Max-D Best in Osaka Opener
Intermittent rain showers could not dampen the enthusiasm of Monster Jam® fans in Osaka, Japan, who cheered loudly for their favorites on a Tuesday afternoon in May. The show, contested on a specially constructed track on a former airfield, marked the first-ever appearance of Monster Jam in the second largest city in this nation.
After four hours of a pre-show festival, which drew early crowds, the gates opened to the stadium-type setting as fans settled into their seats. As the Monster Jam trucks prepared to hit the track, the rain showers began, but this didn’t chase anyone from their seats. The hearty fans donned ponchos and rain protective gear and settled in to enjoy Monster Jam Racing, won by Neil Elliott in Max-D™.
The racing victory gave Team Max-D the first point in the competition and the lead was expanded by an additional half-point with a heat racing win by the Team Max-D rider in the ATV competition. Team Hot Wheels™ gained a half point with a win in the other ATV preliminary to get onto the board.
Wheelie action saw several rollovers as the slickened track proved to be a challenge. The puzzle was solved by Coty Saucier for Team Monster Energy®, who scored the victory and put the team on the board with one point.
After a brief intermission, it was back to action and the challenge of the Donuts competition. Team Max-D edged Team Monster Energy for a critical point in the standings, but there was still plenty of competition remaining.
The ATV main event was won by Team Dragon™, earning one point for this squad as half of the teams were now on the board. All that remained was Freestyle, which carried two points in the competition, meaning anyone with points still had a shot at the championship.
Thanks to the efforts of the crews, all eight Monster Jam trucks were able to compete in Freestyle and the competition was tight. The first three trucks were separated by a single point at the top of the leaderboard until Max-D blasted to the top with a 29. Monster Energy was waiting in the wings, knowing that the only hopes for a championship was a score higher than Max-D’s 29. The judges saw the run as a 24, giving Max-D the event championship, but the action was not over. Team Grave Digger® came on track with Jon Zimmer out to give the green-and-black faithful a Freestyle to remember. The effort was enough to move the two points to the Team Grave Digger camp.
“This is so awesome,” said Elliott of capturing the first-ever Osaka championship. “We really appreciate these fans staying here with us and spending their hard-earned money to support us.”
The victory adds to an impressive international record for Elliott, who has now won racing championships in Australia, Europe and Central America in addition to many titles in the U.S.
Two more events remain in Osaka and hopes run strong in all camps that the teams can join Elliott and Max-D in the winner’s circle. Check with www.monsterjam.com for upcoming results as they become available.