|Date: , 1987.
Place: Austin, Texas.
John Ker, BMX Plus! september 1987: The first thing you realize at a freestyle contest nowadays is how many incredibly good riders there are. If you went to the AFA's latest round of Freestyle Masters competition, in Austin, Texas, you know what we mean. There were 196 entries, and almost all of them were hot.
|John Ker, BMX Plus! september 1987: Dennis McCoy had missed the last AFA contest in Oregon because of injuries suffered in a nasty quarterpipe crash a few days earlier, but he was back in his prime this month. Dennis slowed down his ground routine a little for this event, but he rode even more perfectly as a result. He started out with a cancan nose wheelie that went into a slider, then into a sweeper and from there into a side glide, then a boomerang. From there he did a double fire hydrant, a decade, a rollback, a 180 thingamajigger, a bar hop, a Peterson surf, a front-wheel spin and a Wilker whip. Tired yet? Skip ahead if you are. There's more. Then he did a G-string squeaker into I-hops into a Miami hopper, into a mega spin, into a triple ankle buster, into a little handstand, then a fire hydrant, a cherrypicker, an over-and-out, a backwards wheelie in a circle, a fire hydrant, a squeaker, then a triple squeaker-whip, a tail whip back into I-hops, into a side-squeak-in-a-circle fork wheelie, then a step-over, a run along the tire, and he finished with some high-speed footwork. We think he touched twice in all that. He won Pro Flatland.
R.L. Osborn has been in the top ranks of freestyle for as long as freestyle has existed. R.L. whipped and spun his bike through a great routine, as usual, but he lost to Dennis. If it's any consolation to R.L., we thought it was a closer battle than the judges' scores suggest. R.L. is good.
Woody Itson has had more broken bones in his foot and ankle in the last few months than we can keep track of. Though the bones in his foot were still healing from his latest accident, Woody decided it was essential to ride this contest anyway, lest he disappear from the magazines for good. His gamble worked. Woody rode out onto the floor and began knocking off perfect trick after perfect trick, with showmanship and flair and everything. The crowd sighed audibly when he finally dabbed a foot almost halfway through his run, but he touched only once or twice more, and the crowd dug it. Woody said later that he rode slower and more carefully than usual because of the broken foot. It paid off in smoothness. Woody got third and was stoked.
The crowd went wild when Eddie Fiola rode onto the floor. It was his first contest in months and an unexpected pleasure. Eddie's shoulder problems are still holding him back from total redness, but he made a good show anyway He tied with Rich Sigur for sixth place in Pro Flatland and got fifth in Pro Ramp. Eddie told us that he is going to wait until after GT's summer tour is over before undergoing the operation that will keep his shoulder from popping out of joint so easily.
We'd never heard of this guy before, but Kevin Jones absolutely ripped in the 19 & Over Flatland class. We don't even know how to describe some of his tricks. One was a backwards pedal picker squeaker. Another was a double boomerang. Another one looked like a no-handed backwards infinity roll wheelie performed while sitting on the end of the handlebars, which were turned 90 degrees. At least, that's what we think it was. He had so many hot tricks in his run that some of the crowd booed when the judges gave him only second place. He will return.
Rick Moliterno has been the top gun in the 19 & Over Flatland class for over a year now. It's almost taken for granted that he will win the class if he shows up. He had some tough competition here from Kevin Jones, but Rick has risen to challenges before. He came out doing his cancan reverse nose wheelie, went from that into a floater (a backwards wheelie in a circle with the front wheel spinning), and from there into an over buster (one of his ankle-buster variations). It was hard to keep track of everything, because Rick strung his tricks together fast and flawlessly. He did a squeaker into a backwards pedal picker, went from there into an upside down wheelie in a circle, then a Dizz slide, and then into a surfer. He did some fast footwork on the front wheel, then a G-turn smoothie, a cancan slider, and finished it all with a bionic quick spin. He never touched down. The class was his.
What does a guy do when he's so far ahead of the other guys in his ramp class that they don't even have a chance against him? If the guy is Matt Hoffman, he starts competing in 14-15 Flatland. Matt came out on Saturday and put together a very respectable flatland routine, complete with a pedal picker and lots of other tricks. He even tried one trick that he invented -a bar-spin surfer, in which he does a surfer and then kicks the bars 360 degrees and keeps riding. It's a great trick when he pulls it off, but he crashed twice while trying it here. He ended up 12th out of 25 for the day, and teammate Scotty Freeman won the class.
Seeing hot new tricks for the first time is one of the things that makes a contest memorable. One of the hottest moves of this contest was pulled off by Brian Tulk. Brian was doing a backwards pedal picker, and somehow he jumped up and spun the bike around into a regular pedal picker without getting down. At least, that's what we think he did. We'd never seen anything like it before and had to ask Rick Moliterno to analyze it. All we knew was that Tulk did a trick that was so hard to figure out, we couldn't even tell what we'd seen.
OSD, www.pedalbmx.com: Kevin Jones made his AFA debut in Texas in 1987 in the 19 expert class I believe. Rick Moliterno was the man to beat in those days in that same class. Anyway, my version of the story is... Kevin had an awesome run of mostly original tricks that had NEVER been seen the masses before that contest. He rode like he came from outer space... I couldn't believe it. Here is some of the tricks that I can remember (elephant glide, standing up no-handed backwards infinity roll, coasting locomotive...) Rick had a polished run of really hard (above standard at the time) tricks. He was the points leader in the AFA series at the time. He are some of the tricks from his run that I can remember (squeaker into backwards pedal picker, fast quick spins, fire hydrant to whatever...anything) The final results were shocking to me. Rick first, Kev second. Both guys were/are awesome riders. Judges sometimes see things differently than the riders do. The crowd knew who won... they were so loud after Kev's run they didn't stop for a couple minutes afterward. Some standing and screaming, banging on the bleachers with their feet, the announcer had to ask them to stop! I personally believe the judges just didn't know what they had all witnessed. The whole sport changed after that contest. After that, all you saw at contests were people trying forward rolling tricks, the whole direction changed. All the magazines wanted to talk to Kevin Jones and find out about where this revolution of trick came from. Kevin won most of the AFA contests that he entered for Skyway ( I don't think it was for himself so much, other than to get paid ). Rick Moliterno moved up to the Pro Class shortly after that contest and was one of the first to enbrace the "new" style. That contest, hands down, was the turning point in flatland. Period.
|Pro flatland: 1.Dennis McCoy 2.R.L. Osborn 3.Woody Itson 4.Rick Allison 5.Dave Nourie 6.Rich Sigur (tie) 6.Eddie Fiola (tie) 8.Maurice Meyer 9.Robert Peterson (tie) 9.Chris Lashua (tie) 11.Fred Blood|
Kevin Jones stunned the crowd with the most innovative riding of the whole contest. This locomotive is just one of his tricks. (Jones landed a sponsorship from Skyway after the contest.)
19 and over expert flatland: 1.Rick Moliterno 2.Kevin Jones 3.Dino DeLuca 4.Kevin Lau 5.Pete Kearney
16-18 expert flatland: 1.Reynaldo Santillan 2.Brett Hernandez 3.Gary Pollack 4.Manuel Olvera (tie) 4.Mike Loveridge (tie) 4.James Johnson (tie) 4.Karl Rothe (tie) 4. Mark McKee (tie) 4.Jeff Cotter (tie)
14-15 expert flatland: 1.Scott Freeman 2.Park Carter 3.Ruben Castillo 4.Trevor Hernandez 5.Chris Romeo 12.Matt Hoffman
13 and under expert flatland: 1.Carl Argila 2.Philip Flock 3.Greg Macomber 4.Eric Evans 5.Eddie Montalongo
|John Ker, BMX Plus! september 1987: Dennis McCoy ripped in the Pro Ramps class, with high airs and tough variations, including a 540 that was variously estimated at somewhere between four-and-a-half and seven feet above the lip. If he hadn't crashed, he would have finished higher than the fourth he got. No matter, he still won the Overall Pro title. When asked what he thought about the new Isuzu truck that American Freestyler Magazine is giving to the top pro at the end of the year, Dennis joked, "I'm already widening my garage."
Mike Dominguez is a mystery. When you read a list of the tricks he does in his Pro Ramps run, it doesn't always sound all that impressive. Josh White (who wasn't at the contest because of GT's Asian tour) and Todd Anderson usually blow Michael away in the variations department. Michael has something special, however. Some kind of mystical grace lets him win a contest with relatively easy tricks, except for his amazing 540s. Michael did do some variations here: a fakie air four feet out, a 540 about four feet out, a no-footer, a high X-up, a one-hand one-footer, and a high turndown are the ones we recall. It may not sound very incredible, but almost everybody who saw the run knew that Michael had won again. There's just something special about the way he rides that says, "this guy is great." Maybe it's the altitude he gets, maybe it's the 540s, maybe it's the style. Whatever it is, it works.
Brian Blyther is the kind of guy who blends into the background when he's not riding. Nobody would know who Blyther is, if it weren't for the fact that he's one of the best ramp riders in the world. He hit the highest airs of the contest here -about nine feet out-but his 540s weren't as high as Michael's, so Brian came in second.
In the last few months, Dave Voelker has been blowing minds with his aerial radness. He did it again. His airs were close to nine feet out, and his variations were radical, including one of his ultra-high no-handers, a pivoting footplant and a flyaway bike-grabber. The real battle in this contest was for second place. Dino DeLuca and Monte Hill tied in their initial runs, despite the fact that Dino crashed at the end of his run and broke his hand. When a run-off was called, Dino had his hand taped up and they rode again. and tied again. When Dino refused to ride in another tiebreaker, the judges went back and counted the high and low scores that had been dropped before. Dino got the decision and the crowd cheered.
Gary Pollak has always impressed us as a good all-around rider. This time he impressed us as a great all-around rider. In the past, his flatland riding has been his greatest strength, but this time his ramp riding was equally spectacular, maybe even more so. His airs were up in the six-to-seven-foot region, and they included a one-footed invert, a no-footed cancan, a one-hand, one-footed invert, a lookback and more. He also did an abubaca and a 540 about two feet out. Thirty guys rode in the class, and Gary got first. Fifty-eight guys rode in his flatland class, and Gary got third. Pollak is on the verge of superstardom.
Matt Hoffman did his usual thing in 14-15 Ramps on Sunday -he totally ripped! The judges gave him 94 points. No one else in the class broke 90. The only bad aspect about Matt's routine was that he forgot to do his no-footed cancan. Obviously, it didn't matter too much.
Mike Dominguez lookback.
Pro ramp: 1.Mike Dominguez 2.Brian Blyther 3.Todd Anderson 4.Dennis McCoy 5.Eddie Fiola 6.Rich Sigur
19 and over expert ramp: 1.Dav Voelker 2.Dino DeLuca 3.Monte Hill 4.Marty Schlesinger 5.Rick Moliterno
16-18 expert ramp: 1.Gary Pollack 2.Steve Swope 3.Chris Rothrock 4.Tim Rogers 5.Robert Smart (tie) 5. Chris Potts (tie) 5. T.J. Fallon (tie)
14-15 expert ramp: 1.Matt Hoffman 2.Beau Cobb 3.Joel Alamo 4.Bill Swoope (tie) 4.Danny Lupold (tie) 4.Thad Miller (tie)
13 and under expert ramp: 1.Ryan Lee Dunmann 2.Eric Evans 3.Eben Krackau 4.Greg Macomber 5.Zane Trisler
|John Ker, BMX Plus! september 1987: Are scooters just a fad? Well, we don't think they are, but some people have been wondering about it, just the same. In the meantime, while the rest of the country is trying to figure out the answer to that question, the AFA has chosen to act. They've decided that scooters and freestyle were made for each other. The AFA introduced scooter competition to its riders in Oregon two months ago, at the last AFA Masters contest. Four riders entered the scooter ranks then. Fifteen entered this time. There's no telling what will happen at the next contest. In the meantime, Ruben Castillo has clearly emerged as the hottest rider in the scooter wars. A native of Austin, Texas, Ruben rolled onto the floor in this contest and rode his scooter the way scooters have never been ridden before. Decades, infinity rolls, boomerangs and bar rides are only a few of the tricks he can do... and he does them well. Ruben rips in the bicycle freestyle ranks, too. He turned in a third-place performance on his bike in the 14-15 Flatland class in Austin, in addition to winning the 15 & Under Expert class in the scooter ranks. He's a guy to watch.|