Aspen, Colo. - Talk about a grueling race to the finish line. The Snow BikeCross event at X Games Aspen 2018 turned into a test of endurance under overcast skies on the challenging course at Buttermilk Mountain. Battling poor visibility and treacherous ice patches, Monster Energy’s Kody Kamm claimed a podium spot with a strong Bronze medal finish in a 20-lap final race. This marks the third X Games medal for the 23-year-old from Kenosha, WI, who shared today’s podium with Canadians Brock Hoyer (Silver) and Cody Matechuk (Gold).
Now in its second year as an official X Games event, Snow BikeCross attracts snowmobile racers and motocross athletes looking to trade dirt tracks for snow dust. Riders compete on motocross bikes transformed into snow bikes via custom conversion kits featuring rear-mounted track drives and skis for steering.
Designed by Snow Park Technologies, this year’s Snow BikeCross course challenged riders straight out the gate with a tight and narrow 180-degree right-hand turn near the starting position. After threading the needle and battling for an early lead, racers had to navigate a series of technical moguls and steep turns, ending each lap with a huge jump near the finish line.
Today’s heavily contested qualifiers narrowed the pack of 20 competitors to 12 finalists in two heats of 10 laps each. The formula for staying ahead of the pack consisted of building an early lead and finding a safe line away from the hidden patches of ice that spread across the course as the race continued. The ice took out one of the top seeds of today’s race, four-time Monster Energy Super Cross winner Ryan Villopoto, who walked away unscathed from a crash but missed the final.
Making the cut into the 20-lap final race, Monster Energy’s Kamm, Keaton Ward, Axell Hodges and Josh Hill found themselves facing heavy competition, plus worsening track conditions and low visibility. Right from the start, Cody Matechuk edged into the lead, which he maintained all the way to the finish despite a fall on the 13th lap. Although a grueling 20 laps in length, the race saw minimal movement between positions, as Brock Hoyer also commanded his second place from start to finish. Battling from behind, Kamm managed to lock in third place halfway through the final, ultimately finishing 22 seconds behind Matechuk’s 11:42.981 winning time.
Upon earning Bronze in Aspen today, Kamm said, “The switch from Snowmobile SnoCross to Snow Bike is definitely crazy. Even motocross to Snow Bike is a huge step. I’ve been riding the Snow Bike pretty much every day back home preparing for this. I’m still killing it at the snocross races, but I wanted to be ready for X Games—and it paid off.”
Today’s Bronze marks Kamm’s third career Winter X Games medal after winning Silver in Snowmobile SnoCross at X Games Aspen 2015 and 2014. When Kamm learned that Snowmobile SnoCross would not be contested this year—the event was replaced by Snowmobile Speed & Style—he instantly called his sponsor for a snow bike conversion kit and began training.
His motivation was rewarded in December 2017 when he took second place at the X Games Snow BikeCross qualifier in Elk River, MN, after only five days total riding a snow bike.