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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."


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."


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.


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."


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.


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.


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.


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.



More on these games

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

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