David Graham got the FATBMX press pass to do a report on the 2005 Gravity Games. Thanks a lot for the report, we love these contributions.
It's 11 AM on Monday and we (Me and Talem) have just parked under the bridge that runs Interstate 95 over Franklin Delano Roosevelt park in Philadelphia, PA. Standing next to the cement blob that supports one of the more unusual places to ride a bike or skateboard you'll ever see, we observe kids on junk department store bikes casually cruising around as television crews set up their lights and camera cranes. In fact there's every kind of biker or skater you could imagine rolling around. I've never been to the Gravity Games before, but
I could see right away that this year things were going to be much different than in the past. Almost instantly after taking in the scene, I say to Talem "Let's get our bikes." I was tired, stiff, and sore form three days of nothing but riding, driving and sleeping but I figured this would probably be our only chance to ride the park.
FDR is different from the fancy new cement parks that are popping up everywhere these days. It's built by local skaters with limited funding and it shows. Instead of the perfect transitions and smooth surfaces, every bank, wall, dip and curve at FDR is unique. Riding there gives you a new respect for the people who go huge there. We session the park for an hour or so and then walk over to the dirt jumps. On the way in, we got a glimpse at them and they looked crazy.
Now that we're seeing them up close they look even crazier. Every landing has enough dirt for five regular landings. The first jump is a crazy looking step down hip to the left. You hit a one-foot lip and then drop down about 5 feet into a 10 foot tall landing. It looked scary as hell, but in the contest, people were tricking it. Nasty even flipped it. The second jump was a monster, it split the course into two lines. To the left was a hip and to the right was a waist high, long set followed by a four pack. The left side hipped into the first landing of the four pack, so everybody jumped the same last jump. Everything was downhill and big. This was one of the best dirt courses ever. It was a shame to see it being torn down on Wednesday night.
Park practice was scheduled for 5:00, but when we showed up there wasn't a bike to be seen on the course. The local skaters had taken over and the schedule was out the window. I went back and watched more dirt practice. Meanwhile Talem had met the infamous J-Rod (Jason Rodriguez) while watching practice and told him about our wonderful $177 hotel room wet got the night before. J-Rod kindly offered some floor space, and we kindly accepted. It turns out that J-Rod is a stunt show master (freecycle.us is his site) and has a constant parade of riders staying at his apartment. It also turns out that he's going to ride the Little Devil warehouse tonight and we're invited to come along. Big thanks to J-Rod for everything.
Now, I've seen pictures of the new Little Devil ramp on the web, and I couldn't wait to see it in person. When I walked up the stairs, there was something wrong with the picture I saw. There was no ramp there, but a swimming pool instead. Had they scrapped the ramp and installed an indoor pool instead? And where was the water? There were riders sitting around the side of the pool, and one of them stood up on his bike. I recognized him as Derek Adams. He rode up to the edge and dropped in. Oh, okay, they put this pool in here to ride. Of course! Then Derek began flying around like crazy doing huge lines and carving up a storm. I began to see that this was the ramp after all. They had painted it swimming pool blue, with black and white "Tiles" at the coping. They left no details out, including a sunset background, palm trees, depth markers, drains, and they even had spider-man hanging from the ceiling to keep an eye on things. Wow, it must be nice.
Today the only thing scheduled for bikes was practice, so we didn't bother going down to FDR. Instead we went to Derek Adams and Matt Lippott's house where there are some really fun trails. We sessioned for a while with the boys. Me and Talem both crashed so we hung it up early. A lot of locals showed up, including Van Homan, who was ripping as usual. Burgers were cooked and beers were drunk. It was a wild night. The FBM team was there and they kept going out to the front yard. People were riding the trails way after dark. J-Rod transformed himself into the J-Monster and much head butting and bear-hugging was witnessed. It's all a blur now.
Dirt is going down at 1:00 today. We're all hurting (for various reasons), but we make it there on time. Each rider gets two runs and the best one counts. It was hard to see the whole course because of all the barriers. Here are the highlights from my tape recorder:
Ryan Geuttler has his dream run all worked out. It's a 720 on the second jump, then a double tailwhip, then a front flip. In his first try he didn't get back on after the double whip and crashed the front flip. Luke Parslow flip whipped the second set and front flipped the last set. Wow, who’s Luke Parslow? Brian Foster was doing huge downside whips over the hip, barely getting his feet back on. Ryan Guettler got his dream run down in the second round. Corey Bohan was doing some stylish one-foot tables down the first jump. Steven Murray went for a big 360 flip and crashed hard. Colin MacKay went down hard over the second jump trying a three whip. Ruel Erickson continues to be the only guy throwing decades on dirt. How long until that trick catches on? Fuzzy went down and apparently hurt his ankle. Joey Marks (aka Whitesnake) kept doing big flips on the last jump during his warm-up-runs (in between each rider's run, people were constantly taking warm-up-runs to stay loose). In his last run, he threw down a huge double flip whip. It was the trick of the contest and it nailed him third place. Mike Aitken 180ed the last set and was going a million miles an hour backward at the wallride, but he washed out before he got there.
I remember Nasty riding really good too, as well as Chris Doyle, as usual. Ryan Guettler won with his dream run. He’s really stacking up the greenbacks after winning street AND dirt at the Dew Tour just a few days ago. After dirt I walked over to the skatepark and watched a nice practice session. It occurred to me how rare this day was. Here I was watching some of the best riders in the world session FDR at 5 PM without one skater out there. From what I understand, that never happens. Later on around 8:30 the contest was getting started. It was pretty hard to find a decent place to watch. There were no bleachers. Once again, this was not your average bigtime TV contest. I decided to duck next to one of the camera cranes so I could see most of the course. I got there halfway through Van Homan's first run. He was flowing around and doing lines that I hadn't seen. Here's what I got from my recorder:
Brian Foster drops in and floats a huge transfer into the over vert corner. He carves too hard and hits the peninsula going super fast. He ejects over the bars, but he's okay. Then he tries to jump into the hump next to the big vert wall and cases hard. His run is screwed up but he doesn't seem to care.
Dave Dilleward did a no handed 180. Josh Harrington throws a stretched double seat grab nothing and then a big wallride to barspin, then a downside 50-50 grind around a bowled corner. Alistair Whitton started with a huge turndown transfer, then a no footed can-can over the doubles. Doubles? Yes, there are a few cement humps out there that make perfect doubles. Danny Hickerson did all his regular tech stuff along with a few whacky candy bar nosebonks.
Gary Young rode to Faith No More. He flew around the course at mach 10. Big tailwhip over the doubles. Fast lines and big tricks. Ryan Guettler Does a big 720, then a front flip attempt to bail. I think he likes those two tricks.
Morgan Wade scares people with his riding. He does things that just aren't safe. At FDR there is a vert wall with a small, quick transition and about six or seven feet of vert. Airing out of it at all is pretty crazy. Morgan Wade cranked at it full speed and aired ten feet out of it. It seemed impossible, but he landed fine and went right into his run. Michael Cleveland threw a huge downside tailwhip. Colin MacKay pulled a 90 tailwhip to fakie over a hip. Gary Young did a huge alleyoop transfer from the vert wall into a hump.
There was more than that, but my batteries went dead. I remember that Morgan Wade did his crazy air out of the vert wall again, then hit the big hip and hung up hard. He destroyed his sprocket I think. He borrowed Josh Harrington's bike and took about 7 second to get used to it before he flung a perfect 720. Brian Foster did his huge gap perfect the second time around then jumped into the hump really smooth. Gary Young ended up winning with his super fast lines and huge transfers.
This contest was really laid back and enjoyable. Not at all like the few "Big Time" TV contests I’ve been to. If this is what all the extreme nonsense we had to endure a few years ago gets us, then I'll take it. Why not have the next one at Burnside?
Thanks to: J-Rod, Kyle Morris, The Flow Skatepark (Best indoor park ever) Alison Eshelman, Bart de Jong, Talem Cowart, Matt Lippott, Derek Adams.
Pics by Talem Cowart.
Gravity Games Bike Dirt Results:
NAME HOMETOWN SCORE
1. Ryan Guettler Huntington Beach, CA 97.0
2. Luke Parslow Riverside, CA 95.0
3. Joey Marks Fort Wayne, ID 93.5
4. Mike Aitken Murray, UT 92.75
5. Corey Bohan Corona, CA 91.75
6. Chris Doyle Pittsburgh, PA 90.75
7. Cameron White Hermosa Beach, CA 90.25
8. T.J. Lavin Las Vegas, NV 88.5
9. Dave Dillewaard Corona, CA 87.0
10. Scott Wirch Greenville, NC 87.0
11. Steven McCann Woodward, PA 87.0
12. Colin Mackay Greenville, NC 86.75
13. Paul Kintner Seattle, WA 85.25
14. Reuel Erickson Henderson, NV 85.25
15. Cory Nastazio Riverside, CA 84.75
16. Brian Foster South Plainfield, NJ 81.0
17. Rob Darden Greenville, NC 80.5
18. Fuzzy Hall Kaysville, UT 76.25
19. Allan Cooke Greenville, NC 76.0
20. Stephen Murray Riverside, CA 75.25
Gravity Games Bike Park Results:
NAME HOMETOWN SCORE
1. Gary Young San Diego, CA 93.25
2. Josh Harrington Greenville, NC 90.5
3. Alistar Whitton Woodward, PA 90.0
4. Morgan Wade Tyler, TX 90.0
5. Dave Dillewaard Redcliff, AUS 89.5
6. Brian Foster South Plainfield, NJ 89.0
7. Van Homan Downingtown, PA 88.5
8. Allan Cooke Greenville, NC 87.0
9. Mike Laird Greenville, NC 85.5
10. Ryan Guettler Huntington Beach, CA 85.25
11. Mike Cleveland Temecula, CA 83.25
12. Colin Mackay Greenville, NC 83
13. Danny Hickerson Channelview, TX 79.5
14. Mike Aitken Murray, UT 78.75
15. Jeremy Fanberg Greenville, NC 77.5
16. Dave Osato Vancouver, BC 77.5
17. Tom Haugen Orlando, FL 77.0
18. Scott Wirch Greenville, NC 74.25
The vert contest was held at Woodward camp. If you are interested on who did what, read on:
BIKE VERT Final Results
GOLD - Jamie Bestwick
SILVER - Dennis McCoy
BRONZE - Kevin Robinson
4. Dave Mirra
5. Chad Kagy
6. Koji Kraft
7. Jay Eggleston
8. Tom Stober
9. John Parker
10. Tom Haugen
11. Ben Snowden
12. Rob Nolli
13. Jason Branham
14. Keith McElhinney
15. Steven McCann
16. Jeremy Fanberg
17. Zack Warden