For the past three years, the BMX world has been waiting to see a Jamie Bestwick/Dave Mirra showdown on vert.One of the two always seemed to be injured, but for this year’s X Games, both were healthy enough for one incredible show.

Jamie and Dave weren’t the only ones riding well at the X Games. Koji Kraft did his mile-a-minute karate variations and managed to stay in one piece for tenth. Eduardo Terreros got ninth with huge airs, flairs, and a front-flip fly-out that made the crowd think he should have won--at least that’s the way it sounded by how loud the crowd booed when his scores came up. Eighth went to Jimmy Walker who can ride a bowl or curved ramp with more flow than anyone. Dennis McCoy proved that he is not done progressing by pulling an alley-oop barspin-540 and he went for a one-footed X-up flair that netted him seventh place. Sixth was all John Parker who double-whipped, alley-oop whipped, and a lot more. Fifth went to Chad Kagy--who really should not have been riding after his crash in Park--but he still pulled a perfect double-whip. Fourth went to Simon Tabron who was all over the ramp with 540-varitions, a 900, and tons of tricks, and by the look on his face when the results were posted, he was expecting a better finish. Third belonged to Kevin Robinson who tried to add yet another flair variation to his arsenal with a switch-hander-to-no-hander that he just missed.

By the way Jamie rode in his first run in the finals, no one else even had a chance.  credit: Mark Losey

As for Jamie and Dave, their story actually started two days earlier...

THE QUIET BEFORE THE STORM: QUALIFYING

So this was the scene: At the end of the first round in qualifying, Bestwick was the last to ride and he unleashed a devastating run that put him in first place. When it came time for Mirra’s second run, he dropped in, pumped as hard as he could for two airs, and then went for a tailwhip-flair about eight feet out. He landed flat and got bucked over the bars, but it sent a big message: Mirra was not giving up without a fight. Dave ended his run right there, and it left everyone dying to see what would happen in the finals.

THE FINAL SHOWDOWN

When it came time for Mirra’s first run in the finals, everyone expected big things. Dave landed low on his first air which made him do a few more straight airs to gain speed, and then his first trick was a huge 540-whip. The crowd was going nuts for the entire run, and Dave did not disappoint. But a crashed opposite one-footed X-up flair and the blank walls at the start of his run put him in second place behind Kevin Robinson.

Mirra’s vert runs were nothing to scoff at, but this time around it was not enough.  credit: Mark Losey

The next person to ride was Bestwick, and he produced one of the most incredible runs of all time. Tailwhip-flair, opposite flair, 12-foot airs, the best top-side-no-footed can-cans, and so much more. After the first run was over, Jamie was in first, Kevin second, Dave third.

Kagey rang his own bell during Park, but he still rode vert full-throttle.  credit: Mark Losey

Everyone knew Mirra was going to go nuts in his second run to try to take the top spot away from Jamie. When it was his turn to ride, Dave dropped in and got straight to work. Five-whip, double-whip, opposite one-footed X-up flair, and a lot more. TThe entire arena was expecting Dave to end his run with another huge tailwhip-flair, but he slowed his momentum down and left the trick alone. When he stopped riding, all eyes were on the judges to see if Dave had taken the top spot, but it wasn’t enough. Mirra had moved up to second, but Jamie’s first run score was enough to take the win. Mirra dropped in one last time to try a barspin-flair, but he washed out and couldn’t make it stick.

Jimmy Walker, opposite one-hander one-footer in flow-mode.  credit: Mark Losey

Since only the best run’s score counted, Jamie didn’t even need to take a second run, but he still dropped in and took a victory lap. This win was a long time coming, and he was relishing every moment.

When the contest ended, Jamie was on cloud nine. But even with a hundred cameras and 25,000 people staring on, he still stayed true to BMX. What am I talking about? When the crowd was screaming and begging for Jamie’s bike, shirt, shoes, etc., on a dare, he took off a sweaty, filthy sock, and threw it into the crowd. And believe it or not, a girl actually fought for it and then asked Jamie to sign it. The power of a gold medal...

Can you say stoked?  credit: Mark Losey

1. Jamie Bestwick
2. Dave Mirra
3. Kevin Robinson
4. Simon Tabron
5. Chad Kagy
6. John Parker
7. Dennis McCoy
8. Jimmy Walker
9. Eduardo Terreros
10. Koji Kraft