Benalla freestyle motocross rider Rob Adelberg has again signalled his world class status, claiming X games gold in Minneapolis, United States, earlier this month.
The 31-year-old took out the freestyle motocross event with a score of 92.33 ahead of fellow Australians Josh Sheehan and Jackson Strong who placed second and third respectively.
But it wasn’t until he completed his second run that Adelberg knew he had it in the bag.
“In the first run, on the second jump, I rushed it a little,” Adelberg said.
“I wasn’t able to execute it.
“Then the clutch got stuck and I couldn’t engage it, so I wasn’t able to keep a nice flow.''
Despite some nerves ahead of his second run, Adelberg said he was “more determined than ever to be perfect,” with Sheehan’s 90 the score to beat.
“From the first jump to the last trick, it went exactly how I wanted,” Adelberg said.
“And I was pretty sure no-one was going to beat that.”
With only one competitor left to ride, Adelberg knew before the final score was given that he had the gold medal, after the rider made a mistake in his run.
And the win was as sweet as he’d imagined.
“It was a lot of hard work, so just to do the run how I wanted to was awesome,” he said.
“It was a pat on the back, to feel like all the hard work was worth it.”
The win is Adelberg’s fourth X Games gold medal, but his first in the freestyle motocross discipline.
After winning best trick in Sydney in 2018, as well as claiming Snow Bike Best Trick in Aspen, US, in 2018 before defending the same event a year later, his latest title was more than two years in the making.
“This has been a personal goal of mine,” Adelberg said.
“I was strategical and added three front flip variations for my jump. I know front flips always prevail.
“If I could add more variations, I knew I could be successful.”
Australia brought home the most gold medals on any country at the meet, taking out seven first place finishes in its total of 14 medals.
Adelberg said it was hard to pinpoint why Australia was so dominant on the world stage, but did give credit to riders who came before him.
“Growing up, we would see the top guys come out of the US, and we wanted to be on their level,” he said.
“For me personally, as soon as I went overseas I was on the level to consistently throw tricks.
“And then to come back to Australia, they (fellow Australians) wanted to be on that level, so we push each other.
“A few years later we’re on the top. Once we got the gist, we took over.”
But not everything went Adelberg’s way in Minneapolis and he finished fourth in Best Trick after his runs didn’t go to plan.
“The ramp was moved around, and it didn’t feel like the day before,” he said.
“I was struggling to get the rotations off to do the trick.”
Adelberg crashed out in his first run, while in the second he couldn’t take his hands off the bike.
That disappointment will be driving him when he competes again for Best Trick in Norway at the end of August.
“I’ll definitely be looking to make up from Minneapolis,” Adelberg said.
“I got best trick in Sydney, so I know my trick can be the best trick on the day.''
The goal is to complete a front flip with no hands, before landing with no hands.
Adelberg said this hadn’t yet been done with the front flip, and he would continue to train this specific trick and work on his rotations in the lead-up to the event.
Currently touring around Australia, you can also see Adelberg in action with the Crusty Demons.
Adelberg would like to thank his family and everyone who has supported him locally.
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