One of the biggest stories of the day was the arrival on the scene of Japan’s Hironobu Nakano, 29, battling in his first GKA contest. He stormed to the quarter-final with a victory in his first round that took down former world champion Valentin Rodriguez (COL).
In his quarter-final the Japanese rider scored highly, but made a tactical error as he had failed to tick off the various trick families in his four counting scores, which ended his run.
“The conditions were quite difficult and I was quite nervous,” said Nakano. “But I was happy when I landed my tricks. This is my first competition and I didn’t know what to expect. But I’m pleased. It’s amazing.”
France’s Arthur Guillebert, a former freestyle world champion, opened his account quietly, easing to victory in his opening heat in front of his home fans. But in the quarter-final he put his foot on the gas and racked up a big heat score, 31.97 from a possible 40, that included an 8.67 Heart Attack 7 and an 8.40 313 to Blind.
Another Frenchman Valentin Garat, returning from injury ,was not quite as explosive. But he fought his way to the quarter-finals, where his win secured him a place in the upcoming semi-finals. Fellow-countryman Louka Pitot, ranked third overall, was not so lucky when his run was ended in the quarter-finals.
Egypt’s Karim Mahmoud started big in the day’s first heat, sending him straight to the quarter-final, where he won with a total score of 25.33 that included 7.30 for a Slim to Blind that sent Valentin Rodriguez home.