|Date: june 21-29, 1997
Place: Mission Beach, San Diego, California.
|Chris Hargrave, Ride BMX US october 1997: I was kind of interested to see how people would respond to flat since it was the first year actually having flat, but people seemed really psyched. So psyched, in fact, that once again the crowd spilled out into the vert bleachers to stare up at the mighty jumbotron. When it was all done, Day Smith ended up with tenth. Day suffered from cramps during his run, so he didn't ride too well, but he was witnessed throughout the day doing his upside down decade and antrider scuffs into stick bitches. Ninth place went to Dylan Worsley, ho was riding an ancient Hutch Trick Star. Dylan rode really well, doing cross-footed locomotive glides and junkyards on the pedals. Eighth place was Chris Young, who's managed to stay pretty low profile for a while. Chris rode with that smooth flow we all remember him with, working his way through cross-footed elephant glides and a perverted backwards rolaid. Sean Peters was the man in seventh, spinning himself dizzy with stuff like back wheel links into upside down megaspins. The crowd loves the spinny tricks, and they were screaming during Sean's entire run. Speed'll do that, I guess... Sixth place went to the always entertaining Chad Degroot. For this comp, Chad wore a shower cap and rode to Billy Ray Cyrus, which, oddly enough, didn't really surprise anyone. I think my favorite Chad trick was his karl kruizer into a stylish bar endo. Actually, I'm sure that was my favorite Chad trick. Aaron Behnke had some really solid runs. Runs solid enough to earn him fifth. Runs that contained tricks like cross-footed whiplashes to decades and rope-a-ronis to undertakers. Rolling no less. Bizarro. Fourth place went to the young upstart from Canada, Nathan Penonzek. Nate has a pretty original style with tricks like stubble ducks to gyrators on the pedals. In fact, if there's a back wheel combo, chances are Nathan can do it. Keith King's favorite trick Nathan did was when he barflipped into an opposite-footed wheelchair, and I think I have to agree. Third place went to fellow Canadian, Andrew Faris. Andrew's probably one of my favorite flat riders to watch, because he's got such a crazy original style, and this comp was no different. During his run he was seen doing hitchikers rolling backwards to barflip to forwards hitchiker. Figure that out if you can. Besides that, he also did a steam roller with the bars backwards to body varial to halfpacker. Andrew's tricks are as limitless as his collection of ultra-stylish bandannas. First and second were really close, and when it was over, Nate Hanson was in second. An impressive enough feat on its own, but the fact that he did it on Leo Dumlao's bike (his own got stolen) made it even more incredible. Nate rolled super-smooth through stuff like cross-footed hitch hikers while holding the seat, barflip hang 5s and his own back wheel bike flips from peg wheelies to opposite sided stick bitches. All with a straw in his mouth! Hessians represent! And the winner, to not too many people's surprise, was Trevor Meyer. The pressure was on Trevor, as all during practice they showed an interview with him on the jumbotron, which loomed high overhead. Trevor prevailed, though, and worked his way through combos like duck walk to opposite karl kruizer to pedal donuts scuffing inside, which then goes into a series of elephant glide spins, to backwards funky chickens... You get the gist. Trevor rocked. He almost messed up a few times, but managed to save it each time, and dazzled the crowd with all those backwards scuffing tricks that gets Paul Higgins so excited. After Trevor's run, the sun set, Woody ran over and gave him a big hug, and Mark Losey and I celebrated by going out and riding a roller coaster. It was a truly magical night.
1997 was the first year that the Flatland discipline was included in the X-Games. The contest received a warm welcome to the X-Games by nearly 5,000 spectators, a previously unheard of turnout for a flatland event.
Trevor Meyer dazzled the crowd, demonstrating why he was top ranked flatlander. He nailed a clean, highly technical run, and took the first X-Games Flatland gold medal.
The silver medal was awarded to Nate Hanson, who had to borrow a bike for his run after having his bike stolen from outside his hotel.
Andrew Faris finished just .6 of a point ahead of Nathan Penonzec to take the bronze.
Several Flatland athletes were overcome by nerves because of the large crowds, and did not perform as well as expected.
FLAT RESULTS 1.Trevor Meyer 2.Nate Hanson 3.Andrew Farris 4.Nathan Penonzek 5.Aaron Behnke 6.Chad Degroot 7.Sean Peters 8.Chris Young 9.Dylan Worsley 10.Day Smith 11.Lionel Cardoso
|Chris Hargrave, Ride BMX US october 1997: The street course was the coolest one I'd seen at an ESPN comp thus far. Lots of different lines possible, lots of variety and lots of ramps covered with rainbows and such. All of this, with the beach right there in the background. Scenic. Just the type of thing the folks at home want to see. A real Californian Utopia. Once the stands were good and packed and the cable cam secured in place, it was time for street finals. The crowd roared, and the one's who couldn't see, actually sat in the vert stands and watched things on a giant TV monitor. It was really crazy. In tenth place was Paul Buchanan. Paul's an amazing rider, and it was good to see him do well in such a hard class. In one of his runs, Paul went for a transfer over a rail and sacked his nuts harder than I've ever seen anyone do. To top it, he got straight up, and pulled a perfect 360 tailwhip. Those Canadians are a different breed, I tell ya. Ninth place went to Dave Freimuth. Dave looked like he still wasn't really used to his new bike, but rode great nonetheless. 360 tailwhips, alley-oop tailwhips over hips, disasters on the vert wall and all sorts of techno tricks gave Dave his usual flow. When he gets dialed on his new ride, things should be a little different. Dave Osato found himself in eighth, and rode the back-to-back spines like only Dave can. Dave gets best of show for doing a 360 nosepick over the first spine and an opposite 360 nosepick over the next. Indeed. Seventh went to Ron Kimler, who seemed quite happy on his new Schwinn. Ron had big smooth lines, and used the X-up to his full advantage. That boy's got a flow that makes Big Island yell "Yo, mad phat!" every single time. Sixth place went to my favorite guy to watch on the course, Mike "Rooftop" Escamilla. Mike gets a lot of flack for not jumping the box jump, but keep in mind... This is a STREET contest. True street lines are greatly appreciated, and besides, if all you want to do is jump, enter dirt. Enough said. Mike had a few rough spots in his finals runs, but with tricks like doing the huge rail backwards, rail transfers and lines not seen from anyone else all weekend long, he deserved to place well. Fifth place was all Ryan Nyquist. Ryan rode really well, and now is doing this thing where he does a half-barspin, and then does his crazy lines with his bars backwards. Ryan's really smooth and can jump well, but never really seems to utilize the whole course, except the jumps. If he gets more variety, he should be pretty darn hard to stop. Rob Nolli was the man in fourth. Ron rode with the consistent style you're used to seeing from him. 720s, flips, tailwhips, supermen... The whole shabang. I'm sure somewhere Woody was ecstatic. Now with Dave Voelker's third place finish, there seemed to be quite a bit of controversy... But don't worry, I was there and can let you know just what the judges were thinking. OK, so here goes... Now, the crowd loves the backflips. Man, do they love backflips. But the thing is, they really don't understand riding. It seemed to most present, most who don't ride, anyway, that backflips are where it's at. But we all know, it takes more than backflips and show tricks to be the best. Now I'm not saying Dave didn't ride well. He did. He rode amazing... Dave just didn't really put any emphasis on doing a huge variety of stuff. Granted, big no-handed flips and 720s are rad, but it takes a little more than that to win a contest. OK? Everyone happy now? Good. Now to our second place man, Dennis McCoy. D's a damn good example of what it takes to win. He uses the entire course as more than just a box jump. Huge flairs, lip tricks, amazing flow and big jumps like 720s and a brand new no-footed cancan backflip that left all stewing in our own juices. Dennis could've easily won, but a few wrecks kept him just out of reach of winning. And the win went to the man the kids love, Dave Mirra. Dave rode amazingly. Huge flairs, flips, decade jumps, 360 tailwhips, truckdrivers and that oh-so-smooth style that Mirra is known for. Variety is truly the greatest spice, and when Voelker pulled his theatrics for the crowd after seeing he was in third place, it made me feel even better that Mirra and Dennis placed higher. It's enough of a circus already, don't encourage it...
Dave Voelker returned to competition, after a 7-year hiatus, and pulled backflip after backflip, including a no hander, to take bronze medal. Towards the end of the contest, when it was revealed that McCoy had bumped him out of second place, Voelker dropped to his knees in disappointment where the crowd could see him, and threw his hands up to his head. The television cameras missed it the first time, so Dave did it again while the crowd booed as loud as they could at the judges.
ESPN loves riders to look wacky for the cameras, so Colin Winkleman went all out before the X Games and sported a bright orange "Krusty the Clown" haircut.
Dennis McCoy unveiled an amazing no-footed cancan backflip for his last trick.
After taking a harsh "between the legs" crash on a rail, canadian rider Paul Buchanan got up and pulled a crazy looking 360 tailwhip over the box jump.
STREET RESULTS 1.Dave Mirra 2.Dennis McCoy 3.Dave Voelker 4.Rob Nolli 5.Ryan Nyquist 6.Mike Escamilla 7.Ron Kimler 8.Dave Osato 9.Dave Freimuth 10.Paul Buchanan
Dave Mirra at the X-Games on the cover of Ride BMX US october 1997. Photo by Steve Buddendeck.
Xgames 97 BMX street Dave Voelker prelims run from benbmx.
Xtreme games 97 BMX street Rob Nolli run 1 from benbmx.
|Chris Hargrave, Ride BMX US october 1997: Joe Rich had been flown out to build the dirt jumps, and after a few traumatic days of scouring Southern California for some actual dirt, he managed to build some pretty launchable mounds. Joe and the others that had been there long enough for all of this to sink in assured me that this was all as wild as it initially seemed. The dirt jumps were built on a crazy huge hill, with a small double, a medium double, and then the big doubles at the bottom that immediately went into a berm. At the beginning, everyone seemed kind of skeptical, but after a few hits, the complaints seemed to taper off. As usual, the crowds were amazing. Amazing, and amazingly retarded, I should say. Once again, backflips reigned supreme here, and at one point, the judges actually got booed for scoring a tarantula jump low. What can you expect, though, from a crowd covered with tattoos most inmates would cringe at. My personal highlight here was Rick Thorne getting the crowd to shout "whoopee!" as the rider's hit the last double. Truly funny. In tenth place was the human billboard, Todd Lyons. Todd has a personal style all his own, and after seeing his big tricks like pulling his sunglasses out of his tramepad to cheesy mug for the camera, and using a number plate to cash in on that contingency money, I was certain of Todd's place in our sport's history. Ninth place went to the quiet kid from Titusville, Kris Bennett. Kris rode pretty well, doing no-handers to turndowns and no-footed cancans that were sweeter than a big ol'jug of Chianti. Very mod. Fuzzy Hall ended up in eight. Fuzzy had the typical Fuzzy style... Barspins, 360s and all that other good stuff. Ron Kimler ended up with seventh, and he seemed pretty stoked. Ron did stuff over all the doubles, and rode with that style that makes the judges give him good scores. Now that's writing! Sixth place went to Troy McMurray, who gets extra points for riding the jumps with no brakes. Troy was seen 360ing all three jumps in a row throughout the weekend, and during the comp ended all his runs with huge (and different) 360 variations. Very nice. Paul Buchanan held it together for fifth place. Paul's biggest trick was a tailwhip over the last doubles, an effort that pleased both the judges and the crowd. Fourth place went to Shaun Butler. Shaun rode really smooth, using barspins, 360 tailwhips and 360 cancans to his advantage. Third went to Ryan Nyquist, who kind of had a hard time in the finals. If Ryan would've rode like he did in practice, he could've easily won, I think. Ryan did his halfbarspin to combo stuff, and almost managed to 360 all three jumps in the finals. Wait until next year... Second place went to AA pro BMXer Brian Foster. Brian rode really, really smoothly (big shock), and did tricks over every single jump. Brian's 360s are one of the raddest things you'll ever see in your whole life. Plain and simple. And in first place, was TJ Lavin. TJ rode really well, and to the crowd's disbelief, didn't even do a single backflip. It had been really close between Brian and TJ, but when TJ tailwhipped the last double in his final run, it was all over.
3 doubles de plus en plus grosses en descente.
A burly downhill six-pack instead of a "one-jump-kill-yourself" style contest.
Ryan Nyquist bus to double bus, double bus to bus, double bus to x-up. In practice Ryan did 360s over the first two sets and then spun a perfect double truckdriver over the last set.
Reuel Erickson jumped through the first two sets and then went for a double backflip over the last set ! He spun a little too slow to pull it off, but he still came extremely close.
Steve Swope, TWBMX november 2004: It never even crossed my mind that we'd have shady dirt in California; I'd never built jumps or held a dirt contest there. We showed up in San Diego in 1997, I looked at the dirt and Joe Rich and Magilla were like, 'It's not going to work!' There were already 60 truckloads of dirt there. So we called and drove around to every dirt pit in SoCal, and I mean everywhere. We ended up finding pretty good stuff in Irvine, which is 75 miles away from San Diego. We got 70 truckloads of dirt shipped from Irvine. I think it cost over $10,000, and that was after they had already hauled all that other dirt in and had to have it hauled out.
T.J. Lavin, Ride BMX UK october 1998: I'd never landed a perfect tailwhip to pedals in my life. That was the first one I'd pulled and it's mainly because the jump was so big. You had a lot of time and I was just like "F-k it. I'm doing it." I went for the tailwhip because everybody was expecting me to flip. I'm positive I wouldn't have won if I'd done it. I just went balls out and did the tailwhip and it worked out. It was pretty crazy, best feeling in my whole life.
T.J. Lavin suicide no-hander.
DIRT RESULTS: 1-TJ Lavin 2-Brian foster 3-Ryan Nyquist 4-Shaun Butler 5-Paul Buchanan 6-Troy McMurray 7-Ron Kimler 8-Tim fuzzy Hall 9-Kris Bennet 10-Todd Lyons
|Chris Hargrave, Ride BMX US october 1997: Vert is always the final event at the X-Games, and from the excitement shown, it's no wonder. People love the big air. Tenth place went to Pat Miller, who's no stranger to the big air. Pat was going super-high, spinning 540s all over the place and occasionally throwing in the variations. If Pat had more variations, he could easily be a top contender. Ninth place was all Jimmy Walker. Jimmy's getting to be pretty damn good, and he's got some of the coolest looking toboggans on vert that I've seen. Very erotic. Eighth place went to the punkest guy in freestyle, Rick Thorne. Rick's another one that's pretty damn consistent, and when he dedicated his tailwhip footplant to me, it gave me the shivers. Thanks, Rick. Dave Osato's starting to go pretty damn high these days. High enough to get him in seventh. It's starting to show that he rides vert with Jay Miron, because he's got the dog piss down. Dave also threw in a downside toothpick and a tailwhip nosepick to remind everyone that he's got the skills, to which we all responded with a rousing "wahoo!" Sixth place went to new American, Jason Davies. Jason looked a little rough during the comp, but still did tons of variations back to back, as well as an opposite-sided Iookback. Fifth place went to John Parker. John goes super high, spins the 540s, double barspins, tweaks the no-footed cancans... John's good, it's just that he usually blows up at some point in his runs. Here was no exception. John spent a lot of time getting it back together after falling, but if he keeps it together for a few good runs, he could easily be a contender, too. Fourth place went to Englishman Jamie Bestwick. Jamie has a unique style, tweaking no-footed cancans further than most, going super high, and doing odd tricks like toothpick tailwhips. For some reason he held back on his final run, and it cost him. He'll be back. Third place went to Matt Hoffman, after a tie for second dropped him back. Matt's my favorite vert rider to watch, and I certainly wasn't disappointed. Matt did tons of tricks back to back, spun 540s, did rocket switch-handers to no-footed barspins, and to Big Island's delight, brought back his backpeg and grip stall. A huge shout of 'kick ass!" went out for that one. Second place again went to Dennis McCoy who was on fire (no, not literally). Flairs, barspin to barspin back, barspin 540s, flips... Hot damn, DMC! Dennis is kinda like cheese or a fine wine... That's all I've got to say about that. And, in first place once again, Dave Mirra. Dave brought the crowd to their feet and confused the hell out of everyone. Dave rides both ways so well now that it's hard to tell which direction he should be going. That, along with huge flairs, flips, 540s, sick nofooted cancans... This was obviously Dave's contest.
Dave Mirra did 540 at nine feet, no footed cancan at 10 feet and walked away with his first X-Games Vert gold medal.
John Parker spun perfect x-up tailwhips.
In practice, Jamie Bestwick pulled toothpick tailwhip, barspins to lookdown and stretched superman seatgrab. For some reason, though, Jamie didn't do any of these tricks in his run.
Dennis McCoy is now pulling flairs with ease.
VERT RESULTS: 1-Dave Mirra 2-Dennis McCoy 3-Matt Hoffman 4-Jamie Bestwick 5-John Parker 6-Jason Davies 7-Dave Osato 8-Rick Thorne 9-Jimmy Walker 10-Pat Miller