Wyatt survives crash to take motocross Best Trick gold
ASPEN – Caleb Wyatt had a scary moment on Monday afternoon.
The Oregon motocross rider was attempting to solidify his standings on the leaderboard of the motocross Best Trick competition at the Winter X Games VIII in Aspen.
He was already in first place with an unprecedented no-footed, no-handed backflip, and he was trying to do it again except this time he wanted to land no- handed.
He landed it no-handed, all right, but it wasn’t exactly how he planned.
Unable to complete the entire revolution of the flip, Wyatt cased the deck with his front wheel and slammed face first into the transition.
Laying motionless on the ground, it brought to mind the nasty fall that Brian Deegan took on Friday when Deegan suffered a broken femur and two broken wrists.
Moments later, Wyatt got up and walked off the course, as the audience cheered.
As it turned out, his first jump was good enough to propel Wyatt to the top of the podium, and Wyatt won his first X Games gold medal with a score of 92.80.
“All these folks came here to see a show and I’m here to give them one,” Wyatt said.
This despite an aggressive charge by the first- and second- place finishers from qualifying, Mike Metzger and Nate Adams.
Both threw variation backflips that involved elaborate over-the-saddle kicks, with Adams pulling off a can-can backflip and Metzger throwing a nac-nac backflip.
Metzger’s second attempt at the trick was particularly impressive as the nac-nac involves such a strong kick that it throws the bike off axis, and Metzger had to land it that way.
But the judges apparently felt the jump wasn’t clean enough to oust Wyatt from the hotseat, as Metzger earned a 91.20, which actually tied Adams.
A tiebreak based on the qualifying round in which Metzger finished ahead of Adams was used to award the silver medal to Metzger and the bronze to Adams.
“This weekend was the biggest for the progression of our sport,” Metzger said. “It was a great week and I feel really good about it.”
Metzger had originally planned on skipping the competition, as he has spent the last few months concentrating on his supercross racing career.
But when Chuck Carruthers, who was originally slated to compete this weekend, was injured last week, event promoters invited Metzger to attend and he accepted.
The event was postponed from Sunday to Monday when a storm system rolled in and dumped five inches of snow on Buttermilk Mountain Sunday afternoon.
The event garnered an extra, unplanned hour of live telecast by ESPN2.
Richard Chittick can be reached at (970) 669-3998, ext. 236 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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