On Thursday, Joe Parsons didn't have much reason to smile after getting bounced out of the medals in Snowmobile Freestyle. On Friday, after winning his second Speed & Style gold medal, he had plenty. With a strong set of flip tricks and speed left over from his days racing snocross professionally, Parsons beat his close friend Heath Frisby to earn his seventh Winter X Snowmobile medal and his third gold. The medal ties him for third with Levi LaVallee on the all-time list, a fact that caused Parsons some disbelief. "It means I feel old now," he said. "I just turned 23 and that's like old age. When I'm older and can hang them up and look at what I've accomplished, it will be really cool. Right now, I just want more."
Speed & Style returned to Winter X with a new head-to-head format after a one-year hiatus, and the new format proved to be a success. Three of the final four races were close until the very finish. Parsons' semifinal was against Cory Davis, a fast national snocross racer with a Speed & Style bronze from 2009 who is recovering from an ankle injury. Davis had no inverted tricks and stretched a big lead on the final two laps but needed two more seconds if he was going to beat Parsons.
Frisby, who was the number one seed at the start of the night, felt he might need something new for the final. He riveted a set of foot straps to the running boards of his sled to perform no-handed backflips, a trick Parsons was already throwing. It helped Frisby beat Daniel Bodin in the semifinal, but backfired in the final when one of the straps got stuck and prevented him from fully extending on the trick. "It pretty much cost me the medal," he admitted afterward.
Despite the botched flip, Frisby still beat Parsons on style points with a Tsunami flip and an Indian Air Super flip. Parsons landed his own no-handed backflip, a Super flip, and a Nac Nac flip. At the finish, Parsons only needed to win by four seconds, but bested Frisby by over seven. "I was just stoked to be one-two with Friby, because that was our dream final, having grown up together and being good buds," Parson said.
Bodin, who had never raced a snowmobile in his life, learned what arm pump was during practice, and the course was clearly a lot to handle for the first-time racer. A clear favorite in the style section of the scoring, Bodin nevertheless was beaten by over 24 seconds by Davis, who earned his second bronze medal.