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Marquee event comes to abrupt halt on X Games' final day

Rally car racing super final sputters to conclusion when Travis Pastrana hits wall, giving Kenny Brack the victory.

August 03, 2009|Pete Thomas, Baxter Holmes, Mario Aguirre and Lauren Goldman

Doors flew open, bumpers tore loose, and cars spun wildly and zipped around a Home Depot Center course that resembled some bizarre outdoor pinball machine during the X Games' marquee event on its final day Sunday.

But the rally car racing super final was not all that super.

That's because the actual final -- after the highly entertaining but not always competitive early rounds -- pitting defending champion Travis Pastrana and former Indianapolis 500 champion Kenny Brack ended in a sputter.

Pastrana, 25, a freestyle motocross star who gave up that sport for a safer career in rally car racing, hit a wall midway through the two-lap race and could not continue because of front-end damage.

The red flag was raised and Brack, a newcomer to the X Games, was declared champion.

"It was a fun event and I want to thank everyone, including my dear competitors for kind of letting me win," said Brack, 43, who is from Sweden.

Pastrana added: "I was kind of handed the races all the way and really wanted to get some racing in, and I finally had a good shot and I hit a wall -- not for any other reason [other than] that I was pushing very, very hard.

"If he wasn't quite so fast that would not have happened."

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Rear-end damage

It didn't take long during the post-event interview for Brack to change the subject to Pastrana and his accident Friday night during the much-hyped moto X best-trick competition -- an event Pastrana had not competed in since 2006.

Pastrana, a nine-time X Games gold medalist famous for his crazy motorcycle antics, tried to unveil a 720 while back-flipping his motorcycle -- a trick that just does not seem possible -- but he fell with a monumental thud onto his rear end.

Said Brack to Pastrana: "I was a little worried about kicking your butt because you fell on it the other day."

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A good sport

Pastrana joked that he has since named that freestyle trick the "Atomic Butt Drop" and added that the swelling has yet to subside.

"I've got a butt that would definitely give J-Lo a run for the money right now," he said.

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Rune is in tune

Rune Glifberg left no doubt who won the skateboard park final with his smooth moves.

Though the scores were reasonably close -- Glifberg edged Andy Macdonald, 125-118 -- it was clear early that he was comfortable on a new course that drew rave athlete reviews.

The defending event champion from Laguna Niguel only bemoaned that he wasn't able to pull off a 540-degree rotation on his final run.

"Not taking anything away from these guys, I guess the other stuff was enough, but I would have liked to have done a little bit better, personally," said Glifberg, 34. "But it was great. You can't be bummed by winning."

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Happy Hosoi

Christian Hosoi, the high-flying pastor from Huntington Beach, prevailed in the inaugural skateboard park legends final.

Afterward, he said, "It's incredible to be out here, just to be alive, you know what I mean?"

The 41-year-old Hosoi, who spent five years in prison on drug-related charges, added: "Things that I went through in life -- to be out here experiencing X Games, competition and then winning gold -- it's one of the greatest moments of my life."

Chris Miller and Lance Mountain were second and third, respectively.

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Insane, but safe

This ranks as one of the safest summer X Games in recent memory.

Only four athletes visited a hospital during the four-day festival and none required an overnight stay, according to an X Games spokeswoman.

Moto X super X athletes Max Anstie (right shoulder and knee) and Josh Grant (ankle) went to the hospital via ambulance. Skateboarder Ryan Sheckler (right foot) and women's super X rider Tatum Sik (arm) were taken by family members.

The precise nature of their injuries was not disclosed.

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Best performance?

It's impossible to determine, but Australia's Blake "Bilko" Williams must be considered for his silver- and gold-medal performances in the moto X best trick and moto X freestyle competitions.

Many thought he should have won gold in both largely because the Indian Air 360, which he nailed in both events, is difficult and attempted only by a select few riders.

The trick essentially entails getting off to the side of the bike and performing a scissors kick as it soars and spins 30 feet above ground.

"I set my heart on gold and gold only, and I got it," he said of his freestyle triumph.

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And finally

Attendance for X Games 15, over four days at Staples Center and the Home Depot Center, was 111,200. That's a slight increase over the previous year.

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sports@latimes.com

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latimes.com/sports/extreme

More on these games

Comprehensive coverage of events at Home Depot Center and Staples Center.

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