August 20, 2000
PASTRANA WINS X GAMES; CLOWERS WINS STEP-UP
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - Travis Pastrana had his doubters at this year's X Games on Pier 30/32 off the Embarcadero. He's been racing, not jumping.
He's been waging a come-from-behind points war on Stephane Roncada in the AMA 125 Outdoor MX Nationals. It's his first year as a pro, and as a matter of fact, it's his first year of having a driver's license. He's sixteen years old. Now he's within striking distance of points leader Roncada with two races left in the series.
Roncada's got a blown knee, and if he finishes worse than fourth and Travis wins all four motos remaining in the series, the young rookie can win the coveted 125 AMA title in his first pro year.
Roger DeCoster, the Suzuki team manager, is not particularly fond of jumping. He would rather see Travis pursue a racing-only career. Travis is a jumper and a motocrosser, like many of us, and the X Games is a "must ride" event.
You can't ask a bird not to fly. Travis is what he is - a very good motocrosser and a very good jumper. Keeping him out of either sport would be a crime.
Travis has been toughing it out, battling from behind and earning his wings in the pro class in impressive fashion. Finally he has a chance to close the deal and win the AMA crown.
One would think that he would come out to the X Games a little conservative. One would think that he would protect his chances to win the AMA title.
One would think that he has been too busy racing and that the other jumpers have risen to the level Travis attained for last year's X.
With such a heavy "racing only" schedule and hardly any jump-offs since his factory ride began, one would think that he would be a little rusty.
PASTRANA THROWS FLIP; BAILS HALFWAY THROUGH
Pastrana pulled out the stops to win. On his 2nd qualifier, he entered the course with one thing on his mind. He sized up a vert wall on the course. He rolled it once and looked at the line he wanted to take and that got me wondering if he was going to try the flip. He set up for it and I couldn't believe my eyes. I could tell he was going to go for the flip.
He threw it pretty well, and he would have landed on two wheels, but he would have been a little nose heavy and flatlanded on the tabletop.
To save himself, he jumped off the bike while it was inverted and got his feet under him for the impact. His bike landed on the tabletop, tweaking the forks about 4 inches out of straight, and Travis landed on the downside of the jump with his feet traversing the downside of the jump. His knees buckled, it seemed almost sideways, and he was compressed to the ground. He got up and thrust his hands in the air and the crowd went berserk!
He rode off and got those forks straight again, I imagine. He left the course.
His score was low, a 64.67, but he already had the high score from his first round. Each jumper, 16 in all, jumped in the first round, and the same 16 jumped in the second round. The best score of the two rounds counted toward qualifying them down to 8 riders for the final.
THE CONTEST FINALS
Mike Cinqmars came out with an 86.67, not quite up to his normal self. He had a nice Whip as usual, and a nice Candy Bar. He did a Superman Double Grab but was only halfway in position, hesitating before returning to the bike. He did a nice Saran, then his Hart Attack was not as high and solid as it could have been. He did a Catwalk a little quickly, then a No-Footed Can Can One Hander, which was cool. He followed that up with a regular Jump, then a Lazy Boy that wasn't that solid, lacking a little amplitude. He finished with a Superman Seat Grab.
Then it was Jeff "Tilt" Tilton, who was looking better than normal. Obviously he's been practicing on sticking and holding his moves instead of just going through the motions. His amplitude was up and he flowed a nice routine - no repeats, no hesitations. His run was 85.67, not good enough to beat Cinqmars.
Then it was Trevor Vines, tying Cinq for the lead with 86.67. Trevor has been looking better lately. His score was held back by a hesitation to start his routine, going long after an impressive McMetz to No Hander Lander and coming up short on a lookback. He finished with a nice Sterilizer.
Clifford Adoptante came up next and did not disappoint. He was solid and his routine flowed nicely. He did a big Bar Hop and his Cordova was very nice, although he came up a little short on the landing. His McMetz showed his athleticism and his Superman Double Grab looked good as well. He scored 89.33 to take over the lead.
Mike Jones came up next, starting his routine with a Stork, but jumped long. He came up short on a Double Suicide and again on a Coffin. He did a nice extension on a Cliff Hanger and did a Surfer Lander very smoothly. He threw a classic Mike Jones Whip on an 80 foot jump, almost hitting the scoring tower where the judges were watching. He scored 88.33, not enough to beat Adoptante's smooth and technical run.
Then it was Brian Deegan's turn. He started with a completely sick Whip - this was one of the best I've ever seen. He had a nice Cordova. His new move, I don't know his name for it but I call it the Stand By Whip, was very impressive. He gets off the left side of the bike while it's whipped and stands next to the bike in mid-air. Then he gets back on. Very cool. He also did an interesting No Hander to Bar Hitter (underneath) to No Hander Lander that stood out. He scored 90.33, taking the lead.
Textbook Tommy once again took 'em to school with his patented Switchblade Lookbacks, a perfect Superman he held forever, a Sideways Superman where his body is 90 degrees to the frame, sideways, but his toes point down toward the ground while his body is horizontal, a Superman Seat Grab Indian Air, Clowers' own Lookback Hart Attack, where he turns his head down to look back and a nice Catwalk, performed like only Tommy can do it. He beat Deegan's score with a 91.33.
Travis Pastrana entered the X Games course and the crowd started responding. They remembered his flip earlier in the day. They remembered last year's X. They remembered Travis qualifying #1 going into this final. Was he up to the task?
He started his routine with a Superman Seat Grab Indian Air with good extension. He attacked the course with amplitude and enthusiasm. Next it was a Pendulum, followed by a Lazy Boy, then a Cliff Hanger, and then a new move. I think he calls it a Flintstone - or is it the Wilma? I called it the Flintstone because I couldn't remember. He jumps, then gets off the bike on the left side, takes his left hand off the bars, puts his right hand on the left grip, and runs like the Flintstones next to the bike while it's 20 feet off the ground. Then he gets back on the bike and lands it in total control.
He also did a Saran to Saran, which is a Saran Wrap with one leg, then with the other. It was so smooth and nice looking. Very cool. He also did a Superman to Heel Clicker, which is hard to pull off. He did something rad with a One Hander while touching one hand on one foot, which deserves a second look. He finished his routine with a Nac Nac Lookback. His score was 94. He won impressively.
He went beyond the level he displayed at last year's X. He surprised a lot of people who wondered if he could pull it off.
He carries a lot of momentum as he heads into the final four motos of the Nationals to try to win the 125 crown. He won the last race with a 1-1 score. With the X Games win right behind him, he's got confidence that he can do it.
If he doesn't win the 125 title, I'll still respect him. He made a great run at the championship, one that we won't soon forget. Win or lose, he's a true champion. He has beaten the best riders in the freestyle jumping world and he has also beaten the best riders in 125 pro motocross. Either of those accomplishments alone is monumental.
Both accomplishments at the same time show that he is the best rider in jumping and motocross combined. Name another rider who can do both at that level!
STEP-UP CONTEST RESULTS
Friday, August 18, 2000
The jump had a limited run and was measured by Ryan Smith from the point on the jump where the riders left the ground to the high bar. The winning rider cleared the bar at 22 feet high.
1. Textbook Tommy Clowers
2. Kris Roarke
3. Brian Deegan
2000 X GAMES FREESTYLE MX JUMP-OFF CONTEST RESULTS
1. Travis Pastrana 94
2. "Textbook Tommy" Clowers 91.33
3. Brian Deegan 90.33
4. Clifford "The Flying Oklahoman" Adoptante 89.33
5. Mad Mike Jones 88.33
6. (TIE) Mike Cinqmars 86.67
6. (TIE) "Trevor From Wherever" Vines 86.67
8. Jeff Tilton 85.67
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