Jamie Bestwick achieved a perfect season on last year's Dew Tour, and he's one stop away from doing it again this year and collecting a historic sixth Dew Cup along the way. But there's three things standing in his way, namely Chad Kagy, Simon Tabron and Steven McCann.
Bestwick and Kagy on the deck
"I know there's a lot of guys out there that would like to win a contest," McCann said. "They're going to be trying to do everything they can to try and have a win in Vegas."
Steven McCann, 540 tailwhip
But Kagy, Tabron and McCann are the only three that can actually squash his Dew Cup dreams with a win of their own. Well, a win and a major falter from Bestwick, who's ranked first with 300 points.
The course for Vegas is set up over the pool at the Hard Rock
Kagy's in second with 248, and the Dew Cup is his if he wins and Bestwick places an uncharacteristic seventh or lower. If the win goes to either Tabron, in third with 238, or McCann, in fourth with 236, the winner gets the Dew Cup as long as Bestwick finishes an unlikely ninth or lower. A win is also worth 50 percent more points in Vegas, and the same ratio applies all the way down the line for results.
"It would really be great to come away with that sixth Dew Cup but I don't expect anybody giving up, and they won't go down without a fight," Bestwick said.
Chad Kagy on top of the ramp
It's a lot of scenarios, but Tabron still thinks there's a possibility.
"Jamie is an intelligent guy, and he will have worked out the numbers on this as well," Tabron said. "So he's going to come into Vegas and probably exercise a little bit of caution to get the job done. But it's vert, it's dangerous and you never know what can happen."
Simon Tabron, no-hander
Kagy's plan of attack for Vegas is to dial in his new barspin to no-handed flair that sent him crashing on his second run at the last Dew Tour in Salt Lake.
"I'm going to try and take that perfect season away," Kagy said. "Nothing against Bestwick, but I do want to win one. It's just personal. We're all in competition and I want to win. I've got a score to settle with myself. I want to pull a barspin to no-handed flair before the end of this Dew Tour season since there's one more stop."
Chad Kagy, double whip flair
With a brand new, three-run format introduced at the last BMX vert final, it's set the stage for new tricks to go down, and Tabron pulled out a 540 ET at the last stop thanks to it.
"I think for sure the new format is definitely conducive to throwing new tricks out there," Tabron said. "With the opportunity to have three runs, you can get a good solid run in the first try, and then you have two runs where you can open the throttle and just let go."
New tricks aside, he's also gunning for a win himself.
"Jamie is my old friend from England and I've known him for most of my life," Tabron said. "I'm always torn between the pride I have in how far he's gone and how much he's achieved, and the frustration because it's at my expense so far."
Jamie Bestwick, turndown flair
But Tabron, and the rest of the vert field, have nothing but the utmost respect for the guy who set the bar in BMX vert, and then continuously raises it.
"Nobody can be a critic of Jamie's dominance," Tabron said. "It is what it is. He's worked harder than anybody to achieve the level of ability that he has. And that's rewarded time and again with trophies. It's a good thing that he's continually setting the bar high. It forces everybody else to step their game up in an attempt to catch him. So the sport wins."
McCann couldn't agree more.
"I think everybody's really talented, but Jamie just has it figured out," McCann said. "He trains more than anybody. He works out harder than everybody. And next year he'll be 40 years old, but he'll probably have 30 years of experience on the bike. It's a testament to him for how much work and effort he puts in to be the best."
Another rendering of the vert ramp for Vegas
Now all that's left is to see if he can pull it off in Vegas, or if one of the other guys gunning for it can take it away. There's new blood on Tour for BMX vert too, like Coco Zurita who just podiumed with third place at the last Dew Tour. He's working his way up the ranks to be in Dew Cup contention one day, but for now, all he can do is admire Bestwick.
"Everybody is working their way up and eventually we're going to catch up with him because it's just evolution," Zurita said. "I mean I hope so. I'm being faithful, you know. You got to be positive. But he's definitely someone I admire. I'd love to ride at his level. It's amazing to see because he's definitely leading the pack."
Jamie Bestwick Chad Kagy
For Bestwick, he's just one stop away from making history.
"Vegas is the most important contest so I'm really going to have to focus and try and pull out that stop win," Bestwick said. "And if I get to the point where I do accomplish the stop win, that's when I can reflect on the perfect season. But nothing's perfect until you seal the deal."
Check out the Alli BMX Vert Race for Dew Cup Gallery.
Watch footage of the BMX Vert Dew Cup Contenders from the entire season