We would like to pretend that Jamie Bestwick doesn't use his Dew Cups to prop his doors open, but when you've collected five of them in as many years, guess it's time to get creative. But Betwick's true creativity lies in his impeccable use of the vert ramp and unmatched ability to fly heads above the competition. He has an uncanny ability to pull through with perfect runs in clutch situations. During one Dew Tour final in '07, his crank snapped as he dropped in, and after wiping out he still managed to fix his bike as the clock ticked down and drop in on his remaining run to take the win and collect the Dew Cup. This is just one example of the BMX vert monopoly that is Jamie Bestwick. Alli checked in with the vert master and learned that as long as he has new lines in his head, and the drive and devotion to progress BMX vert, the 39-year old from the U.K. won't be stepping away from the halfpipe anytime soon.
When the tour began last year, was a fifth cup in your mind, or just to do as well as possible?
When the tour began last year I didn’t have any expectations, I was just taking it one event at a time. In my mind I was hoping that I would get the chance to win it again, but I never take anything for granted. Everyone comes in to the tour with the same goal, to be a contender for the Cup!
Of all the stops last year, which are you the most proud of and why?
The Toyota Challenge in Salt Lake City. I took a really hard crash in practice and was struggling in the vert final. I put a good run together but going into my second run I had been bumped into the second spot. I learnt a lot about myself in that second run and put together a great ride to keep my perfect season alive.
Many people don’t understand why you would take risks in a victory run when you already have the win secured. Can you explain that mentality?
I didn’t think I did! I just go out and ride the ramp, its what I love to do. I never usually look at it like its a victory lap – how can you when there's another contest a few weeks away? If the pressure is off, then there’s an opportunity to go and try a couple of lines or tricks that I might want to do next time out. Also I feel I have an obligation to the fans that come out to see me ride, that's why I go out and put down some good riding!
You recently raced in the Toyota Grand Prix, how did that go and are you getting hooked on racing? Could we see a career change?
The Toyota Grand Prix was awesome! I am truly blessed to be given such an amazing opportunity. It was a very tiresome affair with lots of redeye flights to LA, but the training and the chance to race on the streets of Long Beach was well worth the sleepless nights. I met some great people and got to spend quality time in a sport that I have only looked at from a spectators view. Would I like to be a car driver – yes for sure it's a great thrill! Unfortunately it’s a dream, car racing is a rich man's sport and I have neither the cash nor the sponsorship to make that happen. (Might need to get Dave Mirra’s agents number!)
What else have you been doing since the Dew Tour ended?
I have been racing motorbikes in Texas and recently acquired my racing license. It’s been a dream come true for me. The CMRA has been a great place to go and learn the fundamentals of bike racing. I have been racing with the help of North Texas Superbikes and Vesrah Suzuki. Jim Whitten has been a great chaperone. After Portland I will be going back to racing. I really enjoy it and meet some great people.
With such a deep bag of tricks, have you still been working on new stuff in the off-season?
Of course! If I didn’t think I could help vert riding progress then my time on the halfpipe would come to an end. I have so many great ideas on new tricks, some work out, some don’t – but it sure is fun going through the learning process!
What motivates you more, wanting to ride well and progress, or hearing about a new trick Chad or someone else might have?
In this day and age you don’t hear about tricks as they are usually up on Twitter or Facebook before the day is out! It’s always great to see the latest and greatest being thrown out by whoever. For me, I have always prided myself on being able to ride well and help progress my sport in whatever form that would be. I am constantly inspired by people who find their own way in riding, who look within themselves to find their own direction and personal style.
I have a vision of how I want to ride, and I will put all my energy into it manifesting to reality.-Bestwick
Some new faces of been making big moves in pro vert. Who are some guys you are stoked on?
Vince Byron and Austin Coleman have been two people that have really impressed me over the past few years. It's encouraging to see that they both have such different styles and are not afraid to let their personalities come through in their riding! They have really proved that they are forces to be reckoned with, in any discipline, and 2010 could be their big year!
Then and Now, Bestwick with his first Dew Cup in ’05, and accepting his fifth in 2010
With as much success as you’ve had, is five cups enough, or are you after another one?
Does Valentino Rossi stop striving for success? Of course I would love to win the title again, but like last year I have no expectations. I have a vision of how I want to ride, and I will put all my energy into it manifesting to reality. Five Dew Cups straight have cemented my name in NBC's history books – adding a sixth will further increase it! I know this year, like the five that came before it, will not be a certainty and will require some very good riding from me to get the Cup!
When you ride at home, how much time is vert and how much park and why?
Vert is where I compete, so it's good to be home so I can relax on the ramp and do what feels good. Park is where I learn a lot of my tricks. It’s so much fun riding park, it gives me time to ride with riders I have a lot of respect for and to simply just ride, this is what keeps me motivated. This year I have been riding dirt a lot more, the trails at camp are so much fun and we have had some good times on them. Yet for me, nothing compares to Minersville trails, I miss those trails! I’m glad I got to ride and experience the scene.
What would you like to see change in competitive vert riding? Ramps, contest format, etc.?
I like it when they put obstacles on ramps, that gives you something to think about. Something that makes you respect what you’re riding. I love the jam format and regular contest runs. I would like to see a few of the park riders – who regularly hit 9-ft on the ramp with me – just jump in at the Dew Tour and go for it. Oh well…… someday!
Do you still get butterflies before a contest run, or is it just another day at the office?
If I didn’t get scared, then there would be something wrong and I would probably get off the ramp. It's healthy to be nervous, it makes me focus and respect what I am doing and what I am about to do!
How crowded is your trophy case with 5 Dew Cups and all your other hardware? Is everything on display?
Funnily enough I don’t have one trophy on display. If it wasn’t for the bikes on my wall you wouldn’t have a clue what I did and have acquired in life! I am proud of all I have accomplished, it's just that I don’t want the house to be a shrine to my success. I figure that the house is a tribute alone, I don’t need a wall of trophies to tell me what I have achieved or how good I am. My Mum gets a kick out of them and they make good door jams!
The Dew Tour Nike 6.0 BMX Open returns to Chicago this Saturday and Sunday, July 23 and 24, at Soldier Field South Festival Lot. Tickets are on sale now, starting at only $15. To get your tickets, click here.
For more information on the Nike 6.0 BMX Open event, including the competiton schedule, click here.