|Date: november 21-22, 1987.
Place: Velodrome, Los Angeles, California
It was the last contest of the year for the AFA, and everybody came. Well, almost everybody. Rick Moliterno had already clinched the 19 & Over Expert Flatland and Overall titles, so he went on a promotional trip to Europe. Joe Johnson couldn't make it due to an injury -he put out his back by sneezing (no-footed cancans don't affect him, but a cold can cripple him).
Anyway, the weather was great. The AFA rented the 7-Eleven Olympic Velodrome at California State University at Dominguez Hills, Carson, California, right outside Los Angeles. They prayed it wouldn't rain, and it didn't.
Socko Natural Thirst Quencher sponsored the event and handed out free glasses of Socko all weekend long. Odyssey set up a booth on the infield and had an ace mechanic provide free repairs to all competitors. Any rider who wanted new parts on his bike could trade in his old parts (including brakes), and the mechanic would put on the new Odyssey parts for free.
The big excitement of the weekend was seeing who would win the Pro Flatland and Pro Ramp titles for the year. Nickelodeon was filming the event for television, so the AFA scheduled the two classes to be run in the daytime.
A.F.A VELODROME 1987 from BONES on Vimeo.
The war for top Flatland Pro in the AFA had come down to Martin Aparijo, R. L. Osborn and defending champ Dennis McCoy. There were 12 guys in the class, but after months, it had come down to the same three guys, and each had a shot at the title.
R. L. Osborn was the first of the three to ride, and he came out rippin He started whipping through strings of combination moves, boomerangs, tail-whip combos, rivets and a lot of new moves that we couldn't even describe, including one backwards wheelie with his right foot on the left peg. The crowd was in a state of frenzy when he finished. It wasn't a perfect routine, but it was hot.
Martin Aparijo came out next and started knocking off his best collection of framestand, surfer and barride moves, and then went through an assortment of other moves, including a radical no-handed backyard in circles.
Dennis McCoy came out next, and things immediately started going wrong. The music man cued up the wrong song on the tape player, and Dennis stopped his run to set things straight. It took about ten minutes to get the music cued right, after which Dennis finally started. Dennis knew this run would determine the Flatland title for the year, and it looked as though the pressure had gotten to him. He rode okay, but it wasn't anything close to what he's capable of. He had purposely cut down on the difficulty of this routine so he could win easily, but he choked. He touched down five or six times, including two or three full step-offs, and at the end of his run, the disappointed crowd gave him considerably less applause than either Martin or R.L. had received.
By the time the class was completed, we couldn't even figure out for sure who had won. We thought R. L. or Martin might get it, or even Chris Lashua or Woody Itson, who both looked good, but the judges settled things by calling it in favor of Martin. The Pro Flatland title of 1987 was his.
The hottest flatland runs of the contest didn't even come from the pro ranks. One exceptional run was that of Chris Day, the guy Karl Rothe says could beat anybody in the world in a circle jam. Chris put together the hottest high-speed string of impossible-todescribe tricks we've ever seen in one routine. Near the end, almost everyone there was yelling for him. The other riders were so impressed that, when he ended, dozens ran out and carried him out of the arena. Somehow, he took only fifth in 16-18 Expert, behind Karl, Joe Gruttola and Darren Pelio, and four spots behind Jeff Cotter, who was hot enough to win the class.
The capper of the contest came from Kevin Jones. We don't know how to describe it, but Kevin seemed to spend half his time riding with the bike upside down and the rest of the time riding with the bike right-side up, and he did so on one wheel much of the time. He was riding so smoothly from one move to the next (and even inverting the bike while riding it), that nothing but tires ever touched the ground. It was a perfect run. He connected unbelievable new tricks in ways no one there had ever seen before. The 19 & Over Flatland class was his. If he had been in the Pro class, he would have won that, too.
Pro flatland: 1.Martin Aparijo 2.R.L. Osborn 3.Dennis McCoy 4.Woody Itson 5.Rick Alison 6.Dave Nourie 7.Eddie Fiola 8.Ron Wilkerson 9.Chris Lashua 10.(tie)Rich Sigur 10.(tie)Robert Peterson 12.Josh White
19 and over expert flatland: 1.Kevin Jones 2.Robert Castillo 3.Mike Loveridge 4.Jimmy Keating 5.Kevin Lau
16-18 expert flatland: 1.Jeff Cotter 2.Darren Pelio 3.Joe Gruttola 4.Karl Rothe 5.Chris Day
14-15 expert flatland: 1.Park Carter 2.Derek Schott 3.Stefan Scholz 4.Ruben Castillo 5.Mike Karanik
13 and under expert flatland: 1.Eric Evans 2.David Dugger 3.Gregg Macomber 4.Keith Walker 5.Bill Gawrynch
With matched sets of quarterpipes at both ends of the contest area, the AFA Masters Series Finals proved to be a ramp rider's dream.
Mike Dominguez, Brian Blyther and Ron Wilkerson all had a shot at the series title in Pro Ramps on Sunday theoretically, at least. The fact of the matter is, when Dominguez is hot, it's almost impossible to beat him.
Michael Dominguez hit the highest airs of the contest (about nine feet out), did a nofooted-cancan canyon crossing and a bunch of other stuff. He sketched on a footplant over the canyon, crashed on an X-up fakie and on his last move-a one-handed one-footer 540 canyon crossing-but just barely missed pulling it off cleanly. It wasn't a perfect run, but it was radical.
Josh White came out with tricks such as a one-footed X-up canyon crossing, a high fakie, a fakie across the canyon, a no-footer cross-up, a one-hand onefooted invert and a 540 canyon crossing. His only mess-up was on an abubaca, when he had to jump off his bike.
Ron Wilkerson rode a really good run with a lot of tricks, including a high nohander, a pedalpicker drop-in, a crossarm one-hand one-footer, a 360 flyout over the canyon, a Miami hopper dropin and other drop-in tricks, a rocket air, a brand-new one-handed rocket air, a radical no-hander one-footer, a onefooted invert over the canyon, and a nohanded fakie-air. He fell only once, and that was after rolling back 30 feet from a fakie, but he completely lost his bike when he did it. It was a hot run, the best one Josh had ever seen Ron do, but the judges put Michael in first, Josh in second and Ron in third. Ron was shocked that he hadn't won. Michael was shocked, too. Even Josh said, "I think he [Wilkerson] should have gotten higher, but in order for him to get higher, I would have had to get lower, so I am happy with it." Ron was outraged, but the crowd and the judges appeared to be in agreement. Six judges picked Michael's run as the best of the class; one picked Ron's. Josh White tried to analyze the situation afterwards. "They want to see high airs," said Josh. "Ron didn't do enough high airs. He didn't do 540s. His dropins are losing popularity. He did a lot of cool variations, but he didn't go high enough." Ron, nevertheless, was really upset about the call, and it didn't help calm him down when Michael reportedly told him, "I don't understand it. I fell off my bike three times." Michael's comment reinforced Ron's opinion that he had gotten ripped off. Ron was so mad that he kicked over a box of stuff behind one ramp and picked up a bottle of Socko and smashed it into its case. The ramp title for the year had hinged on this contest, and Michael had won it. We thought he deserved it. Michael wasn't sure. Ron was bitter.
When he's not too busy riding a race bike, Mongoose's Steve Broderson occasionally likes to enter freestyle contests. His decision to ride in this one was good, second place in the 19 & Over Expert Ramp class.
Pro ramp: 1.Mike Dominguez 2.Josh White 3.Ron Wilkerson 4.Brian Blyther 5.Eddie Fiola 6.Dennis McCoy 7.Rich Sigur 8.Hugo Gonzales
19 and over expert ramp: 1.Dino DeLuca 2.Steve Broderson 3.Marty Schlesinger 4.Don Cook 5.Monte Hill
16-18 expert ramp: 1.Gary Pollack 2.Chris Rothrock 3.Bob Kohl 4.Scott Carrol 5.Tim Rogers
14-15 expert ramp: 1.Matt Hoffman 2.Joel Alamo 3.Ryan Lee Dunman 4.(tie)Kurtis Kunz 4.(tie)Mike Golden 4.(tie)R.J. Wolfe
13 and under expert ramp: 1.Eben Krackau 2.Eric Evans 3.Greg Macomber 4.Bill Gawrych 5.Zane Trisler
Mike Dominguez 540° transfer.
Mat Hoffman barhop.
Josh White unleases a cancan lookback at the 1987 AFA Masters finals on the cover of BMX Plus! march 1988.
|American Freestyler Magazine promised to award an Isuzu mini truck to the guy who won the Overall Pro title for the year. The man who can do it all. Haro and Adidas boy, Dennis McCoy had sewn up the title a month and a half earlier at the New Jersey contest for the second straight year, but that didn't seem to matter. Neither did the fact that Dennis didn't know how to drive a stick shift. The kid was clearly stoked when he was handed the keys.|