September 16, 2000
DEEGAN DOMINATES "THE DUNES"
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - Brian Deegan ran roughshod over the compo today at the Renthal High Octane "The Dunes" Challenge at the Arrowhead Pond.
The soft, deep beach sand made it nary impossible for humans to do tricks off the jumps, and after yesterday's practice it looked pretty grim. Dave Castillo jumped the 90' jump once, then went back and did it again and landed on the protective apron area, sticking it in a hole and lost control, then the bike hit him in the back. Sore back, sore ribs, sore leg, but like all freestylers, he didn't quit easily and was back for Sunday's action. All the riders had to resort to paddle tires to get any traction.
It was almost as hot and humid as the Orlando event. It was a full house. 50 to 75 non-paying poachers stormed the course to make a run at the infield spectating area and they all made it. Crew members with 2" hoses sprayed long arcs of water into the crowd to cool them off, which they readily accepted. Steele and Apple announced and kept the crowd loud. The place was pretty crowded.
FMF had a strong presence there with Mike Farmer, a steady supporter of freestyle, and an FMF truck. Other high profile companies were Red Bull, JBL and Uni Filter.
Cameras were everywhere on the ground, in the tower and in condors.
18 pro jumpers went off in the first round in the thick sand. Most expected them to be seriously hampered by the sand, but the riders surprised each other and everyone else by putting in decent runs. These 18 riders qualified down to 8. Those 8 went to the final. Each run was two laps around the large course - no time limit.
Some of the jumps were so hard to clear that many riders lost points going around them.
The first two riders crashed. John Bartol finished his routine jumping a step-up with a One Footed Whip, then cross-rutted in the thick sand and splattered. The soft sand was easy on him.
Dave Castillo's 2nd jump of the routine was short, he threw the bike away and landed on the base of the face of the 2nd jump on his feet. His feet buried in the sand about 16" deep. He got back on the bike and rode right away. He almost crashed again when he attempted a Saran, hung up, then barely made it back before the landing.
Rourke came out and took over the lead with harder tricks. A few mistakes on the unforgiving sand cost him a few points. He stayed ahead of Drake McElroy and Grant Steele.
Dan Pastor took over the lead with a good routine.
Brian Deegan was next, and he did not disappoint when he ripped the course a new one. He started the proceedings with a Superman Seat Grab Indian Air, stunning everyone in attendance. This was heavy beach sand. He also did a Cordova on the 90 footer. His score was the highest in the first round.
After they all did their first round qualifying run, here is how they scored:
FIRST ROUND: QUALIFIER RESULTS
(names in blue qualify for final)
1. Brian Deegan 90.75
2. Dan Pastor 85.50
3. Jeremy Carter 83.75
4. Billy Walls 82.75
5. Kris Rourke 82.25
6. Jeff Willoh 80.50
7. Trevor Vines 79.00
8. Adam Pierce 78.50
9. Dylan Creamer 78.25
10. Drake McElroy 78.00
11. Bobby Lee 75.25
12. Grant Steele 75.00
13. Doug Parsons 74.00
14. Dave Castillo 73.75
15. Mike Harris 73.25
16. ? Doty 72.00
17. John Bartol 69.75
18. Colin Morrison 66.00
The finals got underway with a bang when Adam Pierce came out on a mission. He started with a Coffin, then went off a difficult jump with a Saran Wrap. Then it was a Heel Clicker off the 90 footer, followed by a No Footed Can Can with a Whip on the big step-up. His 2nd lap started with a Superman Seat Grab, then he threw a Heel Clicker and went long. He did another Heel Clicker off the big one, then he threw a No Hander Lander on the step-up jump. His score of 87 would not be beaten for a while.
Vines responded with a routine that had a few little glitches. He seemed to make up some ground on the final jump, doing a McMetz, but he crashed upon landing. He received 82.75 points.
Jeff Willoh was next, his Honda with nice white plates and a lonely #3 on each one. Everyone knew he earned that number 3 in Arenacross. He is a fast and skilled pro. His first trick was a Front Fender Grab (one hand), then he just threw Whips and Cross-ups. Although smooth and flowing, his routine was simple. He scored 79.50.
Kris Rourke went up to bat next. He threw a Stalefish. Then he looked like he tried to throw a Heel Clicker but hesitated, throwing a No Footer, which is what he got credit for. Then it was a Seat Grab (No Superman - he stayed on the bike) off the big hit. On the step-up, he did a Nothing. Starting lap 2, he did a One Hander, then a Heel Clicker, then he did a Double Seat Grab (No Superman - he stayed on the bike), and he finished with a Nac Nac on the step-up. His score was 82.00.
Billy Walls was next. He did a graphic Bar Hump with a Look (probably a very funny look) to start, then it was a regular Jump. On the 90 footer he threw a nice Lazy Boy. On the step-up he threw a Heel Clicker. Then he did a weak No Footer. On the next jump he came up short with the front end high. Then it was a No Footed Can Can with a Whip, which was huge, and he missed the only line going into the next turn. He turned it around and jumped the step-up, doing a No Footer with a Look. His routine looked pretty decent despite the mistakes. He scored 84.25.
Jeremy Carter stepped up with a nice performance overall. He offered up a No Footed Can Can and came up a little short, then a One Handed Cross-up, where he came up slightly short again. He found his range and threw a Cross-up on the big one, then a Heel Clicker on the step-up. Then it was a Slow Motion Bar Hop, an interesting variation, and then he tossed a Candy Bar. He went from there into a Superman Seat Grab on the big jump, looking good, and he finished with a No Hander. His score was 86.75. He took over 2nd place at this point.
Dan Pastor looked pretty good as well. His first jump was a Cordova, but the front end was a little high. Then he threw a Heel Clicker. He went from there into a No Footed Can Indian Air Whip, which was very cool. He then showed everyone a Candy Bar on the step-up, then a Bar Hop, then a Jump, slightly short. Then it was a quick Cordova, followed by a No Hander Lander on the step-up. His 84.75 put him in 3rd at that point.
There was no need for these seven riders to count their cash just yet. There was no need to put that first place money down on a new house in Corona. One rider remained: Brian Deegan.
He commenced the domination by doing a good Superman Seat Grab Indian Air, starting very strong. Then he threw a No Footer. Then, on the 90 footer, he did a nice Cordova. Very nice. On the Step-up, he busted a Saran Wrap. The 2nd lap started with a good Cliff Hanger, a trick most riders today were awfully timid trying. Then it was a No Footed Cross-up. Then he blew minds by throwing a Lookback Hart Attack! Hard to do on beach sand with a 90 foot gap! Then, on the step-up, he did a No Footer. His routine was very well presented. He killed them with a score of 91.00.
Here is how the final round broke down:
1. Brian Deegan 91.00
2. Adam Pierce 87.00
3. Jeremy Carter 86.75
4. Dan Pastor 84.75
5. Billy Walls 84.25
6. Trevor Vines 82.75
7. Kris Rourke 82.00
8. Jeff Willoh 79.50
After the contest, Seth Enslow jumped in the beach sand from sand to ramp to sand, setting a new record in a new category. He jumped a ramp gap of 145 feet, a clear gap of 130 feet and a total jump distance of 178 feet. He was tapped in 5th gear on a CR250 with MX gearing. The sand sapped the power on his knobby-clad Honda CR250, then when he hit the steel framed ramp, the rear tire got hook up and he left it wide open while it bogged a little due to the sudden traction. It was a nice jump, but a difficult job in the extremely soft beach sand conditions.
All in all it was a better day than most of us anticipated. The tricks were better than we expected. It wasn't like good dirt and ramps, where good traction and optimum conditions result in the best tricks and the best jump shapes. Sand is its own animal. It makes the rules. Track builder Rich Winkler had to work within sand's limits. Track designer Micky Dymond had to trust the riders to pull off another good contest with hard tricks on a very unforgiving course. This course had to be the most unforgiving course yet.
One finalist was asked how he would like to see a "Sand Series" or another sand event like this one. "I won't ride it," he said.
Will there ever be another sand event? Hopefully not. It was special, it was what it was. It was unique. Everybody still had a great time.
Do the riders really want to work with sand, coming up short when they make a slight mistake, being unable to safely throw a lot of their tricks? No. Jumping is best done on harder surfaces with good, predictable traction.
Do the spectators prefer sand? No. The riders get significantly more radical and throw their tricks with much more extension on good dirt. This contest was a test of their sand skills.
As everyone headed home, the riders packed up and bailed, going home to pick sand out of their filters, pivots, bearings, boots and throttle assemblies. They are going to be picking sand grains out of their bikes for weeks, I would guess.
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