Pegged is a bmx blog edited by Teddy Parker.
The most nerve-racking event in the entire X Games was definitely the best part this year. Seeing the best big air athletes put together such amazing runs and score so closely is what it's all about. The judges must have wanted to get up and walk away when they were simply faced with the decision: Zack Warden's backflip bikeflip to triple whip or Steve McCann's no-handed double frontflip to double whip... Let's take a look at the top 5:
1. Steve McCann (92.33)
2. Zack Warden (92.00)
3. Kevin Robinson (91.00)
4. Chad Kagy (90.66)
5. Morgan Wade (89.00)
Yes, it was splitting hairs and every rider probably went home feeling like a winner for performing the way they did, or hurting from the numerous slams all weekend. Speaking of the slams, Chad Kagy returned this year and landed in 4th place after breaking his femur at last year's event. His femur. Otherwise known as the worst bone to break in your body. It's good to see K-Rob, the 3-time gold winning champion of this discipline, back on the podium adding to his collection of metal pieces from X Games at home. It's even better to see Zack Warden, the most underrated rider in big air history, finally receive the fruit of his labor. A well-deserved silver medal should make up for all the underscored years in the past. But the big props go to Steve McCann for repeating in Big Air and setting up a chance to beat Kevin Robinson's record 2 ins in a row next year for this event.
videos courtesy of ESPN X Games youtube
SIX GOLD MEDALS IN A ROW!!! Oh, I'm sorry I had to get that out. You would have to take his legs out to beat him. Luckily for you, if you didn't watch it live, you won't be able to see his final wall as the intern camera man thought the stands looked better. Bestwick always wins by a landslide victory, and usually I would complain about it but this year was all about consistency, something a six-in-a-row gold medalist may know something about. He wins by a whopping 14 point gap because he does not fall, he does not waste an inch of air, he does not doubt himself for a second because he performs like this every time. So, let's take a look at this year's top 5 in BMX vert:
1. Jamie Bestwick (86.00)
2. Vince Byron (72.00)
3. Simon Tabron (72.00)
4. Steve McCann (70.00)
5. Austin Coleman (64.00)
Vince Byron slipped the pedals, Simon Tabron slipped the pedals, Steve McCann slammed in both vert and big air. It was a struggling back of the pack, scrambling for an opportunity to dethrone the King of England (just kidding, but seriously) Jamie Bestwick. It is that way because you have to do your very best and nothing less to even get close to this guy. But what I want to know, is where these young guys are falling short... Mat Hoffman could have nearly beat Bestwick years ago at the age of "how is his body still putting up with him". Young vert riders like Byron need to dial a gold medal winning run in a week prior to the X Games and come to the competition with it seared into his mind. Get on Bestwick's level of excellence, do not fall, and you can prevail. Watch the highlight videos below... (Or don't...)
videos courtesy of ESPN X Games youtube
I may be a little perturbed this year's course was almost identical to last year, but at least last year's course was great so they're repeating good results. Not sure how the riders felt, but at the end of the day they know what to do: hit that box jump (or whatever looks like one) and dance like a beautiful upside down ballerina. That said, let's take a look at this year's top 5 from BMX park:
1. Scott Cranmer (79.00)
2. Ryan Nyquist (77.00)
3. Pat Casey (76.00)
4. Brett Banasiewicz (75.00)
5. Drew Bezanson (70.00)
I understand Nyquist won by a point so it really came down to second run performance, but look at the video replays below. Now look at the run scores in the descriptions, 41 for Nyquist and 38 for Casey. Well, I ain't no fancy paid competition judge 'er nuthin' but shucks... That's wrong. I will never denounce Nyquist's riding or any of his FOURTEEN X Games medals but I will stand up for a young gun who may have been a victim of veteran influence.
Nyquist's 41 means he tied Cranmer for best run score and it only came down to second run scores... Nyquist's run below tied Cranmer's run. Nyquist puts a lot of depth into his runs by Cranmer did a double whip flip and fuf'd the crowd railing for bits and giggles. Definitely the most exciting rider on the course this year.
Only person who can be more exciting is Drew Bezanson who lacked the ever necessary shock and awe of ground breaking tricks. In the end, Bezanson will make the best video part out of the entire top 5 so don't feel about his fifth place. And just missing on the podium by one point is Brett Banasiewicz, someone who probably wishes X Games still had a dirt discipline. One of the most progressive riders on the course, he couldn't find enough box jumps on the entire course to take home some hardware.
videos courtesy of ESPN X Games on youtube
Ever since the street discipline was added for BMX in 2008, Garrett Reynolds has not missed a beat. You would think after the discipline has developed more it would be tougher for him to hold the title, but nobody uses the course like Reynolds and nobody shocks the crowd and the judges like Reynolds. The only rider close to dethroning him is young gun Chad Kerley who's technical prowess is being respectfully rewarded in his recent competitions. That said, let's take a look at this year's top 5 riders in X Games BMX Street:
1. Garrett Reynolds (85.00)
2. Chad Kerley (83.00)
3. Dakota Roche (69.00)
4. Jeremiah Smith (69.00)
5. Simone Barraco (68.00)
Reynolds and Kerley may have had an intense battle for who takes gold and who manages silver, but the three riders below them had an absolute duke fest over who goes home with a (bronze) medal and who goes home empty handed. Dakota Roche ran on the success of last year and repeated his result so he can take home another bronze medal as a mantle piece. I'm sure he'd like to add some different colors to his house in the future.
Tying Roche's score was Jeremiah Smith, however Jeremiah would end up missing from the podium I am assuming from a raw point total or previous scores since these level of competitions rarely do a tie-breaking scenario. And I think the big story of this top 5, beside sof course Garrett Reynolds winning five gold medals in a row, is young Simone Barraco from Italy who has a future street rider's style. He is the epitome of making it look easy when he's doing some of the most difficult maneuvers anybody's doing, something Garrett Reynolds is no stranger to. If this wasn't his first X Games, I daresay he would have finished higher. Give him time to blossom into a judge impressing, time filling machine and he'll be at least podium next year.
Below will be the postings of the confirmed riders attending this summer's X Games for each discipline, but first are some updates regarding a few riders from the list below.
The street event is going to get shaken up a bit as Nathan Williams and Ty Morrow will miss the event, both due to injury. In their place will be Rob Wise and Simone Barraco, two rather opposing styles of BMX from a big banger heavy hitter to a smooth as hell street technician. Both are welcome additions who will get their shot at dethroning the all time BMX street king, Garrett Reynolds. Filling the now empty alternate spots in the street event are Brian Kachinsky and Josh Harrington.
Also missing the event due to injury is Sergio Layos, leaving a spot open in BMX park which now belongs to Ben Hennon. Hope he got the news earlier than us because he has to plan an LA trip quick. Hennon is a hardcore park rat, a muscular power rider. No scrawny leg, tight jean wearing kiddy moves here. Considering where the park event has gone the past few years, he will be a welcome addition to the high flying and transfer finding riders who have excelled as of late.
A couple riders took this opportunity to make some "power moves" in the industry. Daniel Dhers signs with Specialized in timely fashion. He had a long run with KHE, but as he progresses his career he probably wanted to find a company to keep going in that direction. We'll see if the notion works out as he goes for 3-in-a-row in park. Also making a move, albeit a more personal decision than career decision, is vert legend DMC (Dennis McCoy) going back to the company that slipped through his fingers at the beginning of his career, Haro. Being more of a flow rider now, he may want to find a place to settle down and feel like part of a team. In any case, I'm glad he felt the need to be a part of the company which was on top of the industry in his earlier years.
BMX Big Air
Ben Hennon (taking Sergio Layos' former spot)
Simone Barraco (taking Ty Morrow's former spot)
photo courtesy of MellonBMX.com