|Date: march 22-23, 1986.|
Place: Velodrome, California.
|Freestylin july 1986: Rain is psych. It can kill. The first few drops that fall to the ground are ignored. The session still rages on. Soon the ground is wet and tires become slick. Rust will occur if the session proceeds. Time to go into the house and watch the surface of your ramp absorb the precipitation that now pounds it.
The most lonely boring feeling in the entire world is sitting in your house on a sunday alone, watching The rain soak your driveway and ramp. Truly
devastating. The only thing worse is waking up Monday morning and finding the same thing.
l wonder how many tirnes God has been cursed by freestylers because of rain? Rain was designed to stop freestylers. Then man designed parking garages to stop rain. Then God created security guards.
lt was March of 1986. The AFA Masters Series was scheduled to begin this month at the Olympic Cycling Velodrome on the 15th and 16th. Plans were being made, plane reservations were being booked... everyone was psyched.
March 11. The first few drops were ignored.
March 12. They cou|dnt be ignored anymore -they were still falling.
March 13. More rain. Morales let out the word... no contest. No rain location. Postponement. Depression.
it was rescheduled for the following ,weekend, same place. The last minute shuffling caused a few to miss lt. Pros included. Martin Aparijo was in Florida doing shows. Teammates Dennis Langlais and Chris Lashua had show commitments in Texas and were unable to fly out. Ron Wilton was in meetings with Schwinn in Chicago. Ron Wilkerson bareiy made it because of ciinic dates in the east. After a little reshuffling on hls part, he made it back in time to compete.
By March 21, the date move had been long forgotten by most. Time to think about the contest the next day.
March 22, Saturday. The novices and intermediates went for the gold. The ,weather cooperated -it was almost TOO hot. Smog ridden. The Velodrome was introduced to all. The perfect place for a freestyle contest although the spectator count was low. Probably had a lot to do with the day change. Of course, it might have been an illusion caused by the size of the place -it's pretty big.
Only one quarter-pipe and small ramp. No canyon jumps or variety. The small ramp was junk -the middle support was broken and it sagged like crazy.
Bernard Schiender came all the way from Germany to waste his counterparts in the 16&over Intermediate ground class. Bernard is a GOOD freeslyler. Aside from having one of the coolest tunes of the day (a Toy Dolls song), rumblings were heard in the pits that he had won a couple of pro contests overseas.
Sean Wilkerson rode the 16&Over lnterrnediate class and took the overall. lf the iast name seems famiiiar, its because he's Ron's little brother. They look \/ERY similar.
March 23-Sunday Expert and pro day. A lot more turnouts in terms of riders AND spectators on this day. Still only one quarter-pipe, but the small ramp was switched for a good one.
A few of Saturdays novices and intermediates became experts on Sunday and rode again. There was no set way to determine which class riders should start in as far as ability goes, so there were a few intermediates who seemed as though they should have been experts and vice versa.
The expert action was as intense as usual. Here were some of the more notable happenings and finishes of the day. ..
- One three-minute run was all the riders got. No second run, no finals -just one run. it was all or nothing when you hit the floor.
- A LOT of talent from Northern California. Marc McKee is one to watch. The Rothe brothers were incredible -Karl rides
for Hutch and Chris rides a GHP uniform and bike. They tied in 16&Over X and went for a one minute run-off. lt was GNARLY. Flawless runs by both. Karl took third. Chrls was fourth.
- Greg Koves music. It was a dance tune mixed by his uncle -it had snatches of dialog from a TV interview with Woody and Martin mixed in with the music. Real cool.
- The crowd response to Dlzz... nuts. Tied for fifth on ground. and got seventh on the ramps.
- Overall audience response wasn't exactly what you'd call Super Bowl type. Had to have been the lack of crowd. The CW heckllng crew helped though.
- Craig Grasso's haircut. He got nlnth on the ground, tied with Nor. Cal's Marc McKee. These two guys are pretty solid riders -that shows you how tough the competition is getting.
- Brett Hemandez looked great. Great enough to pull a second in one of the hardest classes around -16&Over Expert Ground. Trevor was sick and didn't make it out.
- Lots of different riding styles on the ground.
- Eddie Romans one-footed track stand was impressive. He tied Wobbly Bob l\/lcClary and George Conjamie for eighth, flatland.
- There were lots of ties ln the final results.
- George Conjamies handstand gut levers are bionic. He had a "sponsor needed" jersey on. Hint, hint.
- Shinglehead was on the verge of NOT even riding until El Cid gave him a pep talk. He rode, he jelled, he finished 13th. Oh well, I suppose we'I| keep him on the staff anyways.
- Robbie Van Patten was blasting airs in the 13&Under Expert ramp class. ld never seen anyone that young getting that far out. Too nuts.
- Robert Peterson and Rich Sigur were out of town on the Rad Tour.
- Everyone had been talking about how good Joson Parkes was looking DAYS before the contest. Well, they weren't lying. He shredded. First in 16 &Over Expert.
- Rumor had it that an NBC camera crew was wondering around shooting.
- Hugo's brother, Oscar Gonzales rode 14-15 Expert Air. Another brother replica -uniform, style, the whole bit.
- Brian Belcher was rad. Make that, IS rad. He tore lt up on the ramps AND the ground in 14-15 Expert. Two flrsts AND the overall. Hes from Kansas Clty and is a good friend of Dennis McCoy. He looked pretty stoked carrying away three massive trophies. Good job.
- The security guards had bull horns. And they liked to use them.
- 16&Over Expert Air is getting to be what you might consider a breeding ground for future pro aerlallsts. These guys JAM. Tony Murrays aerial attack was awe-inspiring enough to get him the win -again. He hlts SO many variations it blows your mind. Murray's friends Dave Voelker and Tony Adams blew a few minds too. In fact, Voelker pulled a second right behind Murray -3/10ths of a polnt away! I overheard someone say he thought Dave wouldve won if he weren't an unknown" Hmmm. Oh, and add Murray and Voelker to the I do 540 airs" list.
- Torker's Dale Perez slammed his knee on a fly-out. A trip to the hospital was the result and he was out of commission for the day-and probably longer. You could say Torker had abad luck weekend. Todd Davls slammed on Saturday and tweaked his knee too. Frank Garrido was detuned and bogged.
- Rick Mollterno was as smooth as glass on the ground and surprising ln the air. He took the overall in 16 & Over X. This guy ls HOT. He moved to Kansas City, Missouri recently -home of McCoy and Belcher. You could say Kansas Clty has its fair share of talent.
- Colorado's Chuck Johnson does the fastest rockwalks known to man. His one-handed front wheel 720's aren't too bad either. Second in 16&Over Intermediate flat on Saturday and seventh in 16&Over Expert on Sunday.
The pro ground class had a few new members. Count Pete Augustin, Dennis McCoy and Maurice Meyer in as pros now. The rest of the pro ground class included Dave Nourie, Woody ltson, R. L. Osborn, Oleg Konings, Eddie Fiola, Ron Wilkerson, Fred Blood, and Rick Allison.
Pro ground highlights? You bet...
One five-minute run each. Very demanding.
Pete Augustin was first up. For his first contest as a pro, he dldnt look nervous. People were impressed. imagine a front wheel 540 while doing hops and dangling a leg out in the breeze. Pete does them. Give him a couple more contests and he'll be placing hlgher. We hope he can wait that long.
The same goes for the likes of Rick Allison, who made his debut on a Mongoose. He's improved quite a bit lately. He started his routine off with a front-wheel acid drop off the crowd railing. Smoothly l might add. Sixth place.
Mr. Blood. What can we say? The showman. Tenth.
The first half of Wilkerson's run was flawless-he dldnt touch once. Then he lost lt. He told us later that at the halfway point he started feeling the fatigue from the clinics hed been doing the day before. "l started thinking, Man, l'm tired. How am l gonna pull these moves off'?' "Ron wound up ninth, which he wasn't too happy with -but he wasn't smoldering either. The ramps were yet to come.
Maurice Meyer pulled an eighth just in front of Wilkerson. Somehow contests dont do Drobs style a lot of justice They're too confining. Maurice would kill at streetstyle.
Oleg Konlngs has the coolest tricks. His newest is a lawnmower Switzerland squeaker type thing. He has the bike up on the rear wheel and he wheel walks himself around in a circle. That's as good as it can be described without pictures -watch for a Trick Page on it soon.
Eddie was surprising on the ground. His tricks may be easier than most, but he has a certain flair that everyone loves. He also covers up his mistakes better than anyone else He's fun to watch. Fifth place.
Dave Nourie ls doing way more moving tricks these days. He proved his new found versatility by taking a fourth in a mighty tough class.
Woody was Woody. Smooth, pulled off everything, had HARD tricks -his usual self. He does a rad seat grinder. His crossbar stand HAS to be seen -he hasnt quite figured a way to get out of it yet, but when he does, people will start passing out. lt's that insane. lt was a shook to quite a few (Woody included) when Woody got thlrd place, 7/10ths of a point behind pro class debuter Dennis McCoy.
Definitely the upset of the day was McCoy getting second place on the ground. He has a toxic combination of tricks and showmanship. Whether he deserved second or not lsnt the point. The point is that in one day he proved himself a power to be reckoned with in the pro class.
A hush came over the crowd when this next guy came out. They obviously knew what they were in for. His music went incredibly well with his routine, his tricks were precision -Miami Hoppers, cherrypickers, seat grlnders, slide glides, his patented up-rocking, backwards ,wheelies, infinity rolls. and his finale, the backwards infinity roll. But his strongest point is his style/smoothness. I don't think there was any doubt in ANYONE'S head after his run that he'd carried the first place bucks away. He was THAT good. R.L. Osborn. His new nickname ls EL CID. Loosely translated lt means. "The Man" in Spanish. El Cid shredded. Hes concentrating all his efforts on flatland now. No more ramp class.
Not to take anything away from the other classes. but the pro air was what everyone had been waiting for.
Blyther was gone on the Rad Tour. Hugo, Vander, and Buff were also among the missing. But Dominguez was there. Fiola and Wilkerson were there. Rookie pros Dennis McCoy and Todd Anderson were also present and accounted for. All of them ripped. But only one guy can win.
Todd Anderson finished at fifth. The only thing that kept him from scoring higher was not doing a 540. He walled a path of destruction up the ramp with insane airs. Every Anderson air is all-out.
A perfect 540 about a foot out kept McCoy in front of Todd. Front wheel pogos to a backwards drop-in WITH a freewheel helped. Think about that trick a minute... We must mention at this point that he took the overall for the pro class. Dennis is on his way. Or ls he already there?
Wilkerson's run was blazing... massive airs, rad small ramp work, back wheel hops to drop-ins -until he bent his bars falling off a backwards drop-ln from front wheel hops. But believe lt or not. he tried the same trick AGAIN with bent bars before stopping his run. His run was only about two minutes and he stlll got third place Who knows what might've happened if he'd had taken all his time. ..
Eddie Fiola and Mike Dominguez have been competitors and friends for a long time Theyre always trading wins. This time was no different. One of them won and the other took second. Both of them did outrageously high airs ln every variation known. Both did 540s Both were electric. Michael stopped near the middle of his routine faced the crowd for a couple of seconds, and help up his hand in a number one before doing his first 540. He did his no-footed cancan. He did blonlc fakle airs. His second 540 at the end of his run left him on the ground with a huge tear in his pants But it dldn't matter -this day he beat the King.
Despite a couple of disagreements about the judging (when isn't there one?)
and the date change, fun was had by all. The AFA pulled off a good one. Keep in mind that the Masters Finals will be at this same place -the Velodrome-November 29 and 30. See you there.