Monster Jam

Mike Vaters II Scores Saturday Freestyle Victory

2015 Monster Jam World Freestyle Champion Mike Vaters II put together his best Toronto run to date en route to picking up the freestyle victory on Saturday night at the Rogers Centre.

From the first hit to his last move, the Overkill Evolution truck soared through the air as Vaters II did not hold back throughout his entire performance. He would come off high no matter the jump hit, sometimes completely clearing some of the table tops in the process. Combined with a small save mid-run and perfect backflip, the fans gladly gave him a score of 9.686 to take home the victory.

Jon Zimmer (Dragon) was right there with him, though, also performing a perfect backflip combined with huge air throughout his run. Though with Vaters II coming off a couple of the jumps higher, it showed in the scores as Zimmer got a 9.322.

Saturday night’s show in Toronto may have been the first for Haley Gauley (Scooby Doo), but her on-track ability did not resemble a rookie. She got good height off several of the jumps, and even managed to put the truck back on its wheels despite coming off a jump on two. However, what set her run apart was the save mid-run where her truck looked to be going over, upside down on its nose with the back tires in the air, and she was able to bring it back upright. With the best save of the night, she earned a 8.943 from the fans.

Ryan Anderson (Son-Uva Digger) came fourth on the board, as he started off nice with a great amount of air and a small bicycle maneuver, but rolled over with 50 (of 120) seconds remaining on the clock following a failed back flip.

BJ Johnson (Gas Monkey) rounded out the top-five after he put together the first donuts and slap wheelie of freestyle competition, combined with a decent amount of air – but not as much as the top-two.

For fans, it was disappointing to see defending World Finals Freestyle Champion Lee O’Donnell (VP Mad Scientist) unable to complete a full run. He performed a single jump, before a broken truck sent him off the track with 110 seconds left. Ultimately, five trucks in total failed to complete the full freestyle clock, with Mat Dishman (Rammnunition) unable to run at all.

Beginning last year, Monster Jam implemented a fan judging system which sees every fan in the stadium who has a phone or tablet take part in the voting. Following the driver’s run, each fan has 40 seconds to score it anywhere from one to 10, with the average of everyone combined becoming the driver’s score.

The system has come into question on numerous occasions, regarding whether it’s fair or a valid way to score the competitors. When it came to Saturday night, the freestyle competition saw the fans crown the correct winner overall – despite the scores being higher than what I would’ve given. The chart below showcases all of the drivers scores in order given by me, followed by all the drivers scores in order given by the fans.

Please note Hotsy’s score was not recorded due to not catching it amongst other distractions. His run was a mid-pack performance, though.

Myself Fans
Hotsy N/A Hotsy N/A
Overkill Evolution 8.5 Overkill Evolution 9.686
Dragon 7.5 Dragon 9.322
Scooby Doo 7.5 Scooby Doo 8.943
Grave Digger 7.25 Son-uva Digger 8.902
Gas Monkey 7 Gas Monkey 8.723
Son-uva Digger 7 Grave Digger 8.183
Barbarian 5 Bounty Hunter 6.614
Bounty Hunter 4 Barbarian 4.925
Black Stallion 3.75 Black Stallion 4.589
Xtreme Diesel 2.5 Iron Outlaw 4.192
Iron Outlaw 2 Xtreme Diesel 3.014
VP Mad Scientist 1 VP Mad Scientist 2.46
Rammunition 0 Rammunition 0

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