Saturday, August 6, 2005
Updated: May 14, 11:58 AM ET
BMX Vert Best Trick: Bestwick is Best
By Alyssa Roenigk
Quick: Which rider is having the Best Week Ever?
A little help: He recently became a dad. He's two-for-two in the gold medal category at X Games 11. And his name is two letters from being BestTrick.
In Saturday night's BMX Freestyle Vert Best Trick contest, Jamie Bestwick lived up to his name. He was fresh off winning his third Vert gold medal Thursday night and looked like he was riding on even fresher legs. It took him all of five minutes to drop into the BMX history books and ride off with a win.
In 2003, at a little-known event called the X Games Global Championships in San Antonio, Tex., Bestwick landed the first tailwhip flair. Saturday, in Best Trick, he doubled his gold medal count by doubling up his signature trick and landing the first double tailwhip flair. For all you BMX layfolk watching at home, that's a backflip 180 with two spins of the bike's backside. The trick earned him the first gold medal in the X Games newest event.
Before the 30-minute jam began, contest organizer Mat Hoffman said he'd dreamed of adding the event for years, and was thrilled it finally made the cut. "You guys are in for a treat," he said, looking out at the crowd. His theory: A Best Trick contest would allow riders to attempt new, progressive tricks without worrying about sticking an entire 90-second run. "A lot of history is going to go on tonight," he said. "I'm nervous, but excited." Dude called it.
Dave Mirra, just four hours removed from winning BMX Park and soaring his X Games medal ticker to 19, landed a skyscraper-high tailwhip flair and a smooth double tailwhip. He finished second in the inaugural contest. Medal 20 for the Miracle Man.
State College local Chad Kagy, who could wage his own campaign for that miracle-boy title, stuck a flatspin tailwhip over the channel early on in the contest. Less than two years ago, Kagy broke his neck attempting a double backflip at the Gravity Games and had surgery to fuse three vertebrae. Toward the end of the Best Trick session, Kagy gave the crowd quite a scare. On the second wall of his run, he attempted a triple tailwhip, the most-talked-about whisper trick headed into Saturday's contest, but crashed hard on the landing. He knocked himself out, laid on the flatbottom for a few minutes and then stood up and walked off the ramp unassisted. Rumor had it that Mirra would also try the trickand that he had it dialedbut Kagy's was the only triple-tail attempt of the night
Kagy's neighbor and close friend Kevin Robinson, who has made no secret of his obsession with landing the double flair, knocked himself out of medal contention midway through the session. After coming up short on his first three attempts at the doublethe same trick he tried several times during his Vert runs at the 2004 X Gameshe overrotated on his next try and injured his shoulder. Visibly in pain, Robinson gave it one more go, but overrotated in almost identical fashion, landed on his injured shoulder and then retired for the night. He finished in 10th place, but not before making Hoffman, his sponsor-numero-uno, sound awfully clairvoyant.
The crowd was treated. History was made. The sport progressed. And the riders left room for improvement.
Vert legend Dennis "DMC" McCoy, who finished seventh in Best Trick, is the oldest BMX competitor at the X Games. (He's 38.)
Australian rider Tim Wood threw the second 900 of the night, a super-high, textbook version of the trick. He finished sixth. (DMC" threw the first.)