BMX Best Tricks Gains Eight More Semifinalists for 2017
By Charley Daniels
The field for the 2017 BMX Best Tricks event is shaping up, after a knock-down, drag-out qualifier in Southern California. Eight more semifinalists are bound for Salt Lake City, where they'll vie for a spot in the finals, which are set for June 24. Last year's podium finishers were already invited to defend their titles. The qualifier field consisted of two heats of seven, who each got four runs, two of which counted toward their final score. The eight who earned a spot in the semifinals are: James Foster, Zack Warden, TJ Ellis, Dawid Godziek, Jacob Bailey, Robin Davis, Brandon Loupos, and Vince Byron. Tickets are already on sale. Check out the highlights right here:
The top three finishers won their slots by putting their bodies on the line with huge tricks and massive stacks in equal measure. On his second run, Ellis stuck a double backflip turndown no-hander for the first time ever, cementing his place atop the leaderboard. He would hold that spot until Foster rolled away from a triple backflip on his third run, building on a solid first run (a double back no-hander) and giving him the lead. Warden sneaked into second place with another seldom-seen trick: a backflip bikeflip to late tailwhip, a combo that looks as if it's turning in on itself in impossible ways, like if MC Escher drew a scene from a BMX air competition. Warden attempted the trick on his second run but couldn't quite get the whip in there. He nailed it on his third run, moved into second position, and never looked back.
Yesterday Godziek also qualified for BMX Triple Hit, beating a massive field, so he joins the handful of athletes competing in two events in Salt Lake City. Loupos attempted a triple frontflip on his final run. He missed, but the attempt is definitely a thrown gauntlet for the level of progression we can expect at this year's semifinals and finals. Speaking of things you don't see every day, on his final run Foster attempted a backflip triple barspin. After wiping out on the landing, he said he actually overspun by a rotation and a half -- four and a half spins. When the competition was over, he went up and dropped in again for fun, this time sticking a flip quad barspin. It's another trick that just looks cool, as the number of rotations necessitates a hard, fast spin that's gracefully propellor-esque.
Ryan Williams, last year's BMX Best Tricks winner, has been invited to defend his title in the 2017 finals. Second-place finisher Kurtis Downs and third-place finisher Gavin Godfrey have been invited directly to the semifinals. Andy Buckworth, Brandon Schmidt, and Jaie Toohey are prequalified. Two wildcard slots are yet to be filled.