By Matt Coplon – With dirt prelims pushed back due to rain, the vert prelims initiated competition today at the 2009 PlayStation Pro. Lucky for the riders, the Amway Arena is nice and air-conditioned, sheltering against the record-breaking heat outdoors.
After a fast paced rotation through two heats, where riders had two runs each, top three places went to Australia's Tim Wood, East Providence's Kevin Robinson, and Greenville's Austin Coleman.
Tim Wood's third place was well deserved, even after his second run was cut short due to landing flat–which pushed his bars "Chicago style" a little too far forward to continue. However, his first run paid the bills, as he used the giant roll-in boost a 900 right out of the gate. He followed this banger with back-to-back flairs, a picture perfect alley-oop turndown, and plenty of switch handed variations, all of which were at a pretty ridiculous height. As if his cache of tricks wasn't enough candy to the eyes, his completely translucent red set-up made his runs an aesthetic spectacle.
Kevin Robinson reminded everyne today that he is still a vert powerhouse. Taking second, K. Rob cranked across the deck and dropped into an alley-oop tuck no-hander, a no-handed flair, an amazing alley-oop flat spin 540, and topped things off with an opposite flair over the channel gap. It seemed hard enough just to air that chasm. Oh yes, and I didn't mention the classic superman—a rare treat on vert.
Austin Coleman, who has taken on Greenville, N.C. as his new home, took first. Well deserved to say the least. Austin's got such good trail style that puts him in the lead of the "new school" faction of vert riders. Among the uncanny amount of tricks he threw into his runs, highlights included his slow-spinning bus-driver to bus-driver back, and picture perfect alley-oop tuck no-hander. He also has the most amazing downside whips kicked at height, so high that he catches them while over-rotating and brings them back in nice and smooth every time.
Honorable mentions go to: Dennis McCoy, "handling" his bike with 6 screws and a plate holding together his left hand; Jimmy Walker taking 4th as he carved ever inch of the ramp, blasted high and threw in a wild variation of newer as well as plenty of "old school" flare; and Zack Warden going high, really high, and pullin one of the best one handed inverts I have seen to date. Lastly, both Vince Byron and Francisco "Coco" Zurita clocked plenty of height, trick, and style points. Keep an eye on these two in the very near future.
The top seven will meet up with Jamie Bestwick, Chad Kagy, and Steven McCann at 6 pm tomorrow for the first Finals of the PlayStation Pro, and the crowning of the first Dew Cup champion of 2009.