|Date: august 14-18, 2003.|
Place: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA.
Kevin McAvoy, www.ridebmx.com: So, another X Games is behind us; next year marks the tenth anniversary of the whole shebang, and it'll be in Los Angeles again, so I'm sure there will be some sort of overblown hoopla to celebrate it. To be honest, there needs to be, because compared to the last two years in Philly, the LA X Games fell pretty flat, in my opinion. I can't put a finger on why, but it just didn't feel as exciting this year. It certainly wasn't bad, I guess I was just expecting more. You would think they would have really gone over the top Hollywood style, but it just didn't seem to be as big of a production overall. Maybe it's just that a typical Southern California crowd of people is made up of "extreme" types already, so the event is just not as out of place and unique as it would be in a Midwestern city.
|Bart de Jong, www.fatbmx.com: I bet you that the flatland discipline is the most international group on the X-Games. Once again they were stuck outside in the heat on a small black tarmac space. The stands were far away from the riding and around 3/4 of the area people could not watch if they did not have a pass.
Next to it being extremely hot the vibe was not really there. This didn't mean the riders did not want to win part of the big prize purse. With the gravity games only having a demo and flatland specific contests like the RedBull circle of Balance only happening every once in a while, the riders needed to make it count in the Los Angeles heat. No prelims this year, just straight finals. 2 runs each, the best run counts.
Getting a solid first run in helps take the pressure off. If you're in last in the starting order you can actually see what place you are at that moment. With the chance of pulling off a ripping second run, nothing is over until it's over. Multiple gold medalist Martti Kuoppa couldn't put it together this time and had trouble staying on the bike. His original technical tricks require perfect concentration, bike set up, conditions and feeling. Something failed for the Fin. This left the door open for others.
Trevor Meyer was back on the contest scene. Woody had cleaned his bike before he hit the floor and it sure was shiny. Trevor's second run got him in the top 3 spot with a score of 88.60 beating Yamamoto by 0.60 points.
Nathan Penonzek is a treat to watch ride. His flow, grace and smoothness melt together when he gets it done. His consistency paid off as well and Nathan has another travel budget ready grabbing the silver medal and purse to go along with it.
Everyone was stoked to see Simon O'Brien win a big competition. He was so stoked on the win and simply couldn't believe it. He won $ 17,000.= USD (before taxes) for the gold. I'm not sure if there are sponsors around nowadays that match the prize money but it's fair to say that the Australian will be living the pro flatland life for the upcoming months.
On a side note, as a BMX industry person I was appointed to hand out the medals in the flatland class.
Kevin McAvoy, www.ridebmx.com: The Heat. It was really hot. There was a tent on site with a couple of those mist fans, but I was still sweating my ass off, and I wasn't even riding. Throughout the course of practice, riders would session for a little bit before overheating and taking a break, so it was difficult for some to deal with the constant warming up/cooling down cycles that interrupted their rhythm. The riding area (more on that below) had a fresh layer of jet-black tar on it, so it only made things worse.
Michael Steingräber's Bike. Michael's frame, fork, bars, and seatpost were all titanium. It looked trick, and it weighed next to nothing. If somebody can figure out how to do this economically, it'd be the way to go for flatland.
Marcos Paulo de Jesus. Marcos has always been fast; now it seems like he's a little faster, and a lot more consistent. While everyone else was primarily sticking to one spot in practice, he'd tear through the whole area and bust something crazy, catching everyone's eye. He was working on this wild tailwhip out of a backyard thing that's going to be pretty sick when he gets it dialed.
The Riding Area. At first glance, it looked okay, but upon closer inspection, it could have been better. It was slightly slanted, and despite the fresh layer of tar that got sticky as the sun beat down on it, it still managed to be a little dusty. It certainly could have been worse, though. Like they could have painted a giant, bright, complex logo in the middle that screwed with your concentration when you rolled over it. Oh, wait, they did.
The KGB. No, not the Russian security agency, the company that Martti Kuoppa and Jorge "Viki" Gomez founded. Martti and Viki brought their "Psychonnecta" prototypes over to North American soil and shredded it in practice. Unfortunately, Martti couldn't deliver the perfect runs he's managed to bust out for the last three years for X Games gold, but Viki rode well and settled into fifth place. Keep on eye on KGB; it looks like they'll be coming out with some innovative stuff.
The Lack of Suspense. This year's X Games just didn't seem as exciting. There were no qualifiers for flat this year, just a final round with all 20 riders. I don't know if that had anything to do with it or not, but everyone just seemed mellow and the whole thing was anticlimactic. It was still a good contest, but it seems like last year had a bit more drama and suspense. Simon O'Brien's been on a bit of a roll, and it couldn't have happened at a better time. He added an X Games gold medal to the load of stuff he's acquired while roaming around the States this summer. Speaking of roaming, Nathan Penonzek rolled his gypsy ways right up onto the X Games podium, picking off a long-overdue silver medal, and Trevor Meyer picked up another medal to add to his collection, this one colored bronze. The '03 X Games are history, and another contest "season" is in the bag, so it's time to get back to what really matters: just riding. So, go ride. Seriously, get out of here.
www.bmxplusmag.com: Flatland was won by Simon O'Brien, who a few weeks earlier won the CFB qualifier at Woodward West. Nathan Penonzek rode smooth for second and the consistent Trevor Meyer took yet another X-Games medal.
1. Simon OBrien Erowal Bay, NSW AUS 93.40 $17,000
2. Nathan Penonzek Gibsons, B.C. CAN 92.00 9,000
3. Trevor Meyer Chaska, MN 88.60 6,500
4. Ryoji Yamamoto Tokushima-Ken, JPN 88.00 4,000
5. Jorge Gomez Madrid, ESP 86.80 3,000
6. Phil Dolan London, GBR 86.20 2,000
7. Michael Sommer Vienna, AUT 85.80 1,500
8. Stephen Cerra Redondo Beach, CA 85.80 1,300
9. Matt Wilhelm Lisle, IL 85.40 1,000
10. Hiroya Morisaki Tokushima, JPN 85.20 900
11. Jesse Puente Venice, CA 84.20 500
12. Michael Steingräber Hamburg, GER 84.00 500
13. Terry Adams Hammond, LA 83.00 500
14. Manuel Prado Laguna Hills, CA 82.80 500
15. York Uno Ishikawa, Kanazawa, JPN 81.80 500
16. Chad Johnston Long Beach,CA 81.40 500
17. Martti Kuoppa Helsinki, FIN 79.80 500
18. Aaron Behnke Morgantown, WV 79.20 500
19. Marcos de Jesus Sau Paulo, BRA 78.60 500
20. Travis Collier Port Coquitlam, BC CAN 77.80 500
Simon O'Brien spins a switch-footed upside-down megaspin on the pedal, earning a fat bag of loot in the process. Credit: Kevin McAvoy
|Bart de Jong, www.fatbmx.com: In 2001 Stephan Prantl and I visited the DirtBros in San Diego. We decided to go street riding. We all followed Vic Murphy on his stars and stripes DBI frame. Locals to join the ride were Shaun (now TM), Ryan Fudger (now works for RIDE), Mike Gross and this guy on a borrowed green bike. Vic told us to look out for this kid. He was only 17 years old and had to wear a helmet riding his bike in public. It wasn't actually his personal ride as his bike got stolen earlier that week. The dude was ripping wherever we rode including a pitch dark concrete skatepark in Pacific Beach. It's good to see that this hot kid is still riding for Dirtbros. He even has his signature frame now and guess what, this kid won a silver medal in between the HARO boys at the 2003 X-Games. Who would have thought, well, Vic had warned us. Congratulations to Gary Young for becoming the richest DirtBro over the weekend. His run consisted of non stop riding. He hit everything in sight and did tables, tailwhips, 360-s and manuals. It might not sound exciting but his runs were really good.
Javier Ortega from Spain seemed a little lost in between the stars but enjoyed the trip and was seen jamming at the Fender booth in the Athlete lounge most of the time. Scotty Cranmer finally said yes to Alan Foster's FELT-offer. The UGP comp winner finished 19th but his time is yet to come. 18th place for Jay Miron. He could use the 5 hunnies to make the drive back to Vancouver a bit more enjoyable. Seth Kimbrough has his own street tricks. He didn't really need all the transition that was available. 16th went to FBM's Ron Kimler who found a little space in his schedule to come down and compete. It was good to see you out there Ron. Columbian rider Alejandro Caro is one good rider but could not pull off a perfect run that was needed to make top 10. 14th went to Tom Haugen who was one of the few guys left riding with a full face helmet (Mirra was the other dude). With tailwhip-180-s over the spine you might need that extra protection when you slip and fall on the back of your head. Tom had some crashes in his runs that held him back. Mahoney! OBG told me about Chris Mahoney's HDT representation at the Mountain Dew party the night before. OBG said he did not think that Chris was going to enter. Guess what, he was the first guy on the course and his very first trick was a flip over the box to get his head back on straight again. Mahoney was sporting some new silver teeth and did rad superman tailwhips and 1-footed-X-up flips. 13th in park for the Brit. Luke Fink could not impress the same way he did at the 2003 World's in Portugal. Sure the competition was stronger but somehow I had expected more from the Aussie. If you look at the people he got beat by it is no shame to end up at place 12. Also park had straight finals. No prelims so to say. Two runs each, best run counts. Ending on spot 11 sucks when they take 10 to advance. This time it didn't really matter except for the prize money. Colin MacKay beat Luke by 0.20 points for 11th. Brian Foster participated in the X-Games BMX downhill race, the KOD and also park. How cool is that. The ex HB local (moved back to New Jersey) ate shit bad a couple of times but also pulled off amazing shit. Original lines as well. Ali Whitton got scored badly I thought. After his second run I had him in my top 5 but he ended up on place 9. "He will be back!" will he? First year in Philly it was Bruce Crisman who surprised most of us to grab the win. It was a good thing to happen. Bruce is still there doing his thing and having fun. 8th place right after Morgan Wade, the other rookie who does extended jumps like 1-h-no-f-cc-tailwhips and huge flipwhips over the box. He'll be hooked up with a ride soon. Rob Darden destroyed his wheel but came back. He's fit enough to ride and showed his talent in finishing 6th. 5th place went to Van Homan. Van is fast and furious when he's on the course, always fun to watch. Kagy did a pop-out to manual over the high sub-box to barspin back in. Chad's got balls and went for superman seatgrab flips, flip-whips and crazy stuff like that. Chad got knocked out on the quarterpipe when he tried to double whip. It didn't look pretty. Full face helmet anyone? Chad was strong enough to get back on his feet and enter vert later in the week with a big lump on his face. Mirra brought the big tricks. Some worked, some didn't. His second run was more solid than his first one. Dave was again raising the bar with his new tricks. Go big, or go home. Dave went home with a bronze medal. This leaves Ryan Nyquist. He's a machine. He's a machine that doesn't seem to fail. It's like playing a computer game. Ryan is one of the few riders who actually thinks about a run to do in the contest. He plans things out and tries to throw everything in before the buzzer goes off. His first run scored a 95.00 which was enough for the victory. 360-toboggans over the spine, suicide no-handed bonks over the spine, 720-s, 540-suicide-no-handers on the quarterpipe, flairs, rocket wall-tabs, that kind of stuff. $25,000.= USD in the pocket for that one as well.
Jeff Zielinski, www.ridebmx.com: Supposedly there were 110 million viewers tuned into the X Games worldwide, so I think anyone with a computer probably saw the X Games on the tube. However, after the slight distaste I developed for the X Games over the weekend, I really don't feel like writing a story about who did what. Instead, here is a list of the five best and worst things I saw all weekend followed by the results.
1. Gary Young, for numerous reasons. The fact that he's a Dirt Bro. and he placed second, he rode super-fast and tricked every single obstacle, and he would've ridden the same way even if he wasn't in a contest.
2. Girlsneed I say more? It was hot and sunny so they were hardly dressed.
3. Ryan Nyquist's 540-truckdriver straight into a 720 over the box. Ryan was already spinning the 720 when everyone was still grasping the 540-truck. He also did a suicide-540 after his victory run.
4. Apparently the riders had a choice if they wanted to be filmed by the army of cameras surrounding the course, or by a guy on rollerblades. It was kind of funny seeing the guy roll around the course with a Sony VX2000 with a death lens trying to keep up with a speeding Gary Young.
5. The contest format was finals-only so each rider only had two runswhich meant I could get out of the sun faster.
1. Security: Ironically, I would've had an easier time shooting photos in downtown Los Angeles on a weekday with a pack of riders ten deep than I did at the X Gameseven with my press credentials. For those of you who are unaware, shooting photos or video at the X Games is a nightmare because during the finals (when all the serious shit goes down) the media get shuffled into the "media corral," which is guaranteed to be the area with the worst angles possible. This is why Props video magazine and TransWorld Skateboarding don't cover it.
2. Sunburn: The general rule of thumb when shooting outdoors on a sunny day is to try and keep the sun behind you. The result is nicely lit photos and a leatherneck.
3. Horrible angles: I think I explained this one thoroughly in number one.
4. Only two runseven though the sun was grilling me. On the flip side, I would have liked to watch everyone ride some more.
5. I figured that some riders might've had a few new moves up their sleeves, but to my dismay, there really weren't any new tricks unveiled and no outrageous transfers or even a "trick of the contest." Well, except for Morgan Wade's tailwhip to the wall.
www.bmxplusmag.com: Street was dominated by Ryan Nyquist. Ryan hasn't lost a street or dirt contest he's enterd all year. Gary Young, the Dirt Bros rider who did so well last year and ESPN didn't show on TV, finished second right in front of Dave Mirra who took home the bronze medal.
1. Ryan Nyquist 551 Greenville, NC 95.00
2. Gary Young 571 San Diego, CA 92.40
3. Dave Mirra 546 Greenville, NC 89.40
4. Chad Kagy 529 State College, PA 88.00
5. Van Homan 526 Downingtown, PA 86.00
6. Rob Darden 511 Salt Lake City, UT 86.00
7. Morgan Wade 566 Tyler, TX 84.80
8. Bruce Crisman 510 Tigard, OR 84.60
9. Alistair Whitton 568 Chester, GBR 84.40
10. Brian Foster 540 Huntington Beach, CA 84.00
11. Colin Mackay 538 Brisbane, AUS 83.20
12. Luke Fink 518 Melbourne, Victoria AUS 83.00
13. Chris Mahoney 539 Wigan, ENG 82.60
14. Tom Haugen 524 Minneapolis, MN 82.60
15. Alejandro Caro 506 Cali, COL 81.20
16. Ron Kimler 532 Stallion Springs, CA 80.40
17. Seth Kimbrough 531 Hartselle, AL 80.00
18. Jay Miron 545 Vancouver, BC CAN 79.60
19. Scotty Cranmer 509 Jackson, NJ 77.00
20. Javier Gomez 521 Malaga, ESP 75.60
Chad Kagy on the cover of Transworld BMX december 2003.
|The set up was not surprising. Roll in, 6 pack, turn around, roll in, 4 pack. There were little transfer possibilities but some of the riders found some. Riders had three runs each. Two of them counted.
Steven McCann fires out a 720 and barely gets away with it; tries to pull it more smoothly a second time and crashes hard. He just missed the cut with an 84.20 .11th
Colin MacKay 84.20 overall, tied McCann for 11th
Jerry Bagley rode super well, and finished out the day with an 82.30 overall; 13th place
Kye Forte - 80.60 ranked 14th
Romuald Noirot is from France and finished with an overall 78.80 .16th
Mark Kehl finished with a 74.90 overall - 17th
Darrin Read was down for the big transfers.
Ryan "Biz" Jordan is either untouchable, or way, way off. His 70.70 overall tells the story.
Finals. The lights went off, and the spotlight came out with music blaring, everyone knew it was about to get serious.
TJ Lavin - Five X Games medals (two of them Gold), and the pressure of never having finished outside the top ten was how TJ went in. His first run scored him an 84.60. His second run he pulled a big turndown flip over the first set and a superman nothing over the last set, for a second round score of 87.00, and after seeing his score, the crowd was definitely not too psyched; they definitely wanted to see it a lot higher. TJ's third run highlights were a decade over the third set and a superman three over the last set for an 85.80 - again, the crowd's not psyched on the scoring. 86.40 overall and TJ was definitely bummed.
Allan Cooke goes from 17th to 9th in his last qualifying run to make the finals. He scores an 87.60 in his first run, then an 83.30 in his second run from a hard crash over the second set on the first straight, but digs deep to pull a superman backflip over the last set. His third run ends with a superman seatgrab and you could tell his knee or ankle from his earlier crash was definitely hurting him. 84.20 overall ended the day for the former X Games Champ.
Joey Marks' first run scores a 76 after a crash. In his second run, he almost pulled a barspin to tailwhip over the second set in the first straight, but still, it's only good enough for a 79.80. In his last run, Whitesnake flipwhips the second jump in the three pack, but can't hit the next set, and ends with a flip on the last set. He finishes with a 79.30 overall, which is awesome considering this was his first X Games appearance and he made the cut.
Brian Foster, the king of big tranfers. 86.40 first run followed by a second run score of 86.20 will keep him sitting fifth. Falcon's third run was a big landing-to-landing transfer to start things off, then a lip-to-lip transfer that ended in flames. He got up and ended his day with a turndown three over the last set and an overall score of 86.30. Definitely awesome for a guy who qualified for Downhill, Park and Dirt.
The 2002 X Games Bronze medalist, Chris Doyle, started things off good with an 89.00 first run score. Chris' second run had a sweet 360 X up to turndown on the last set, which was enough to keep him in the top three. Doyle's third run ends with an X up tailwhip, and he finishes the day with an overall 89.50. At this point, he's ranked first, but look who's still left to go...
After winning Gold in 2001 then not making the cut last year, you could tell Stephen Murray was ready to throw down. He pulled off an 81.60 for his first round score after crashing on a double-backflip attempt over the last set (you should have seen the crash - definitely gnarly). In his second run, he nailed the double backflip (taking out the cameraman on the landing), giving him a 93.80, which moved him into fourth. In his last run, he crashed going for a turndown three flip scoring an 81.60 for that run.
After qualified at Woodward West's CFB roughly a month earlier, Cory Bohan started things off with a downside threewhip in his first run, scoring an 89.80 right off the bat. On his second run he pulled an opposite three table, but crashed on a 720 attempt over the last set. Still, good enough for an 81.00, which gave him an 85.40 overall after second round. In his third round, he pulled a 720 over the last set and scored a 90.00, going from eighth to first with an overall score of 89.90. But again, look who's left...
This was Mike Aitken's third X Games appearance and he definitely had a few things up his sleeve. He scored an 87.60 on his first run, then an 86.60 on his second run. That put him in fourth for the time being with an overall of 87.20. Mikey's last run saw the turndown 180-to-fakie out on the last set, almost pulling it, then the big 720 attempt over the last set to crash, which got him a 79.40; obviously the score he'd wind up dropping.
Cory Nastazio, probably the most stylish, flamboyant rider in BMX, the 2000 X Games silver medal winner was ready to pull out all the stops. Nasty scored a 79.60 on his first run after a flipwhip went sour, then an 80.20 on his second run for a threewhip over the third set on first straight, but a crashed whipflip on last set. A 79.90 overall for Nasty after the second round now ranked him ninth. In his third round, Nasty threewhipped the third set clean, then pulled a flipwhip on the last set scoring a 91.80 and ending his day with an overall score of 86.00. You should have heard the crowd go ape shit on that flipwhip... the place got loud
Ryan Nyquist, after qualifying first, the pressure was on. Could the eight-time X Games medalist add a third Gold to his collection? His first run saw a huge suicide no-handed flip over last set for a score of 92.60he was definitely starting things off big. His second score of 79.20 would drop him to fifth, with an 85.90 average; he got loose over the second set and couldn't make the third, then slid out on a 720 over the last set. As his third run was about to go down, all eyes were focused on him; he was the last guy on the roll in, under the spotlight, and the crowd was on its feettotal pressure cooker time. Would he go for the rumored 1080? He needed an 87.22 for X Games Gold, so it didn't seem likely. On the first straight he spun a 720 over the second set, then on the second straight barspun the first set to a nothing no footed can can-to-barspin over the last set. As soon as he landed, the place errupted. It didn't even matter what his score was; everyone knew he had done it again. As soon as Ryan's last score was announced, he was promptly mobbed and drenched with Mountain Dew, and pretty much any other liquid anyone had. You should have seen the look on his face; it was definitely an amazing moment. He had survived the pressure, put together an awesome final run, and came out on top; from eighth to first, for his third X Games Gold; simply amazing.
www.bmxplusmag.com: Dirt was a treat to watch. The finals came down to the last rider and the drama was thick. Ryan Nyquist was that last rider and he had to score a good run to take the win. Well, in normal Ryan fasion he did just that, scoring a 95 and securing the win. Ryan had some competiton from second place finisher, Corey Bohen and third place finisher Chris Doyle who both rode awesome. Stephen Murray finished fourth, some how even with two crashes and his good run had a double leg drag after his double flip. Don't get us wrong, we like Stephen, it's just wierd how other riders without crashes finished out of the top five. That's why they call it judged sports.
James Ayres, www.ridebmx.com: 20 guys trying to make the cut during the day, 10 badasses going for the gold at night. If you could have seen some of the stuff that got throw down there well, if you could have seen it, then you probably wouldn't be reading this, so maybe it's good that you didn't. I'll try and fill you in on some of the highlights.
Qualifying. The deal with qualifying was that each guy got three runs; the lowest score of those three would be dropped, with the other two getting averaged together for a final ranking. Here's what my tape recorder had to say after qualifying was said and done:
Ryan Nyquist Qualifies first with a 90.10 average; riding tack sharp and super smooth as usual.
Cory Nastazio Pulls a crazy looking whipflip in the third round to knock Mike Aitken to third and take over second with an 88.90 qualifying score
Mike Aitken Turndown to 180 rollback over the third set; almost pulled it in the third round. Qualifies third with an 87.90
Cory Bohan How I missed talking about Cory Bohan's runs I don't know, but Im pretty sure he qualified fourth
Stephen Murray Goes for the backflip three turndown but crashes in the last round. Still, with an overall score of 86.50, he'll qualify fifth.
Chris Doyle King of the super clicked turndown three; pulled a ton of other stuff super smooth; he'll qualify sixth with an 86.00
Brian Foster Although Darrin Reed did the transfer lines first, I'd have to say the Falcon did them better; big turndown over the first transfer, plus the best table three's out there. He qualified seventh with an 85.90
Joey "Whitesnake" Marks Rode amazing and qualified eighth with an 85.60
TJ Lavin After taking it hard in practice yesterday, TJ threewhips the last set in the third round to qualify ninth with an 85.40
Allan Cooke Pulls the double tailwhip in his second run, then a superman flip in his last round, going from 17th to being tied for 9th with TJ - 85.40 overall
Rob Darden Goes in 10th with an 84.60 overall
Steven McCann Fires out a 720 and barely gets away with it; tries to pull it more smoothly a second time and crashes hard. He just missed the cut with an 84.20 - 11th
Colin MacKay 84.20 overall, tied McCann for 11th
Jerry Bagley Rode super well, and finished out the day with an 82.30 overall; 13th place
Kyle Forte 80.60 ranked 14th
Rumauld Noirt Don't know much about this guy; he's from France and finished with an overall 78.80 - 16th
Mark Kehl Finished with a 74.90 overall 17th
Darrin Read Not sure exactly where he finished, but I do remember he was down for the big transfers.
Ryan "Biz" Jordan Biz is either untouchable, or way, way off. His 70.70 overall tells the story, but still, I've gotta give him props for boosting the crap out of the first set in his third round no tricks and the crowd still went crazy.
Finals. Four hours later, the stage was set for the world's 10 best guys to go head to head. When the lights went off, and the spotlight came out with music blaring, everyone knew it was about to get serious. By the time the announcers had gone through the top ten, I'd be willing to bet everyone had goosebumps; there was that much hype. I was beyond stoked, both nervous and excited for every one of those dudes. If you've never been to the X Games before, you have to go just to experience that feeling before the finals; it's unreal. Here are some of the highlights from each guy's runs:
TJ Lavin Five X Games medals (two of them Gold), and the pressure of never having finished outside the top ten was how TJ went in. His first run scored him an 84.60. His second run he pulled a big turndown flip over the first set and a superman nothing over the last set, for a second round score of 87.00, and after seeing his score, the crowd was definitely not too psyched; they definitely wanted to see it a lot higher. TJ's third run highlights were a decade over the third set and a superman three over the last set for an 85.80 again, the crowd's not psyched on the scoring. 86.40 overall and TJ was definitely bummed.
Allan Cooke Allan goes from 17th to 9th in his last qualifying run to make the finals. He scores an 87.60 in his first run, then an 83.30 in his second run from a hard crash over the second set on the first straight, but digs deep to pull a superman backflip over the last set. His third run ends with a superman seatgrab and you could tell his knee or ankle from his earlier crash was definitely hurting him. 84.20 overall ended the day for the former X Games Champ.
Joey Marks Joey's first run scores a 76 after a crash. In his second run, he almost pulled a barspin to tailwhip over the second set in the first straight, but still, it's only good enough for a 79.80. In his last run, Whitesnake flipwhips the second jump in the three pack, but can't hit the next set, and ends with a flip on the last set. He finishes with a 79.30 overall, which is awesome considering this was his first X Games appearance and he made the cut.
BF The king of big tranfers, Brian's 86.40 first run followed by a second run score of 86.20 will keep him sitting fifth. Falcon's third run was a big landing-to-landing transfer to start things off, then a lip-to-lip transfer that ended in flames. He got up and ended his day with a turndown three over the last set and an overall score of 86.30. Definitely awesome for a guy who qualified for Downhill, Park and Dirt.
Chris Doyle The 2002 X Games Bronze medalist started things off good with an 89.00 first run score. Chris' second run had a sweet 360 X up to turndown on the last set, which was enough to keep him in the top three. Doyle's third run ends with an X up tailwhip, and he finishes the day with an overall 89.50. At this point, he's ranked first, but look who's still left to go
Stephen Murray After winning Gold in 2001 then not making the cut last year, you could tell Stephen was ready to throw down. He pulled off an 81.60 for his first round score after crashing on a double-backflip attempt over the last set (you should have seen the crash definitely gnarly). In his second run, he nailed the double backflip (taking out the cameraman on the landing), giving him a 93.80, which moved him into fourth. In his last run, he crashed going for a turndown three flip scoring an 81.60 for that run.
Cory Bohan After qualified at Woodward West's CFB roughly a month earlier, Cory started things off with a downside threewhip in his first run, scoring an 89.80 right off the bat. On his second run he pulled an opposite three table, but crashed on a 720 attempt over the last set. Still, good enough for an 81.00, which gave him an 85.40 overall after second round. In his third round, he pulled a 720 over the last set and scored a 90.00, going from eighth to first with an overall score of 89.90. But again, look who's left
Mike Aitken This was Mikey's third X Games appearance and he definitely had a few things up his sleeve. He scored an 87.60 on his first run, then an 86.60 on his second run. That put him in fourth for the time being with an overall of 87.20. Mikey's last run saw the turndown 180-to-fakie out on the last set, almost pulling it, then the big 720 attempt over the last set to crash, which got him a 79.40; obviously the score he'd wind up dropping.
Cory Nastazio Probably the most stylish, flamboyant rider in BMX, the 2000 X Games silver medal winner was ready to pull out all the stops. Nasty scored a 79.60 on his first run after a flipwhip went sour, then an 80.20 on his second run for a threewhip over the third set on first straight, but a crashed whipflip on last set. A 79.90 overall for Nasty after the second round now ranked him ninth. In his third round, Nasty threewhipped the third set clean, then pulled a flipwhip on the last set scoring a 91.80 and ending his day with an overall score of 86.00. You should have heard the crowd go ape shit on that flipwhip the place got loud
Ryan Nyquist After qualifying first, the pressure was on. Could the eight-time X Games medalist add a third Gold to his collection? His first run saw a huge suicide no-handed flip over last set for a score of 92.60he was definitely starting things off big. His second score of 79.20 would drop him to fifth, with an 85.90 average; he got loose over the second set and couldn't make the third, then slid out on a 720 over the last set. As his third run was about to go down, all eyes were focused on him; he was the last guy on the roll in, under the spotlight, and the crowd was on its feettotal pressure cooker time. Would he go for the rumored 1080? He needed an 87.22 for X Games Gold, so it didn't seem likely. On the first straight he spun a 720 over the second set, then on the second straight barspun the first set to a nothing no footed can can-to-barspin over the last set. As soon as he landed, the place errupted. It didnt even matter what his score was; everyone knew he had done it again.
As soon as Ryan's last score was announced, he was promptly mobbed and drenched with Mountain Dew, and pretty much any other liquid anyone had. You should have seen the look on his face; it was definitely an amazing moment. He had survived the pressure, put together an awesome final run, and came out on top; from eighth to first, for his third X Games Gold; simply amazing. Congrats, Ryan, you ruled.
1. Ryan Nyquist 92.70
2. Corey Bohan 89.90
3. Chris Doyle 89.50
4. Stephen Murray 87.70
5. Mike Aitken 87.20
6. T.J. Lavin 86.40
7. Brian Foster 86.30
8. Cory Nastazio 86.00
9. Allan Cooke 85.90
10. Joe Marks 79.30
Brian Foster inverted three table. Photo by Mark Losey.
|Bart de Jong, www.fatbmx.com: With Jamie Bestwick missing out on X-Games 7 and 8, people were getting ready for a battle between the UK rider and Dave Mirra. Little did people know that Dave had not been riding vert as much the last few years. He's got his own ramp but no one to ride with. This doesn't really help his motivation. Jamie on the contrary has people come over every now and then at Woodward camp. Kevin Robinson lives close and so does Chad Kagy. It sure shows in their vert riding. Mirra came over to Europe earlier this year and almost got beat by Eduardo Terreros in France and decided not to ride vert at the Bike 2003 event. He did not look all that good at the time and personally I thought there was never going to be a battle between Jamie and Dave at this year's X-Games (#9). When Dave unfolded tricks like barspin flairs, flair tailwhips (the full round), 540-whips, double tailwhips and opposite one-footed X-up flairs I changed my mind. With tricks like the double flair up in the air it was still going to be an exciting duel between ESPN's favorite dudes.
The X-Games is a big TV-show. They try to set up rivalries to get the home viewing crowd into it. Mirra has been pumped up in the past and now Jamie is getting attention by having his diary on the EXPN website. ESPN is creating favorites to make it a show. It's not what BMX is about. The riders can't really help ESPN's way of editing. After a great first run by Jamie he was asked what he thinks of Dave Mirra. Pump up the drama boys, pump it up! ESPN-made signs were handed out once again to support the Mirracle Man and some of the top pros alike. Dave rode awesome but could not top Jamie's first run where he flaired both ways, 540-d both ways and aired both ways with ease. Lots of riding has paid off for the former Rolls Royce engine engineer from Derby who lives near the original Woodward nowadays. A gold medal for England and deservingly so.
Dave scored his 16th X-Games medal and is tied with Tony Hawk on the medal count. It won't hurt his popularity. There's only a few people that kids jump out of their seats for to get an autograph. Mirra is one of the victims of not being able to walk around freely any longer.
What else was going on in vert? 36 years old Dennis McCoy qualified for the final in 3rd place! How cool is that? Dennis remains the example for the riders, who think they're too old, that it's possible to get rad at that age. Kevin Robinson attempted a cross handed flair to no-hander. By the time he did the trick he was too tired to get a real pump out of the ramp to get the time he needed to pull it off. Kevin was stoked on Bronze. For some reason it looked to me that Simon Tabron wasn't really into the comp. Si still pulled all kind of 540 variations and a clean 900 to finish 4th. Kagy is becoming a vert threat with double whips and shit like that. Beware for the MD commercial star. Parker finished 6th and thought he should have gone for some bigger stuff as the end results were pretty close and he could have stepped up a place or two. He was still healthy after the contest so he had not much to complain about. Jimmy Walker is another vert veteran who still rips. Eduardo Terreros flaired, whipped and twisted at height. His airs are super high and sweet but the landings are fearsome. 9th and more free phone calls to Spain from the Rider's lounge. Koji injured himself in practice. He still made the cut. Koji never holds back and he never stops being silly. Maybe it's the fact that he's 10 years younger than everyone else on the ramp....
Mark Losey, www.ridebmx.com: For the past three years, the BMX world has been waiting to see a Jamie Bestwick/Dave Mirra showdown on vert. One of the two always seemed to be injured, but for this years X Games, both were healthy enough for one incredible show. Jamie and Dave werent the only ones riding well at the X Games. Koji Kraft did his mile-a-minute karate variations and managed to stay in one piece for tenth. Eduardo Terreros got ninth with huge airs, flairs, and a front-flip fly-out that made the crowd think he should have wonat least thats the way it sounded by how loud the crowd booed when his scores came up. Eighth went to Jimmy Walker who can ride a bowl or curved ramp with more flow than anyone. Dennis McCoy proved that he is not done progressing by pulling an alley-oop barspin-540 and he went for a one-footed X-up flair that netted him seventh place. Sixth was all John Parker who double-whipped, alley-oop whipped, and a lot more. Fifth went to Chad Kagywho really should not have been riding after his crash in Parkbut he still pulled a perfect double-whip. Fourth went to Simon Tabron who was all over the ramp with 540-varitions, a 900, and tons of tricks, and by the look on his face when the results were posted, he was expecting a better finish. Third belonged to Kevin Robinson who tried to add yet another flair variation to his arsenal with a switch-hander-to-no-hander that he just missed.
THE QUIET BEFORE THE STORM: QUALIFYING. So this was the scene: At the end of the first round in qualifying, Bestwick was the last to ride and he unleashed a devastating run that put him in first place. When it came time for Mirras second run, he dropped in, pumped as hard as he could for two airs, and then went for a tailwhip-flair about eight feet out. He landed flat and got bucked over the bars, but it sent a big message: Mirra was not giving up without a fight. Dave ended his run right there, and it left everyone dying to see what would happen in the finals.
THE FINAL SHOWDOWN. When it came time for Mirras first run in the finals, everyone expected big things. Dave landed low on his first air which made him do a few more straight airs to gain speed, and then his first trick was a huge 540-whip. The crowd was going nuts for the entire run, and Dave did not disappoint. But a crashed opposite one-footed X-up flair and the blank walls at the start of his run put him in second place behind Kevin Robinson. The next person to ride was Bestwick, and he produced one of the most incredible runs of all time. Tailwhip-flair, opposite flair, 12-foot airs, the best top-side-no-footed can-cans, and so much more. After the first run was over, Jamie was in first, Kevin second, Dave third. Everyone knew Mirra was going to go nuts in his second run to try to take the top spot away from Jamie. When it was his turn to ride, Dave dropped in and got straight to work. Five-whip, double-whip, opposite one-footed X-up flair, and a lot more. The entire arena was expecting Dave to end his run with another huge tailwhip-flair, but he slowed his momentum down and left the trick alone. When he stopped riding, all eyes were on the judges to see if Dave had taken the top spot, but it wasnt enough. Mirra had moved up to second, but Jamies first run score was enough to take the win. Mirra dropped in one last time to try a barspin-flair, but he washed out and couldnt make it stick. Since only the best runs score counted, Jamie didnt even need to take a second run, but he still dropped in and took a victory lap. This win was a long time coming, and he was relishing every moment. When the contest ended, Jamie was on cloud nine. But even with a hundred cameras and 25,000 people staring on, he still stayed true to BMX. What am I talking about? When the crowd was screaming and begging for Jamies bike, shirt, shoes, etc., on a dare, he took off a sweaty, filthy sock, and threw it into the crowd. And believe it or not, a girl actually fought for it and then asked Jamie to sign it. The power of a gold medal
www.bmxplusmag.com: Vert saw Jamie Bestwick fire out the soon to be famous whip flair, winning gold and beating Dave Mirra, who finished second with tricks like the double whip and a huge 540 tailwhip. Third place went to a flair varation throwing down Kevin Robinson. Fourth went to Simon Tabron who successfully landed a 900 hundred and a turndown 540.
Todd Seligman, www.expn.com: The anticipation has been building since 2000, the last time Dave Mirra and Jamie Bestwick, the two best Bike Stunt Vert riders in the world, met in X Games competition. Rumors swirled in the BMX community about the mind-boggling moves the terrible two would pull out Sunday night. Friday's qualifier gave everyone a peek when Jamie pulled an opposite 540 and Mirra came very close on a tailwhip flair. The rest of the field was riding for third. That's where we'll begin. The "Spanish Fly", Eduardo Terreros, blasted impossibly high airs, flairs, 540s and tailwhips. He ended his second run with a front-flip flyout dismount as a tribute to sidelined Mat Hoffman, to whom he pointed after landing. Chad Kagy, banged and bruised in a horrific crash in Park on Saturday, was cleared by the X Games medical staff to ride. He threw down great moves, including the trick that took him out the day before, the double tailwhip. The trip across the pond was not wasted for England's Simon Tabron, who put together solid runs with big, tweaked moves like a turndown 540 and a clean 900 - good enough for fourth place. Kevin Robinson improves with every event. Even his philosophy has evolved. Kevin now throws big tricks right out of the gate, including switch-handed 540s, corkscrew flairs and no-handed corkscrew flairs. Today, Kevin almost landed a switch-handed to no-handed flair. His new tricks and methods paid off in bronze. There was so much hype regarding the Mirra/Bestwick showdown that Mirra's mind-blowing runs were clouded in anticipation. The volume level was off the charts inside the Staples Center as Mirra rolled in and picked the ramp apart, unloading a barrage of big tricks. His run started with the 540 tailwhip, into the highest double tailwhip of the night. He continued with huge airs, flairs and whips in every direction across the 118-foot-long ramp. Mirra ended his run with an opposite one-footed X-up flair. Jamie Bestwick watched Mirra's assault and was rolling in on his run before he had a chance to think about what he had witnessed. Jamie went every direction on the giant ramp, flowing airs, flairs and 540s in both directions and finishing with the move that won him the Global X Games, the tailwhip flair. Jamie's second run was more or less a victory lap, but he added a back-to-back 540 to opposite 540. There was no doubt in the packed Staples Center who was going home with X Games gold. Bestwick delivered his "dream run," decisively winning X Games gold. Mirra saved his tailwhip flair for another night. Leaving us all to wonder: What's next? And will we have to wait until next year's X Games to find out?
Notes and quotes:
- Mat Hoffman watched the event instead of competing because of an injured back.
- Jimmy Walker rode to Dolly Parton's "Nine to five" in the finals.
Jimmy Walker, www.expn.com: I made a bet with the owner of Dollywood that if I made it into the Finals, I would ride to Dolly Parton's "Nine to five."
- Rick Thorne missed qualifying for the X Games by one spot.
- Jamie Bestwick, Chad Kagy and Tom Stober live near each other and ride together Woodward East.
- Dennis McCoy before the contest, www.expn.com: This is the first X Games I haven't been injured or in pre-surgery or post-surgery, so I'm feeling good. I'm not going to half-ass it.
Koji Kraft, on injuring his knee in practice, www.expn.com: I got mad at the ramp and threw a double barspin. The ramp won
- Jamie Bestwick, www.expn.com: I'm at a loss for words. There are so many people here in the Staples Center and it's live on ABC. Obviously there's more pressure with the thousands here and the millionsyou can't see. I'm nervous.
1. Jamie Bestwick 504 State College, PA 95.60
2. Dave Mirra 546 Greenville, NC 92.60
3. Kevin Robinson 558 State College, PA 90.40
4. Simon Tabron 563 Newquay, GBR 89.60
5. Chad Kagy 529 State College, PA 87.40
6. John Parker 553 Gilbert, AZ 87.00
7. Dennis McCoy 543 Kansas City, MO 86.80
8. Jimmy Walker 567 Streamwood, IL 86.80
9. Eduardo Terreros 564 Algorta, ESP 85.00
10. Koji Kraft 534 Addison, IL 84.60
11. Tom Stober 563 Woodward, PA 83.40
12. Jay Miron 545 Vancouver, B.C. CAN 80.20
13. Stefan Geisler 520 Nuremberg, GER 80.00
14. Jay Eggleston 515 Littleton, CO 79.20
15. Jeremy Fanberg 517 Greenville, NC 77.00
16. Achim Kujawski 535 Koeln, NRW GER 76.80
17. Matt Fairbairn 516 Newcastle, AUS 76.60
18. Ednilson Rodrigues 559 Jundiai, Brazil 75.40
Jamie Bestwick flair whip. Photo by M.Ehrmann.
|After hosting the Downhill competition for the past two years at Woodward East in Pennsylvania, Woodward West in Stallion Springs, CA hosted this weekend's event where more than 3275 people lined the course to cheer the racers down to the finish. Saturday in the qualifying round, all competitors took to the course individually for their timed trials, which would determine their bracket position and the order they choose gates. All racers went on to the mains on Sunday except for one, and despite a valiant effort by France's Thomas Allier, did not join the other thirty-two. After finishing one and two in the timed qualifiers, Brandon Meadows and Kyle Bennett, respectively, went on to stake their claim at the gold and silver medals after a competitive eight-man race down the course. "We were all neck and neck, and the inside lane got it done for me. I thought Kyle could catch me but I just held on," Meadows said about his winning run. Local boy and youngest competitor in main, Michael Day, had the biggest fan club of any other athlete competing. Friends and fellow racers from Santa Clarita ABA Racetrack caravanned in a group of ninety, up to Stallion Springs for the race carrying signs that said "Mike Day for Governor". Day did not disappoint his fans today as he proudly wore the bronze around his neck and said, "This contest was awesome, and I can't wait to return to Woodward West." The ESPN X Games IX Downhill course has been talked about by riders for months, as it is the best course ever built led by Planet Seven Productions. "Organized BMX racing has existed for thirty years, but it took ESPN's X Games Downhill BMX race to give the sport the excitement and credit it deserves. This track was by far the biggest, baddest BMX track ever constructed," said Harold "McGoo" McGruther, Director of Competition for Planet Seven Productions.
James Ayres, www.ridebmx.com: Unbelievable. If there was one word I had to pick to sum up this past weekend at the X Games Downhill race in Tehachapi, California, that would be it. Between the track, the crashes, the broken bikes, the insanely big jumps and of course, the racing, unbelievable is the only way to describe what went down. I better start from the beginning When we rolled into T-town Friday morning (along with 40 or so other pros) you could literally feel the excitement in the air. Just by looking at the expressions on everyones faces, you could tell guys were nervous, but super excited at the same time. The vibe that you get at any one of these downhill races is unlike anything else in racing; guys are constantly cheering each other on when someone finally hits a jump for the first time, and everyones comparing notes about where to pedal, how hard to pull up, and where a good line is. Pretty much from the get go, DKs Nathan Fons set the pace; he was the first guy to jump the step-down-step-up combo, and definitely one of the smoothest guys out there this weekend. But he wasnt the only one who was pulling out the stops early. Travis Turesson gets credit for being the first to jump the whole last straight, and from what I heard, Steve Veltman gets props for being the first guy to do an entire lap, top to bottom. By the time Fridays practice ended, the field was pretty split; there were guys who had the place wired and were even starting to show some trail style (Fons, Mike Day, Brandon Meadows, Ian Stoffel, Robbie Miranda, Kyle Bennett ) and there were guys who were going to have to go to bed knowing they had sections to get wired before their time trial on Saturday morning.
Time Trials. The time trials are about one thing, and one thing only; make it down the mountain as fast as you possibly can. All day long people had their favorites on who would win the race against the clock; Mike Days name came up a bunch, as did Kyle Bennetts. But, when it was all said and done, Brandon Meadows laid down the fastest time, which gave him first pick at gate choice for the next days race. Others werent so lucky; Thomas Allier was nursing a broken rib and a bruised kidney from a crash earlier in the day and wound up snapping his forks down the third straight in a gnarly crash. He got up and walked it off, but it wasnt hard to tell that this just wasnt his weekend. Christophe Leveque also struggled; after waiting until the last minute to get the step down section wired, he just couldnt make the step up jump happen, and that cost him. Same with Wade Bootes; he was nursing a bum ankle, and pretty much rode around all the jumps to get the final spot in Sundays race. Here's a quick list of how the top ten time trials looked: Brandon Meadows (40.224 seconds), Kyle Bennett (40.484), Ian Stoffel (40.618), Mike Day (40.652), Neal Wood (40.957), Robbie Miranda (40.980), Nathan Fons (40.999), Justin Loffredo (41.048), Brian Foster (41.184), Robert de Wilde (41.317). As you can see by the times, it was fractions of a second that were separating first from ninth.
Sundays Eight Laps. During qualifying on Sunday, the guys with the fastest time trial times proved to be the favorites; Brandon Meadows won his first lap, as did Kyle Bennett and Mike Day. Miranda also started off clean with a solid win in his first round. But some of the favorites were already dropping quick; out of the third group, Stoffel, Pohlkamp and Veltman didn't make the cut, nor did Nate Berkheimer, Justin Snoderly, and Michael Prokop, out of the fourth group. Semis were about to get interesting.
Semis. Here's how the first semi stacked up; Brandon, Mike Day, Neal, Loffredo, Brian Foster, Travis Turesson, Randy Stumpfhauser, and Donny Robinson. The second one didn't look much easier with Kyle, Miranda, Fons, de Wilde, Purse, Richardson, Alan Foster, and Todd Lyons. Four out of each semi advance to the main, the other eight guys would be going to the consolation main. When the gate dropped on the first semi, Mike Day was pretty much gone. He won, with Brandon tucked in right behind him; it would be the only lap Brandon would lose all day. Justin hung on for third, Randy fourth. The other half of the main was about to be decided. When the gate dropped on semi number two, Bennett shot to the front of the pack and never looked back. Fons came in for second, Todd third, Richardson fourth. Robbie would have to wait for his shot in the consi main, along with de Wilde, Purse, and Alan.
The Mains. The first main to leave the gate was the consolidation main. Neal Wood got a good line out of the first turn and led from there on with Miranda right behind him. Brian Foster finished up third, with Purse, Alan Foster, Donny Robinson, Travis Turesson and Robert de Wilde in tow. When the final gate of eight lined up for the Championship main, it was anyone's bet as to who would go home with the gold. Bennett hadn't lost a lap all day, nor had Mike Day. But when the gate dropped, it was Brandon who shot right to the front of the pack, with Bennett breathing down his neck. Day was in third, and ready to capitalize on any mistake Brandon or Kyle might make, but they just didn't happen. Although Brandon over-jumped the third jump a bit coming down the last straight, Kyle couldn't make the pass, and at the line, it was Brandon, Kyle, and Day. For the second time in his career, Brandon would win X Games Gold, with Bennett adding yet another Silver medal to his collection.