Gold did not pay off..
Another year for the X Games here in Los Angeles...as I head out on the busy freeways of Southern California to see the Finals of BMX Vert....which was promising, considering Mirra needed to make up for last year. This is something he had in mind when you could spot Mirra from a mile away with his 24K Gold Plated bike!!! For the old skool buffs out there, they might recall Woody's 24k gold Trickstar from back in the day, but this was Mirra's way of saying that he wanted it bad...
Once we found our suite (yes, suite... Adam from Sole Technology was nice enough to hook me up a prime seat in their suite) and while zipping on some beers with Beau (Brown), Taj (Michelich) we were waiting impatiently for the show to start...which I always felt the X Games kind of was....
11 riders and one ramp, bigger then most skate parks, is was about to get crazy....here are just some highlights of the show. The first run was ridden pretty carefully by everyone, having Chad Kagy still doing some serious stuff like double whips, back to back flairs, bar spin to whip...watch out...John Parker double whipping it...and The Beast(Jay Miron) killing it with his HUGE 540 Whip....DMC wasn't looking to happy when the announcer kept mentioning the "oldest" competitor in X Games, which did not even show in his runs...always liked DMC and I'd like to see you competing at his age.
Kevin Robinson killed it, he is a big guy that likes to fly high..too bad he
crashed on his opposite flair, since his run was flawless up till then. You
think bikes go high in ramps at your local demo, until you see Bestwick drop in. Jamie goes higher and bigger then all, it is amazing to see how a 6'1" guy just makes it look so simple...he ruled it by taking out all the tricks in his bag, Whip flair, Skyscraper size 540's, etc...And there was
Mirra...up for his first run...damn that's a blinging bike...he rode like a
rock star, did everything was he was supposed to do (both ways), until he was setting himself up for something big...where he crossed the channel and simply went down...landed awkward and the gold handlebars stuck him straight in the chest...he was out. He was out? That was it for Mirra...and it wasn't the only crash taking people out.
Second run started and I am not sure if some riders were happy Mirra was out, but it gave them a chance to move up on spot higher in the
rankings..Tim Wood from Australia was doing really well, it was his first US X Games and showed he (almost) had a 900 in him...I think he was heavily underrated in this contest. Koji Kraft made sure everybody got out of their seats for a second by cheering up the crowd. But then John Parker was next...he was riding so well, until he tried a whip to barspin, where he went down hard. So hard the stretcher had to come out and really hope to see him pull that trick in the nearer future. Get well soon John. Robinson did pull his opposite flair in the second run, which got him Bronze 3 years in a row now. And there was former teammate Chad Kagy who swooped up silver for second, with another crazy consistent run...Bestwick was up and what can you say? Whip flair, huge 540's, footplant flair and everything else you dream off as a vert rider, done at a height you can't even think off. He took gold again this year and showed the world that there is future in BMX Vert.
Michael de Wit
Ps. Thanks to Adam, Brie, Taj, Paul and Beau at Sole Technology for the beers and cheers...
Photos by Kohlman/EXPN