|Date: april 11-13, 2003|
Place: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Every year, ESPN holds contests around the world to give foreign riders a chance to qualify for the Summer X Games. This was the second year for the Latin American event, but there was one big difference this time around. With no American BS events, only one CFB, and no European X Games, 15 non-Latin riders were eligible to compete as well. There were Summer X spots open to both the Latin riders and the foreigners, so everyone had a chance to get in on the big show.
|Mark Losey www.ridebmx.com: Latin America has no shortage of incredible flatlanders, and they get the job done on some wild bikes. One rider had a broken crank arm with no pedal on one side, but he still rode well enough to make the finals.
The top three spots in flat went to names familiar at US comps. Matt Wilhelm (third) put the spin cycle in effect and the crowd went nuts every time he rode. In fact, Matt was a like a superstar all week taking photos with fans and signing nonstop autographs. Second place belonged to Nathan Penonzek. Nathan was not very happy with closed-off section of street being used for the contest, but in his second run it looked like he was riding in a perfectly smooth parking lot by the way he was flowing. First place went to a guy who had never won a Pro flatland contest before. Aaron Behnke paid for his own trip to Brazil just to check out the country and ride in the contest, but he went home with a lot more than just a postcard. In his second run, Aaron held it together and pulled all of his original links for the win.
One of the most amazing things in Flat was watching Marcos Paulo de Jesus (fourth) do his long, high-speed rolling links. The surface the ground riders had to use was narrow, bumpy, and slanted on each side but that didn't stop Marcos. He did wide-open deathtruck spinning links from one end of the contest area to the other while nearly catching air over bumps along the way.
5.Marcos Paulo de Jesus
6.Sergio Ricardo Decairo
8.Rogerrio Goncalves Santos
9.Eduardo Rodriguez Azevedo
10.G'Andelo dos Santos Andrade
|Mark Losey www.ridebmx.com: The Park finals was one of the closest contests I've ever seen. Bruce Crisman, Tom Haugen, Mike Parenti, and Gary Young were all within a point or two of the top spot, but when the points were tallied, Bruce Crisman wound up the winner (he qualified in first place, too). He did big airs on the quarter and over the box, a perfect gap-to-rail, and some real tech work on the spine, including a fakie where he rolled back to the spine, did a 180-to-crooked/Smith stall-to 180-to-slider in his last run. That's something you do after 15 tries in a video part, so firing it out during a comp was pretty amazing. Tom Haugen was also riding like a machine: 360-tailwhip-to-Xup over the box, tailwhip-180 over the spine, tailwhip tailtap-to-X-up on the sub, and a huge suicide 360 over the box. Mike Parenti was on a mission, too, and no one went higher on the quarterpipe. I've probably said it a thousand times before, but Mike has all the blast of Dave Voelker plus a whole lot of tech. Gary Young easily did the most tricks of the contest. He was like a mouse flying around the course doing tricks on anything and everything, and the only thing he crashed on was a 360-whip over the box for his last trick.
The wildest move of the contest came from Chad Kagy. You know he's got the tailwhip-flip wired, and he now does an X-up on the way out. He also went for a double-flip but came up short. Rumor has it that Chad can X-up out of doubles, too. Why not?
Two other wild tricks came from Dennis McCoy who nearly pulled a flair over the spine, and Alejandro Claro owned the box jump with downside-360-whips, regular 360-whips, and every other jump known to man.
|PRO PARK RESULTS: 1.Bruce Crisman
|Mark Losey, www.ridebmx.com: During Vert prelims, no one could touch Kevin Robinson. High airs, big 540s, flairsthe works. Everyone figured Kevin would walk away the win in the Finals with ease, but the weather had other plans. When it was time for Vert finals to start, the weather turned to crap and the wind started kicking. Still, everyone was there to ride, so that's what they did. The Brazilian crowd loved Dennis McCoy and they went nuts for his straight up-and-down flairs and alley-oop 540. Chad Kagy did the highest airs of the contests along with all the vert staples like 540s, tailwhips, and stretched variations. Kevin was the last rider to go in the finals, and by that time it started to lightly rain. The organizers asked Kevin if he wanted to stop the contest, but he was in the zone, so he decided to drop in and give it a try. From the second he started riding you could tell something was wrong. His highest airs were around seven feet (he usually hovers around 11), and he seemed to be struggling overall. After the contest Kevin said that his feet were so wet that he couldn't keep his bike with him, and that took away from his pump in big way. After Kevin's run ended, the contest was called off due to the weather. Since each rider got to take one full run, that's what the scores were based on, which put Kagy in first, Kevin in second, and DMC in third.||PRO VERT RESULTS: 1.Chad Kagy|
4.Clayton Marcos Aravjo
7.Andre Toss Timoferzeras