It seemed all the pros, whether they were park or dirt riders, had the same agenda in mind when BMX vert finals were starting on Saturday at the Nike 6.0 BMX Open.
"I'm going to watch Jamie," was heard all around, and everyone’s eyes were glued to the five-time Dew Cup champ whenever he took to the deck.
He commanded the attention of the athletes below and everyone in the crowd even before dropping in, waving his arms to get everyone cheering and hyped up for the magic that was about to happen. It didn't matter that vert prelims were combined to make a 20-man final, because Bestwick still beat them all.
L to R – Chad Kagy, 2nd; Jamie Bestwick, 1st; Steven McCann, 3rd
His winning run included an alley oop 540, a flair downwhip, invert 540, double down whip, opposite back flair, fastplant flair and huge tailwhips and turndown flairs.
"It's always good to get off to a great start, and winning is the best thing you can possibly do," Bestwick said. "But I never underestimate my competitors. I know that they've been practicing hard and they will be practicing hard between now and the next stop. So it's going to be a long season"
“The old guys show a level of maturity when it comes to riding the finals…now we're seeing that creep into a lot of the young guys.” -Jamie Bestwick
Chad Kagy, who finished second, is looking ahead to the next three stops as an opportunity for himself, or one of the other top guys, to take the top spot from Bestwick for once.
"There's a few of us going after him for at least one or two of those top spots this year," Kagy said. "I'll go out there on the edge – and it's hard to call yourself out – but I think by the end of the season I'll be able to take one of those wins."
Chad Kagy, Tailwhip
"I have definitely gotten that whole bridesmaid thing," Kagy continued. "I have a whole ton of these trophies that have a number two on them. I'm about to have a couple more that have that number one on them. I've got two on my mantel right now, but Jamie's just got way too many of them. So we're going to try to take some of those away from him."
"I have definitely gotten that whole bridesmaid thing" -Chad Kagy
Kagy's performance during Saturday's final was insane, but even his run with a nac nac seatgrab to barspin, then X up to set up for a flair tailwhip straight into a huge barspin flair wasn't enough to unseat Bestwick.
Australian Steven McCann finished third with an alley oop whip, double tailwhip, 5 whip, no-handed 5 and a barspin to turndown. He's one of the newer faces to vert in recent years, but still feels indebted when competing against the legends.
Steven McCann, Tailwhip
"If it wasn't for people like Jamie and Chad and people like them that have been pushing things forever, the guys underneath wouldn't be getting better," McCann said. "So one day I'll be in a position that Jamie and Chad are in now, where you can learn from them and you move on. And it's only going to help me in the future."
Speaking of the future, 20-year-old Australian rider Vince Byron finished fourth in the Vert Finals, and headed to the competition straight after finishing 11th in the Park Finals.
Vince Byron, Tabletop
"Vince Byron would have to be my pick of the guy that's going to break up that podium and mess up the last four years of Jamie, me, Simon and Stevie battling back and forth," Kagy said.
"If it wasn't for people like Jamie and Chad and people like them that have been pushing things forever, the guys underneath wouldn't be getting better,” -Steven McCann
Bestwick had only praise for Byron as well, and the rest of the young guns showing up.
"The new blood has just been a fantastic energy boost to vert," Bestwick said. "I know there's a lot of old guys in vert, but the old guys show a level of maturity when it comes to riding the finals. But now we're seeing that creep into a lot of the young guys. And guys like Steve McCann, Vince Byron, Austin Coleman and Coco, they're all making a charge for the top spots. It's great to see and I know there's a lot more."
Podium Photo by Sydney Goldberg
Check out her take on the event on Alli’s Expression Session blog here.
1. Jamie Bestwick, 95.38
2. Chad Kagy, 92.75
3. Steven McCann, 92.38
4. Vince Byron, 91.63
5. Simon Tabron, 91.50
For Dew Tour coverage of the vert finals, click here.
Next up for the Dew Tour is the Wendy's Invitational in Portland, Ore. from August 12-15. For tickets, click here.