|Date: august 4th-8th, 2004.|
Place: Los Angeles, CA.
|In recent years, Bike Stunt Park events have rewarded consistency, with several runs averaged together to produce the final score. This year at X Games X, riders were scored on the best of two runs. This encourages riders to roll the dice on bigger, more progressive moves to put their run over the top. The rider who puts it all together rides home with the gold. For everyone else, the battle is not to finish last.
Going into Saturday's X Games Bike Stunt Park event at the Staples Center, the two favorites to hit the big run were defending champ Ryan Nyquist and his Haro teammate (and good friend) Dave Mirra, hot off a decisive victory in Bike Stunt Vert 16 hours earlier. Nyquist has speed, big tricks and consistency. Mirra has all the tricks plus the muscle to ride out of potential mistakes. On this day, Mirra's ability to turn potential adversity into a gold-medal run sealed a come-from-behind victory.
The course at this year's X Games was almost universally praised by riders, something that rarely happens. The most popular line was a set of transfers. They began on the upper level mini ramp and launched off the spine, diving into the giant wedge below, then going directly to a mini launch into the spine some 15 feet away.
Several riders put in the competition went big, as could be expected. Morgan Wade sailed around the course at mach speed. His best move was a bike flip, in which he flipped the bike over, front-to-back, in midair. Morgan pulled the trick over both the box jump and the spine.
Australian Steve McCann, riding pegless, spun 720s and 720 turndowns over the spine.
San Diego's Gary Young had the most aesthetically kick-ass run. Says Ryan Guettler: "If you show up five minutes late to practice, Gary's already taken all the lines." He transferred from the wallride into the K-rail and tailwhipped to wallride onto the curved wall.
Ryan Nyquist, who was heavily favored to win today's comp, is seen tossing out two rotations over the big tranny-to-tranny box jump.
Ryan Guettler utilized the popular transfer down from the second level, throwing a double tailwhip transfer, a 720 on the box jump, and a 3-whip over the spine, which put him into the early lead.
Mirra had trouble with his first run, but that provided one of the night's most spectacular moments. With his run already a lost cause, Mirra attempted a backflip bomb drop from the eight-foot sub into a six-foot mini! He rolled off the wall, flipped a full gainer, and washed out his tires when he landed on the transition. The crowd and the other competitors went wild in shock and disbelief.
Nyquist took full advantage of Mirra's early mistakes. He destroyed every ramp on the course, pulling a 720 over the extended section of the box, a truckdriver backward over the box jump, and a double truckdriver back over the box jump forward. His score of 92.66 points put him at the top of the pack.
The second run was redemption time for Mirra. A flipwhip over the spine was followed by a fufanu on the wedge, which he pulled out after landing 90 degrees off his landing! He also squeezed in a wallride to tailwhip before he raised his hand to the cheering crowd. The run catapulted Mirra from the bottom of the leaderboard to the top with 94 points.
Nyquist, the final rider, already had a lock on silver, but he needed a rock-star run to topple Mirra. He dropped in and immediately boosted a massive no-handed 3 to the spine transfer. "Mirra's second run was just outta hand," says Nyquist. "I had to throw some stuff I wasn't expecting to throw." He fired off another 720 over the box but overshot the spine on a barspin 720 over the spine and broke his bike when he landed. With nothing to lose, Nyquist grabbed teammate Mirra's bike and went for a 720 transfer to the spine. He got hung up and broke Mirra's bike when he landed on top of the spine. Nyquist grabbed Colin Mackay's bike, but crashed again and called it a day. "Being the last guy to ride is sometimes good and sometimes bad," says Nyquist. "Today was a pressure situation.
Dave Mirra now has 18 X Games medals, the most in the history of the event.
Dave Mirra: My money was on Nyquist. I didn't think it was going to work out this well. I'm psyched on my run as a whole. That backflip off the wall-it's gonna happen.
Dave Mirra. Photo Ehrmann, www.expn.com.
Morgan Wade bike flip on the cover of BMX Plus! december 2004.
BMX Freedom #16
|This year's dirt course did not have any transfer lines. The riders dropped off a ski-jump-like platform to enter the course. There was about a 45-minute wait for riders between runs.
Ryan Nyquist, 25, had won a medal in Bike Stunt Dirt at each of the past seven X Games, including golds in 2000 and in 2003. In 2003, he became the first rider to win golds in Park and Dirt in the same year, and he won an ESPY award as the Male Action Sports Athlete of the Year. In the Dirt contest at the Home Depot Center, Nyquist struggled on all three runs, botching an X-up 720 over the last jump on his third run and finished a shocking eighth in the event. Ryan Nyquist was so disappointed in his performance that he was unable to comment after the competition.
Australia's Corey Bohan, 22, dropped in for his first run and just plain killed it. He opened with a huge one-footed seatgrab table 360 to an opposite 360 tailwhip to a regular three. Bohan rounded the berm and did a barspin to tailwhip, which he landed smoothly. Bohan's run was so big and clean that, when he climbed to the top of the roll-in, Brian Foster leaned in and said, "Corey, take off your pads. You're done." Although no one was certain at the time, his score of 93.66 points did indeed stand the test of two more runs and the nine remaining riders in the field. In only his third X Games, Bohan added a gold medal to the silver he won a year ago. My first run came together better than I could have imagined. After that, I just sat on the deck waiting for these guys to knock me off the podium ... but not today.
The entire contest was a mix of super runs and sketches, thanks to a format that scored the best of three runs. Going into the event, the consensus was that the podium would be dominated by riders with big moves, which meant that all eyes were on Nyquist and Stephen Murray to be battling for the gold. Murray, who won the gold medal in 2001, was not about to play it safe: "I'm either gonna get first or last." On his first run, he opened with a 360 turndown backflip over the huge first set. Although he pulled this move clean in practice, he clipped his wheel on the landing and went down hard, jamming his wrist and shoulder. "There's 30,000 people here and you better throw down everything you got," he said. He botched the same move on his second run, then lost momentum after landing a 360 turndown backflip and couldn't finish his turn. He finished 10th in a 10-rider field.
TJ Lavin, who won five medals between 1996 and 2001, delivered a perfect third run that opened with a textbook example of a superman seat grab and finished with a double truckdriver. His precise execution and classic style catapulted him into third place.
Chris Doyle is normally one of the sport's most consistent riders, and he feared that would work against him in this contest. With smooth style and tweaked 360 variations, Doyle delivered two runs worthy of the silver, though he only needed one. He won the silver after back-to-back bronze medals in 2002 and '03.
Chris Doyle: I don't know if it would have mattered if Stephen or Ryan had done their runs, 'cause Bohan's first run was one of the most amazing I've ever seen.
Steven Murray: I wanted to three-flip the first set and double flip the last, but I just couldn't get there.
Corey Bohan: Any one of the riders has the potential to win. It's just the luck of the draw that I was able to put it together today. I was kinda skeptical on the best-run-counts format, but you ain't gonna hear me complaining!
|Vert had much to do with rumors of an unbelievable new trick. Kevin Robinson made sure to give everyone what they want to see, and that was the double flip flair. Everyone rode hard, from Jay Miron's double tailwhip 540 that took him out hard, to Simon Tabron's huge 900 rotations. Dave Mirra dropped in with the consistency only repeated X-Games gold medalists can.|
|Ten guys showed up to play, but most thought Bike Stunt Vert would quickly become a two-handed game between Dave Mirra and Jamie Bestwick. When the chips finally fell, nothing was further from the truth.
Simon Tabron opened this high-stakes game with two pair: a no-handed 540 into an alley-oop turndown 540 and a flair with a 900 kicker to cap off his run and move him into first place with a 91.33.
Not to be outdone, Jay Miron turned over a wildcard: he threw a huge 540 tailwhip attempt that was as close as you can get without landing the trick. With nothing to lose, he upped the ante again by attempting a double-whip 540. He hung up his front wheel and crashed hard, folded early and left the game.
Koji Kraft wore a pink T-shirt that read, "I love Chicago".
The flairmeister, Kevin Robinson, raised his competitors with a solid run that included a massive, carving no-handed flair. Rumors were flying that Kevin had a card up his sleeve and a sly wink to his friends confirmed that his next run would indeed hold something special.
Mirra sweetened the pot by dropping in and blasting his first few airs before doing a big corkscrew flair to a high, smooth tailwhip. He uncorked a double tailwhip and wrapped up with an opposite, one-footed X-up flair. Mirra moved into first place, but his poker face was on. He wasn't about to show his hand, which many people thought held something royal.
Jamie Bestwick, last year's gold medalist, anted up and dropped in. Boosting higher airs and carving further than any rider, he was looking strong, flowing over every inch of the giant ramp and utilizing the largely untouched bowl with a huge air deep in its pocket. But he sketched on an alley-oop five, fell hard and folded.
During the second-run huckfest, Chad Kagy pulled a clean-as-can-be barspin tailwhip and drew everyone's attention. It'll take more than a broken neck to keep this guy out of the game.
Kevin Robinson was all in on his second run. He pumped deliberate set-up airs, telegraphing his intention to throw his biggest trick, and unleashed the first double flair. He looped out high on the transition, returned to the deck and was congratulated by Bestwick, Mirra, Koji and Miron. He put his poker face back on and tried again. His second attempt had the rotation, but he was just slightly too far over the deck. "That's what riding is all about for me," he says. "That's what keeps me riding. I don't care what place I get, I just pushed myself to another level." Kevin Robinson had never even attempted the double flair on the resi training ramp before taking the move to Vert.
Not to be outdone, Mirra pushed his chips to center-table and threw down a perfect tailwhip flair that sailed high overhead. The Staples Center crowd went into a frenzy. He continued with another flair straight to a double whip and called everyone's bluff. With his win in Vert, Dave Mirra nabbed his 17th X Games medal and became the winningest athlete in X Games history.
Sometimes luck is just not in the cards, even for a champion like Jamie Bestwick. After a disappointing crash in his first run, he came out firing massive airs and ramp-traversing moves like a massive superman seatgrab alley-oop. That's when the unthinkable happened. His contact lens shifted and he could not continue his final run.
Dave Mirra: It's taken me a year to take the flair-whip from the resi to the ramp. And Kevin's double flair was awesome. I held back a few things I've been working on, so just wait till the next contest.
Koji Kraft:The judging was screwy ... Simon should have won it!
Jamie Bestwick: It was rough having to wait more than an hour for Step-Up to finish. I was ready to go after introductions.
John Parker: Kevin's double flair was so close, if he would have landed flat, he would have pulled it."
Dennis McCoy: I have a little concussion, but it wasn't all bad. It made Kevin's double flair look like a quadruple!