Ryan is out for his step up to the top podium as others are out to keep him down...

Dirt Photo Gallery

Let me be straight with everyone... dirt isn't exactly my area of expertise.  That is, it's so hard for me to say who really deserves first and who deserves last when the guys are all doing 360's and backflips with different variations.  The guys getting into the finals aren't the ones who necessarily are best, but they were the ones who happenned to catch the judges eye during qualifiers more than the other guys did.  But, to honestly say that the guy who wins is the best just isn't the case.

For example, Stephen Murray, who won the X-Games a couple years ago with a huge double backflip started this year off by bailing hard on the same trick.  It's TWO years later and still the trick is considered the total bomb and is nearly impossible for any rider to pull consistently.  So what is the newest trick and if a rider is trying it, shouldn't that be enough to put them ahead of riders who are still doing nothing but 360's in their run?  I'm not judging so it sure as hell isn't up to me, but when you see riders like Nastazio stepping things up and trying a flip whip in his run and not coming close, you gotta wonder why there are guys winning who don't even try stuff like that.  It's better to have a run with NO wrecks and do stupid ass tricks than it is to push yourself... I just don't get it.

Now, that's not to say that certain riders don't seem to be super focused and a step ahead of other riders when it comes to what they are throwing down.  Nyquist after landing silver for a few years is out for his top spot and his typical tricks...  720's, huge no-handed flips, truck drivers... all linked up and pushed to the limit.  As I sit here at the end of the first runs from the riders I realize that there are people that just don't understand how good he really is.  Sure, they'll see the one incredible run from that rider that just had the run of his life.  Yet, for Ryan, every run is just one small step behind that run.  Ryan's AVERAGE run is one step below the dream run of most riders.  He is in that same category with others though:  If he is so dialed that he can do 720's at will, then at what point is he expected to step things up?  Perhaps a better question is "If Ryan can throw down big tricks like that at will, why isn't every rider able to throw them down at will?"  The reason people can't give a good response to that is because 720's are the next level for most riders that they will never reach, even at the pro level.

Now, Allan Cooke is the second guy to case it hard on a big trick and it's hard to watch as the crowd grows silent and watches for movement and the rider to get back to his feet.  Dirt riders have to get used to the bail and the pain of dirt pushed through their brains.  Allan didn't just take two minutes to get up off the ground... he then got up and finished his run up with a huge superman backflip over the last set.

Oh, you are probably wondering how dirt riders 'finish up' after crashing.  Well, the setup this year is just like it was last year even though we are 3,000 miles away.  Indoors, a roll in to a 6 pack, then a turn around to another 4 pack.  It means that a little over halfway through their run, they can turn around and take a short break.  They can catch their breath and refocus if they need to.  You know, just like your local trails. (Whatever)

Then you get the riders who just don't fit the mold...  Joey Garcia and Brian Foster...  Joey is the new guy in town, he's the one who somehow made the finals and now is throwing down every trick that he knows.  Not that he can do, just the tricks he is working on and wants to pull at the X-Games.  So, if that's a flip whip, or a bar spin to late tailwhip he'll throw down a try.  Now Foster, he's the rider who dominated BMX racing for years.  He takes his speed to the dirt jumps and does weird transfers and has the ability to invert any trick that exists.  Including some sort of 360 backflip, that wasn't quite a backflip, but wasn't exactly an inverted 360 either.

Now, the run of the night just probably went out to Stephen Murray who hit his double flip on the last set but couldn't keep the feet on the pedals...  He didn't exactly touch either - he just sat on the top tube and ran headfirst into the ESPN camera man.  I'm sure you will be able to see replays of that on ESPN all night long.  I'm also sure that if Murray doesn't win, there will be 1,000 fifteen year old kids whining online about how he was robbed.  WAKE UP KIDDIES - It's not a BEST trick contest, it's the best TWO of three runs.  Of course, if Stephen hits another run like that he will win since it was the best single score up to this point of the contest.

As the second runs draw to a close, I have to wonder if Ryan will hang on and win the contest tonite.  He totally blew his second run and ended up dropping from first place to fifth place.  But, he is still sitting on top of the second best score of the evening.  It puts Chris Doyle into first place on sheer consistency with his signature extensions and combinations in tricks.  If you are going to win, then I would think that may be one of the best and worst ways to do it.  Best because you were able to show how consistent you are to the judges.  Worst, because that's all you showed - just a little more style than the guy who got second.

As the final runs get under way, I've gotta just give props to Allan Cooke who just showed how much heart he has by going through with his last run despite having a lot of pain in his leg from the slam on his last run.  No, it wasn't the best run he's ever done, and he won't finish higher than sixth place, but at the end he went over and gave props to Nyquist for the love of the sport.  That's what true style is.

Nyquist comes up for his final run in the eighth spot and needed over 87 points to come up with the win..  the win...  360, 720, truck...  barspin, 92.9...  RYAN NYQUIST WINS!  After years of it not coming together for him, it was his year to pull it off.  "It was good to get the monkey off my back!  Give me a hug."  Yeah, it's definitely about time for Ryan to get the center spot on the podium and make the kids online have a really good reason to hate him.  I guess they just can't appreciate a trick as being hard unless they think they have a chance in hell of pulling it off.  No, you can't, he did, he won.  Congrats!

Final Results

Ryan Nyquist 92.7
Corey Bohan 89.9
Chris Doyle 89.5
Stephen Murray 87.7
Mike Aitken 87.2
T.J. Lavin 86.4
Brian Foster 86.3
Cory Nastazio 86.0
Allan Cooke 85.9
Marks 79.3