Following Friday night’s BMX Dirt Semi-Final action, the anticipation from the fans had everyone pumped and excited for the final as part of the Dew Tour Toyota City Championships in San Francisco, California.
Taking over Fulton Street, the BMX Dirt jumps ran in between the Asian Art Museum and the San Francisco Public Library. These massive jumps wound their way around Pioneer Monument and gave a lot of room for riders to get creative.
Coming into the stacked final were the top 10 riders from the semi-final the night before and the format for the final allowed each rider three runs with their best two averaged together for their overall score. Considering in this field we have last year's dirt champion who is known for making it happen under pressure, Ryan Nyquist, riders and fans alike knew they'd have to watch this event to the very end to see who would emerge on top.
Qualifying in the first place spot from the semi-final, Daniel Sandoval earned the right to drop in last this evening which undoubtedly allowed him some room to breathe. However, with riders like Kyle Baldock who won last year's Dirt Best Trick with a new trick to competition, frontflip cliff hanger, and then busted out another fresh trick to competition in the semi-final with a frontflip barspin to tuck no-hander, Sandoval surely realized his work was cut out for him.
Daniel Sandoval, 360 tailwhip
In the first round of three, it was Baldock on top of the list after throwing a 360 double downside whip over the final hit, but following his second run where he landed a frontflip tailwhip a little sketchy it allowed for Sandoval's two runs to take over. Sandoval threw some of the most stylish superman seat grabs and combination tricks in both runs that gave him back that breathing room he started the compeition with.
With the final round of runs still to come, upsets were possibe from last year's podium placer Colton Satterfield or the king of pressure cooker situations Nyquist at any time. Don't forget the rest of the dirt greats including Jaie Toohey, Mike "Hucker" Clark, Drew Bezanson, Chris Doyle, James Foster and the man with all the crowd and family support Kevin Peraza.
Unfortunately for Nyquist, after throwing a perfectly executed backflip one-handed x-up into a giant 720 he took a spill on the final hit going for a 720 barspin. Hucker on the other hand came out with his strongest run of the evening with a giant, fully extended backflip cliff hanger on the first hit an a perfect 360 double downside whip on the last jump but still wasn't able to break into a podium position.
Taking a note from Hucker's book, Foster dropped in for his final run and sent a double backflip so big over the first hit that he overshot the landing lip and had to toss his bike. All in all, he was alright and busted out a few push ups for the crowd before hopping off the course.
Following Toohey's final run the podium was set with Toohey rounding it out, but the night wasn't over as Baldock had one final chance to upset Sandoval.
“Coming up in third place, I couldn’t be happier," said Toohey elated after he wrapped up his run. "This is my first time on the podium so I’m stoked!”
Jaie Toohey, 360
Still Sandoval would get another chance - and he would need it. Baldock busted a giant corked 720 over the first hit into a 360 on the next and going straight into a double tailwhip before capping his run with his new trick from the night before the frontflip barspin to tuck no-hander that bumped him back to the top.
With a little bit of bad luck, Sandoval threw a double tailwhip over the first jump but landed a bit squirrely and had to stop it there. Regardless, Sandoval was on the podium where he belonged after his night's performance and because of that he was pumped. “It’s amazing because last year I didn’t do so well, and to come back this year and be on the podium is an honor.”
Kyle Baldock, frontflip barspin tuck no-hander
This left Kyle Baldock riding out the winner of the event, and with his newborn son in attendance for the first time at a competition it couldn't have ended any better.
1st Place – Kyle Baldock
2nd Place – Daniel Sandoval
3rd Place – Jaie Toohey
4th Place - Ryan Nyquist
5th Place - Colton Satterfield
6th Place -Drew Bezanson
7th Place - Mike Clark
8th Place - Kevin Peraza
9th Place - Chris Doyle
10th Place - James Foster