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X GAMES IN LOS ANGELES

Bestwick Spares No Flair

Going for all his moves, including his trademark tailwhip flair, right from the first run, he wins bike stunt vert final.

August 18, 2003|Peter Yoon | Times Staff Writer

The moment Jamie Bestwick had been awaiting for two years arrived Sunday, and he seized it with fervor.

Injuries prevented Bestwick from participating in the last two X Games, but he made up for lost time with a dazzling display that won him gold during the bike stunt vert final at Staples Center.

Bestwick, 32, from England, scored 95.6 points for his high-energy run, which included his trademark move -- the tailwhip flair -- among other high-flying stunts. Defending champion Dave Mirra took second place with 92.6 points, and Kevin Robinson was third with 90.4.

"To be honest, I was scared," Bestwick said. "This is a big competition and after sitting back for two years not being able to enter, it's a lot of stress. I said if I'm gonna do it, I'm going to give myself one good shot and that's what I did."

Bestwick, the final rider in the 10-man finals, didn't waste any time. Competitors each take two runs and the highest score of the two counts. Many times participants will hold back on their first run and let it go in the second. Not Bestwick.

He dropped in and began his acrobatic assault immediately. After landing the tailwhip flair -- a move that includes a back flip with a 180-degree twist while spinning the bike frame below the body -- he landed two more flairs at the end of his run.

"I knew that if I was going to lay it down, I had to go for it first round," Bestwick said. "I rolled the dice on that run. I maxed out everywhere I wanted to go and it paid off. The buzzer went off and I couldn't believe it. I nailed everything."

Robinson has competed in every X Games bike stunt vert since its inception in 1995 but won his first medal Sunday.

A practice partner and close friend of Bestwick, Robinson was impressed even though he had seen most of the moves Bestwick performed.

"He broke it all out," Robinson said. "That flair was up in space."

The victory validates the gold medal Bestwick won in 2000 but wasn't able to defend until this year. He had crashed during practice sessions for each of the last two X Games.

"That was a dream run for me," Bestwick said. "I rode in perfectly and it was bang-bang. Everything was in, and I was like, 'I know this run is going to come off.' After taking two years off with stupid injuries, I feel like I'm on top of the world."

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