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X Games / MOTO X

Freelance Event Goes to Pastrana

August 17, 2003|Lonnie White | Times Staff Writer

Make no mistake about it, the Moto X Freestyle is the biggest attraction of this year's X Games. It's the event that pays the biggest purse ($83,500) and the one that attracts the most fans, thanks to the back-flipping exploits of past champions Mike Metzger and Travis Pastrana.

But Saturday night's expected showdown between the two legends of the sport never materialized because of a head injury to Metzger, who hurt himself in a crash while performing at an X Games exhibition this month.

So with Metzger -- last year's winner of the Moto X Big Air and Freestyle -- sidelined, Pastrana's main competition came from Nate Adams of Wittmann, Ariz., and Brian Deegan of Temecula.

In front of an announced crowd of 41,700 at the Coliseum, Pastrana had to pull out all stops, including two inverted 360-degree jumps, to defeat Deegan in the final for his fourth title in five years.

"I really didn't want to do that back flip but after Deegan, [I didn't have a choice]," said Pastrana, who did not participate in last year's X Games in Philadelphia because he was injured.

Pastrana, of Annapolis, Md., started his championship run strong with a back flip off a 75-foot jump and then after a couple of other difficult moves, finished the night with consecutive 360 back flips for a score of 94.67.

"I've been working on the move the last two months," said Pastrana, who fell off his bike on the landing of the first 360 back flip.

The competition began with a preliminary round that featured 15 riders taking 90 seconds each to maneuver off ramps on the Coliseum floor, which was filled with 6,000 square feet of dirt.

In the championship round, Deegan put early pressure on his rivals with a 360 back flip on his final jump. The judges gave Deegan a score of 93.00 and he held first place until Pastrana's run.

After Pastrana's electrifying run, Adams scored 93.33 to finish in second.

Metzger, of Menifee, Calif., said that he hopes to participate in tonight's Moto X Big Air competition at Staples Center.

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