LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The top extreme sports stars in the nation will invade downtown Los Angeles on Thursday for the 17th annual “X Games”.

Starting at noon, a few hundred athletes will jump on bikes, skateboards, motorcycles and rally cars during four days of intense competition at L.A. Live.

KNX 1070’s Jon Baird reports on one of the changes to this year’s competition that includes a three-quarter-mile long race through the streets of downtown Los Angeles.

Rally cars will be roaring through downtown at speeds of up to 115 miles an hour and can launch from zero to 60 m.p.h. in about two seconds.

“It’s door-to-door banging, and the cars have 600 horsepower, so there’s messing around when it comes to it,” said driver Joseph Burke.

In two of the events, racers must include one traditional Rally Joker lap, where drivers must launch their cars over a 52-foot dirt-to-dirt gap jump.

“There’s no ground beneath you, so if you miss the jump and someone comes below the jump at the same time, you might land on top of them,” said Burke.

After being held in Rhode Island, San Diego, San Francisco and Philadelphia over their first eight years, the X Games have been held annually at various Los Angeles County venues since 2003 and will return next year.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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