, along with a brace of police with a low tolerance for insanity,put a bit of a damper on the after-dark antics that Stuntwars has becomefamous for. Mayhem still broke out occasionally, but for the most part itwas a calm, cold night.
The main events on Sunday got a late start, which didn't bode well for theday's packed schedule. Conditions were challenging to say the least, withovercast skies, 50-degree temps, a cold, dirty track and 30 mph wind guststhat combined to see even America's best struggle basic circles and stoppies.Poor organization and an inability to deal with arising situations (such asthe terrible conditions that made the longest endo contest particularlydangerous), coupled with a spate of crashes that left oil and antifreeze onthe track surface lead to delays, and by the time the sun set the longestendo contest was barely over and the highly anticipated team and sickesttrick competitions hadn't even begun. As the sun set, a failure in the tracklighting system caused the final two events to be moved to the far end ofthe track, in the shut-down area. By this time it was well after 7 pm, andthousands of spectators had left for the night. To say that thecompetitors (many who had traveled for dozens of hours and worked for weeksperfecting precisely choreographed team routines or particularly dangeroussick tricks) were disappointed with this situation was an understatement.
In the end, the riding at Stuntwars was brilliant. Christian Pfeiffer'swinning individual freestyle run (heck, all of the top five individual runs)were amazing and the Urban Streetbike Warrior/Black Sheep Squadron's Teamrun looked like something straight out of the Universal Studio's Theme Park,but the bottom line is that this "World Class" stunt event was greatlyhampered by third-world facilities and organization. If Stuntwars wants tomaintain it's reputation and build off of the momentum built up in 2006, tokeep attracting the best stunt talent from around the world, it needs anupdate to a deserving facility, riding surface and organizational structure.
Look forward to extensive coverage of Stuntwars 2006 in the June issue ofSuper Streetbike, in the meantime, enjoy these photos that we brought backwith us.
Unofficial 2006 Results:
**Longest Stoppie: **
1-Melissa the Blonde Bomber and A.C. Farias
2-Bill Dixon and Gixxie
**Team Event: **
Urban Streetbike Warriors/Black Sheep Squadron
**Sickest Trick: **