It was Scotty Lago’s (USA) Toyota Big Air debut and he built on his good form in
yesterday’s training by defeating defending champion and countryman Chas Guldemond (USA). Antoine Truchon (Canada) and two time TBA winner Eero Ettala (Finland) share 3rd place.
Scotty won with a switch backside 10. “It was a little corky, I wouldn’t call it a double cork, I would call it a late cork.” Speaking at the press conference, Scotty said he was not a fierce competitor and that the Toyota Big Air was only the second big contest he had won as a pro. “Coming here I had no expectations, I was overwhelmed by the crowds and how awesome the Big Air is. I was nervous in the beginning, but gained my confidence and started getting comfortable with the jump”.
Riders’ confidence was also boosted by the good conditions inside Sapporo Dome. The TBA used to be held in an outside stadium and everyone agreed that the new venue was perfect.
“It’s warmer here, so the landing is much softer. And I can wear light comfortable clothes. It improves your confidence not having to stress about the weather,” said Eero Ettala, who has won the TBA in 2005 and 2009. Chas Guldemond agreed: “This morning was so windy, I was really glad we could ride inside the Dome. Having the event in the dome made it bigger and better. Especially for the fans it’s really important to be in a comfortable environment.”
And indeed, the new location attracted a lot more spectators than in previous years.
Officials say it has been the biggest crowd in the 15-year history of the event with 36,000 spectators in the Dome in the last two days. All riders praised the atmosphere and fan-support and said the TBA was one of the most enjoyable competitions.
“At the Toyota Big Air riders are having fun, everyone is smiling and enjoying themselves. It’s not like that at all the contests. I hope the event will happen again in the Dome next year. Indoor is more fun than outside.”
Rookie Antoine had no comparison but said he was just happy to be in Japan, winning third place.
“ It is my first time in Japan, and the first time in an inside Big Air is awesome. As a super rookie I could not expect anything better.”
Chas said he didn’t mind being in second place, for him it was all about the atmosphere: “We had a great rider feel and 36,000 people, wow! It’s the biggest event in Japan and I am stoked to be part of it.”
Scotty Lago takes home 25,000 US dollars and a brand new hybrid Toyota Aqua car, Chas Guldemond bagged 13,000 US dollars and Antoine Truchon and Eero Ettala both earned 9,000.