By Matt Coplon – Out of the 31 riders competing in today’s BMX Park prelims, choosing the top nine who will advance to Sunday’s Finals has got to be a brutally hard decision for the judges. Everyone that rode went high and pulled a dozen tricks out of their bags. But the really difficult part was the fact that each rider had to pedal as fast as possible to make use of the whole course. Stamina was key. And each of these facets is taken into consideration when placing riders into the finals. Prelims were phenomenal. Finals are going to ridiculous-guaranteed.
With a score of 90.88, 2nd place was a tie between Rob Darden and Mark Webb. Let's start with Darden–Originally from Livermore, Ca., this Greenville, NC. transplant can make some serious rounds on any given course. Pedaling at mach ten, Rob began his run by launching a huge look-back from the ten-foot vert quarter over a smaller, much wider, quarter and into the bank of the wall ride. It’s a big gap in itself, but throwing a cranked look-back in the mix is pretty epic. The remainder of his run consisted of a ruben style wallride, a 360 from the bowl corner to the lip of the long box (a pretty giant gap), and his proprietary running man tail whip from bank to bank across the wall ride. On top of all this, Darden executes some of the best one-handed flatties in Bmx.
Rob Darden 1 hand table
Right beside Darden was England's Mark Webb. Riding to some pretty sweet bagpipe inspired tunes in both runs, Webb decided to fill his second run with technical knib-jibs including a 540 tail tap to ice 270 on the street spine, a foot jam on the face of the wall ride, and some micro mini combos that would have made Kurt Schmidt proud. By the time his second run came around, Webb didn’t have to do much, because his first run was so strong: huge bar to clicked turndown on the 10ft, a nose-dived 720 over the box, extended turn-down 360 over the spine, and an unbelievable 360 invert over the box a couple feet higher than everyone else. Beyond being a new BMX favorite within the scene, the crowd seemed to love him as well.
Mark Webb 360 invert
Mark Webb Downside whip
First in prelims goes to Dew Tour veteran Ryan Nyquist. Nyquist began his run by floating an alley-oop 270 over the same gap Darden took advantage of. This massive transfer lead into a 720 bar-spin over the box, a 360 gap from the box to the spine, a truck over the unusually shaped (and what seemed impossible to ride) kinked deck spine. On top of this, Nyquist was still able to throw in a bar down the step down (taking off from the micro-mini and dropping down over the sub wall and into the bowl corner). Nyquist's second run was a walk in the park,--his first sealed the deal.
Nyquist no footed can can
Some other pretty wild stuff went down today--Morgan Wade's first comp without brakes availed a pretty unconventional run. He pedaled even faster than Darden, gapping all over the course and somehow throwing in a 720 that missed the landing of the box. Drew Bezanson rode phenomenally. He spun everything, whipped everything, and nose-picked the giant wall ride.
Morgan Wade Blasting
Josh Harrington also had a solid day, even though he didn’t make the Finals. One of his highlights was a locked in downside double peg gap from the 8ft to the 10ft vert quarter. A magic trick.
And Dennis Enarson, having recently turned 18, threw in a double whip over the box backwards, nose wheelie to bar spun the step-down, bar to whip the box, and ended in Bezanson's footsteps by nosepicking the deck of the vert wall.
Enarson barsin to whip
The top nine advance to tomorrow’s Finals, where they’ll face off against Daniel Dhers, Dave Mirra, and Garrett Reynolds to see who will take home the Dew Cup. Finals are going to be ridiculous. Period. Stay tuned.