MARTTI DO IT AGAIN?
On a hot sunny day in Los Angeles,
the flatland riders all make it to the finals
1 - Flat 2
3 - Flat 4
right, no qualifiers this year for the riders, it's just two sets of runs
at 90 seconds each, just like the finals every year and just the way it
should be. Stephan started things off with a bang with what looked
like just a couple of minor sketches, but his bomb tricks. It seems
like flatland riders are coming out with more and more bomb tricks every
contest which just raises the level beyond belief for all the riders.
have his best run ever, but Travis Collier follows up with a few touches
right away. The riders have been complaining all weekend about how
poor the surface is here. No, nothing unusual really, just the same
old wavy ground with a few bumps thrown in for good measure. Travis
busts out a really nice halfpacker combo with a barflip out which gets
some people pumped up, but he just can't seem to shake the nerves combined
with the bad ground to put up the solid run. Thankfully it's not all
or nothing this year and he has a second chance to put things together and
redeem himself. The best run is the only one that counts.
next rider up, Chad Johnston has been out all weekend in the 90 plus
degree weather practicing his ass off. Chad is by far the oldest
flatlander to make it into the X-Games at about 35 years old. He is
not representing just the old guys, but those guys that make videos for
fun as well, Chad's In-Trik-At series of videos has been popular for
years. Chad's style seems to be based heavily on the nose wheelie
but he steps things up by doing it all without brakes. This includes
pedal hang-5's and nose wheelies as well as nose wheelies on the rear
pegs. He uses the pedals more than the front pegs on stuff and
throws down a solid rope-a-roni on the pedals... that is he rides IN
standing on the pedals... don't ask me how.
year I like to remind people to try to ignore the typos here as I am
typing this live as the tricks are going down. I also always run the
risk of being kicked out of my seating position which is well within the
boundaries of where I am allowed to sit... oh well, we will see what
Heck, they are even
keeping score as things are going on, I haven't been paying attention
because what really matters is the final standings and the fun the guys
have for the weekend... York I'm not sure how much fun he has had,
but as one of the most consistent riders ever, he raises the bar and gives
Ares good representation. He starts things off, brakeless as always,
with some front wheel spinning his hang fives and steamrollers all get
meshed together with a lot of tomahawk variations. Ninety seconds
later he has one touch as he tries to go into a no-handed wheelchair
spin. ONE touch... the bar is raised.
Sommer is making his premiere this year at the X-Games after a outstanding
performance at the CFB a few weeks ago. His style doesn't seem to be
affected almost at all by the ground. Another rider with lots of
front wheel combos, almost always spinning and rolling. Halfpackers
stepped over to other tricks with a crazy jump to the back pegs to ride
out... 360 barflip to pedal steamroller, with a quick barflip to
halfhiker out. He finished things up with a cliffhanger 180
barflipped to a spinning cliffhanger. There were a couple of touches
in his run, but not really much less than anyone else. He adds a
fresh face, and therefore a fresh style to the entire event.
one of the biggest names that people have anticipated at the Games was the
addition of Jessie Puente to the roster. We haven't seen him in a
contest in years really, but there he is, riding for KHE and flowing with
originality. A quick time machine to start things off and then some
rear wheel turbines to keep things going. He passes the bike behind
his back in a few stubble ducks while turbinging the bike, his stuff just
doesn't make sense. His root of the turbine combined with a lot of
rear wheel stuff has got to put the judges into a different midn
set... He simple refuses to fit the mold, and after ninety seconds
were up, it didnnt look like he gave in to the force of gravity long
enough to put his foot down once. This may be the run of the day,
not his hardest stuff, but by far more original than almost any other
rider. No, not really, but definitely different than eveyrone else,
and it doesn't seem like the judges truly appreciate it all.
Behnke made the cut this year at the Latin American X-Games and has a
styale that most of us know... slow, original tricks, not terribly long
links, but usually combined in new ways. Some love this style, some
don't, but there can be no doubt that his stuff is hard. The problem
is that he just doesn't seem to be able to hold it all together for his
first fun and gets a plague of touch downs that will hold him back, he
must step things up with consistency if he wants to win.
don't think that flatland is all about touches and falls... But
really, with this many riders at such a high level, you have to look at
touches and falls as one of the top scores. This next rider has been
blowing up for the last few years and has to be one of the favorites going
in. Viki Gomez didn't spend much time practicing in the last few
days, but his run is something else. Riding with Martti over the
last year has influenced his style somewhat and he mixes trick up with
pedal steamrollers and tomahwaks barflpped to halfpackers and back
again. No, it doesn't make sense to me either. Or the judges
as they push him into first.
Yammamoto is the last rider in the first heat and then they will go
through every rider again. Yammer won the European X-Games and
simply kicks ass when you watch him. His halfpackers bar spun into a
steamroller... huh? He turbines steamrollers but then brings the
frame around two or three times as he is spinning backwards to frwards and
back again. His style os fast and his spinning of the frame and the
bike in conjunction, but in different directions sets him apart. Not
the same old front wheel bar flippity crap, no, just something fun to
watch. Fun for me, fun for the judges, and hard as hell... first
Cerra starts up
again and seems like he wants to raise the level of his riding some.
a no-footedwheelchair across the floor and vsome variations out. He
then comes back with a turbined wheelchair to a no footed tomahwak and a
clean ride out. He sets up and throws the steamroller to barflikp
cross footed pedal steamroller. It takes acouple of tries and he
never quite hits it right. He knows it's now what he wanted to do,
and he won't be feeling the love from the judges on this one.
Morisake is up again with a ghetto flip to upside down wheelie and a clean
ride out. Besides Yammer his stuff is probably the hardest of all
the Japanese guys, and hie may also be in the position of being the most
sketch of the riders that qualified from Japan. Yet, he works both
wheels of the bike and his inwards scuffing circle k's on the pedal.. is
that right? Either way, it was a huge jump from his first run and
leaves him with a better score than before.
rolls onto the stage and does a quick 180 rollback witha smoothie
out... He loves to ride and ahve fun. Then the halfpacker
jumped around the a steamroller and a few turbines and a clean ride
out... This may be his run. Inside turbined hang-5 with both
feet on the same side of the frame he lets the bike frame go around and
catches it ina halfpacker. No luck, it just isn't going to be his
day but he will probably be the rider who had the most fun out here today.
comes out again with a rear peg hang 5 to a megaspin out. His music
is techno and dark... slow and solid stuff, but his riding just doesn't
match. He can't keep his tricks that he has totally dialed solid
enough to win. An inward pedal hang-5 turbined to kick back into
forward hang-5 on the pedal. It's fun stuff, but while crazy hard,
he can't link it up and combo it up enough to make the judges happy.
Who cares? He should be happy and keep riding for the love of it
York is out again with a
couple of jugglers to start things off, he then pulls it in to a hip pack
and then around out to a steamroller. He is working the entire front
wheel in every direction from both sides and nails his first combo, which
just ate up half his time. He follows through with more front wheel
combos and gets a good wheelchair spin going, but he can't hold on for a
flawless run, and it may be the difference for him. Either you have
crazy hard tricks, or you have incredible consistency. If you aren't
going to step up the difficulty, you better not touch, and for York, this
wasn't stepped up to the level he could have taken it to, or to what some
other riders have been doing, so he will not do incredibly well, but he
will do well.
is up again with a cross footed steamroller which he jumps around and
barflips to a regular steamroller. He keeps working the front wheel
in different ways, but he isn't throwing down the bomb. He is
holding back hoping for some consistency, but the feet still come down a
few times and at the end of the day he will go home with nothing better
than third place - with some of the best still to come.
is up again and this time he wants to step things up with a beautiful
airwalk to start things off, you know, a inward no-footed circle K on the
END of the bars which he kicks both directions. Solid! He
takes a tme machine up and then rides out... can't do that at this
event. Jessie is either nervous or not ready, but now he goes into a
multiple turbined backpacker to finish things off... he doesn't pull it
and he will probably stick with his first run score.
goes out with another stylishly slow run. He blows up right away
though which has got to play with his head. A couple of touches and
then a not-pulled the way he wanted to trick. He pulls things
together and puts a good rear wheel link up and a solid front wheel
combo. It still cost him several touches though and may not move him
around much with scoring.
Viki just oozes style, that's all there is to it, his tricks are dope, his
flair is big, and when he is on, he can bring down the best in the
world. When he is on. Steamroller to cross handed steamroller
tailwhipped around... to nothing. He can't finish the tricks
that he is starting. a cross ahnded steam to pedal steam to fork
glide to pedal steam. He's on and off the pedals so quick it's hard
to follow. But, this wasn't his first run and he had a few to many
touches, it doesn't change his spot at second place, which is not a bad
place to be if you gotta be somewhere.
is out again and works the epdal with some steamrollers, turbined of
course, to the front wheel and a clean ride out. He sketches his
next trcick and then drops the bike. A steamroller barflipped to a
halfpacker also results in the bike going down. He begins his seires
of spinning on the front wheel with the frame going one way as he spins
the other way. It takes two tries and he sketches a little on the
ride out, so he'll probably stick with his first run. Yeah, he's
probably not complaining about that - first.
is about five minutes between heats which gives the other group of ten a
chance to warm up. It's hard to say how they determine which riders
are in which heat, but with Nate Penonzek, Matt Wilhelm, Martti Kuoppa,
Trevor Meyer, and Simon O'Brien in this second round... you gotta think
that Yammer is not going to manage to hold onto that first place position
for much longer.
Jesus made the cut again this year and starts it off with an upside down
megaspin on the pedals that he combined into. He rides fast...
very fast and loses it more often than any other rider out there. I
can't imagine a day when he is going to win a contest like this, but I
also have very few riders that are more fun to watch do stuff just for the
sheer speed and style that he has. Lots of back wheel stuff, lots of
front wheel stuff, and lots of speed.
Prado was amateur last year... well that is the class he competed in
anyway. This year he's at the X-Games and his solid style with
really hard tricks may be enough. He works the back wheel with about
every dump truck variation you can imagine including stepping it up to the
pedal and pulling it around back into gerators and stubble ducks for a
ride out. A one minute combo hit flawless is just the way you want
to start things. A quick hitchhiker, not pulled like he wanted into
a blender, but he does it agian, and this time he does it the way he
wanted to.. kind of. No, his feet never touched the ground, but the
run wasn't flawless either.
you know that Matt Wilhelm can spin on a bike? Yeah, like no other -
every trick is a tornado spin it seems like, but he also mixes it up this
year with some halfpacker combos... kind of halfpacker pinky squeak
things, they are dope. He goes into a Karl cruiser to bunnyhop
megaspin and then bunnyhop to the front wheel again and finishes it with a
no-handed spinning Karl cruiser. Now he steps up to his patented
blender bike flip to the pegs, then the pedals with a upside down megaspin,
but sketches when he tries to take his hands off while standing on the
pedals. Just one touch at the very end, but solid nonetheless.
O'Brien could win this, well, anyone could win this, but Simon won two
huge events this year and has really, really hard stuff. He starts
off with a front wheel combo that includes a backwards wheelchair and
links that just shouldn't be possible. Clean. Now a Karl
cruiser to backwards halfpacker turned to a steamroller and then intoa
wheelchair and around the bars to out. He steps up to ablender and
sketches out. He does it agian, and this time fips the bike similar
to wilhelm and gets to the pedals where he spin them halfway and switches
feet on the pedals. No, if he isn't in first place after that run,
the judges have been smoking something a little different than what they
off with a barflip to hithchiker and takes that through the paces for a
long first combo. He follows up with a steamroller jumped to the
pedals and jumped back to the pegs. Not as clean as he wants, but
then comboed up some yet he sketches. He does a steamroller then
barflip jumps out to a hitchhiekr. He begins working his way around
the front wheel and comes out clean. Terry finishes up with a pedal
time machine with a few cranks in for good measure - not quite blenders,
Penonzek is the best
in the world... if you look at contest results. But he may
truly be that. His style is all about flow... one trick to the next
turbining on the rear wheel or the front. His first run included a
lot of tear wheel work where he sun the bike under him no less than two or
three times per combo. He doesn't just get the bike under him he
steps it up to the pedal and turbines things forward and backwards while
standing up there. He stubbvele ducks the bike INTO upside down
wheelies instead of using it to ride out, he uses it as a ride in.
Like no other, he is about flow and it shows.
Meyer is out to regain his title and with a run back with Giant (formerly
GT) he may be able to do it. The machines, the robot, the
master. He may be Yoda for all I know, but when he rides, he has
some power that others just can't match. A wheelie straight up into
a pedal death truck into a blender stepped through toa a pedalling stick
bitch. Dude, he's tall. He always seems to have some new stuff
every year and it's hard to tell from year to year what is new and what
tricks he has shown before. A couple of sketches though in his first
run may hold him back. No, flawless just doesn't seem to be this
eternal... That is, if he doesn't win a contest he usually isn't far
behind the guy who did win. His tricks are hard and evenwhen he
isn't perfect, he isn't bad either. A pedal rope-a-roni a pedal
inward hang 5 froma whioplasg combined into a hitchhiekr. He
sketched a little, but it is all really, really hard stuff. the nose
wheelies he does includes him cranking the pedals backwards as he goes and
this year he is doing some different pinky squeak stuff where he does some
jumps around the bars (not barflips) and kicks the front wheel in both
directions to keep things interesting.
is such a nice guy, except this year the ground is just pissing him
off. Thatl, of course has no impact on his actual run which includes
halfpacker whips and different combos up and around the bike and front
wheel. A lotof halfpackers this year are marking his style.
But, his first run wasn't what he wanted. He will be back again in a
Martti is out for
his first run on the new KGB frame, he starts off with typical Martti
style, Halfpacker kick flipped to halfpacker, but he starts to
sketch. If you were here you would know that he kept practice to a
minimum and it may not payoff for him at this event. A solid
kickflipped Karl cruiser and combines up into a clean ride out. A
cross footed hiker didn't make the kick flip inot a hitchiker so he tries
it again. This time he lands sideways on the wheel... doesn't
touch... but then completely falls on his ass trying to get out. Not
even close after the first run. One more to go.
is up again and works his first upside down megapsin combo at speed
flawlessly. He takes an inward scuffing tomahawk into
his next trick but can't pull it clean. Now a turbined death truck
attempt gone wrong. He hits the ground pretty hard and fast but gets
up to try again and pulls it super solid clean. He has those so
dialed in!He tries a back yard to whoppper - yes, you read that correctly,
he coasts a high speed backyard with both feet on the peg and turbines it
through a circle. On the turbine, he tries a whopper out.
is up for flawless on his second run. The same first combo on the
rear wheel working it every which way. He pulls it clean and comes
back with the juggler to a time machine on the epdals pulled clean.
It's on now as he has his first two links done with flawless. He
flips the bike upside down and gets into a pedal stick bitch clean He is
so solid it's scary. Three combos of tricks, 2/3 on the rear wheel,
and zero touches.
is up to raise the bar and he starts off with a sketched halfpacker whips
combo. The trick is cool but he sometimes gets a little greedy with
it. Once again, front wheel to rear wheel to front wheel to no
handed Karl cruiser, so is the blender flip going to happen? This
time he touches on the jump over and just can't hold onto it. Just
not his year for the flawless run and he doesn't show off either his
no-handed upside down pedalling time machine or the millenium (forward
time machine jump over to stick bitch).
does tricks so hard... The jump over to backwards halfpacker is
insane, and so easy it seems for him. He's back up into a blender
staright to the pedal kick flip to other pedal and down and out
clean. Now a backwards halfpacker kickflip to backward halfpacker
and then kicked forward to a ride out. The hardest trick in the
world right now maybe and he does it in a contest. He finishes it up
with a boomerang to hang 5on the pedal.
barflips to hitchi8ker again and then works the front wheel with pinky
squeakes, jumping the bars and side squeaks. Maybe not the hardset
stuff, but fast and solid. The pedal steamroller jump
once again didn't go the way he wanted it to but his links and combos to
the ride out went so solid he's gotta be happy. He goes through with
a wheelchair to a totally sketched jump over to barflip witchhiker.
He tries again and sketches it again, but manages not to touch right away.
has got to be at least a little nervous, but maybe he just never feels
that way. He sure doesn't ride like he ever gets nervous. The
rear wheel is his love and he just rolled through a combo so smooth glass
was jealous. A cross footed ujpside down spinning megaspin...
coasting... out of a gerator it all is so weird. He keeps working
only one wheel of the bike and then when the buzzer sounds he is off the
contest floor and over the fence before the buzzer is even off.
is up again on the front wheel with a cross footed steamroller to spinning
cross footed hitchhiker he comes backout and does a boomerang over the
frame and back into a steamroller, it's a huge jump and hekeeps working
the front wheel until the ride out where he does a quick decade and calls
it a trick. Now he pedals back up into a death truck which he takes
into a blender nice a smooth This time it goes through to the
pedalling stick bitch and then to the peg and out. The buzzer sounds
flawless to him.
Not to be
outdone Phil starts out on the rear wheel with a pedalling rope a roni.
He steps it up and keeps it going across the entire course and then pulls
it up to the hang-5 on the pedals and keeps linking things up until he
covered the entire course. A nose wheele doesn't give him love
though as he goes forward over the bars and has his only touch of the
run. Otherwise solid for his final run.
starts on the rear wheel with a stubble duck to undertaker type job.
It's all brakeless and he never touches the trie, original linkup for
him. He starts working the rear wheel but sketches a little.
He then takes a backpacker to cross footed hiker and rides out
clean. He turbines a megapin and throws the decade ride out,
brakeless people! His final combo which he has been working on all
day just didn't happen. That's a backpacker pulled up and whipped
into a halfpacker with some front wheel work and another backpacker out.
is not going to do it this year as he misses his first trick. He
then tries a cross footed hiker to 360 bike varial to cross footed
hiker. It doesn't happen the first try so he tries again and still
doesn't lock it in. This run though he hits the cross footed hiker
to kickflip to regular hiker. He finishes off with some crazy spins
that he doesn't even come close to pulling off. No, not his year.
year it's all about Simon O'Brien who brings home the gold for Australia
and Nathan who followed behind closely, but not close enough. Trevor
finally made it back onto the podium and was very happy walking away with
the bronze medal even though he probably felt he could have done
better. Further down the line there were riders who may not have
done as well as they should have done - but with judging based on opinion,
instead of hard fact, this is going to happen.
will probably see the top five riders in next years X-Games as
pre-qualified athletes, while the rest will have to make appearances at
events throughout the world next year if they want to be invited back to
LA. Expect most of them to show up, but also look for some new faces
to try and appear. Look for the guys that didn't make the cut this
year, to step up and demand recognition through their skills next
year. As always, new guys will come and veterans will go, but there
will always be riding so intense and hard that your jaw will drop as you
No, BMXTRIX can't
present one second of video from the actual contest. ESPN is very
exact about that: No video footage from ANY final runs may appear in
ANY format ever. I may need to call them and try to work something
out with that for next year. Especially if we only see 120 seconds
of coverage on TV from an hour plus long event. Simon... you
gotta see Simon's run.
|Jorge (Viki) Gomez
|Marcos de Jesus