Chris “Teach” McNeil gives you the inside scoop from his latest victory at this year’s Stuntwars competition in Lakeland, Florida.
By Chris McNeil
Held in Lakeland, Florida, Stuntwars is considered by many to be the single biggest stunt riding event in the country. The event is internationally attended and continues to attract the eye of the industry insiders. My personal history at Stuntwars is rather dismal and littered with injuries which have prevented me form competing, including 3 broken vertebrae and a torn ACL.
I had high expectations this year and was feeling confident in my riding, although I was disappointed that I wouldn’t be riding my new BMW F800’s due to some essential parts which were not available in time. With my move to California from New Hampshire 5 months ago, I had no winter weather excuses and the pressure was on!
After a ridiculously long and uneventful drive from San Francisco to Florida with my fellow competitor, Kane Friesen, we arrived on Monday ready to get to work. I had flipped a stoppie the day before we left so my bike was in shambles and I had to have some parts shipped in to tighten the machine up. We hit the track all day Tuesday through Thursday and got a chance to adapt to the surface and work on some of our moves.
I had a few close calls during Friday practice when I hit the wall in a switchback headstand (a headstand while facing backwards at 45 mph!); and then was hit by another rider while I was doing an endo, nearly resulting in a serious head injury. Thanks to my Scorpion helmet and Shift gear for keeping me safe and sound – I was able to get back on the bike and ride with no injuries only an hour later.
Saturday’s qualifying was great. 3 minutes is like taking a nap for me and I nailed my run flawlessly and ended up the #1 qualifier for Sunday’s main event. Sunday called for intermittent showers, but the rain appeared to be holding off all morning. I was more nervous than I usually am but was feeling confident and felt like I was the guy to beat.
Unlike XDL Championship events, the running order is not determined by your score, so I was set to run 3rd out of 12. I did my introductions and as I sped in for my first pass, the run was called and the rain began. After a 2 hour rain delay we had no choice but to ride in the wet conditions – something I’ve won in before but was not excited about. I was up first after the rain and the track was drying, but not nearly fast enough. In the end I had the wettest track of the day and it definitely put a damper on my aggressive and reckless style.
However, I came out swinging and vowed that I would “win or crash going for it”, starting off with a nice series of acrobatics. The track was slick and I had some difficulty with the painted lines; but my Maxxis tires hooked up well and I was able to keep it rubber side down. The competition was fierce and I had a little luck on my side as Bill D and Christian Pfeiffer had crashes that took them out of the top spot. In the end, I came out on top by 3 points or so, continuing my domination of the U.S. competition circuit.
You can catch me next at the 2007 XDL National Championship in Long Beach, CA on March 22nd.