Panasonic Shock Wave King of Dirt Finals:
Huntington Beach, CA
By Jared Souney
Contests on the beach are a funny thing. There’s that small percentage of people that are there to see the riders, and see good riding. Then there’s the majority¿people that just want to see backflips and carnage¿when you mix these too groups of people together things get a little loose.
Dirt jumping is getting harder and harder to judge with every contest that passes by. Every rider that made the finals¿and most of the riders in the prelims¿definitely had the potential to be in the top spot. This contest basically came down to who could put it together when it counted, as the entire field was going off in practice.
Hoffman Bikes’ Chad Kagy was doing crazy nothing seat grabs (grabbing with both hands) that were pretty close to superman-style. Matt Beringer qualified in first, but ended up ejecting a few times in the finals ending up in ninth place. Beringer backflipped the first set and then frontflipped the second set, pulling it clean¿not once, but numerous times throughout the weekend¿crazy. Haro’s Ryan Nyquist and Andre Ellison were both going off all weekend long. Nyquist was doing barspin to no-handed backflips, and consistent 720’s, but a few slips kept him out of the top spot. Andre Ellison is only 14, but you’d never know it watching him ride: huge superman seat-grabs, tailwhips and more got Andre into the finals with ease. Former Floridians turned Huntington Beach locals Cory Nastazio and Chris Duncan took six and fifth respectively. Nasty can backflip anything in his path and was doing some of the highest 360’s I’ve ever seen. Duncan simply rules¿he was throwing stalled triple truckdrivers like they were nothing at all, along with all kinds of combo-variations. GT’s Mike Parenti and Scott Wirch were in fourth and third, both with some of the most consistent riding of the contest. Hyper’s Reuel Erickson threw some large decade airs and landed himself in second place. After the contest Barspinner Ryan’s father (the president of Reuel’s fan-club) bought Reuel’s autographed jersey for a hundred bucks¿wild. First place for the contest, and for the year went to Specialized’s T.J. Lavin. T.J. does the best superman seat-grabs of anyone, and his 360 tailwhips aren’t too shabby either. There was a bit of a mix up with the year end title, however, so read on…
The Mix Up This was the King of Dirt Finals, so the year-end champion was to be crowned. When the contest was over, and the numbers were tallied, it was announced that Chris Duncan was the winner. Chris had won a brand new Honda motorcycle and some cash for his efforts. He was interviewed for TV, and got all the perks that go along with being the winner. Being a local, Chris even got to take the motorcycle home with him that night. The next day we received a press release saying that there had in fact been a mix up on the totals, and T.J. Lavin was actually the winner. Instead of double points for the finals, the riders were given single points and the final points math was off. Chris was stripped of the title and prizes and they were given to T.J.
Things like this shouldn’t happen. Granted we all make mistakes, but Duncan is the last person this should happen to. I don’t know if there is any “right” way to handle something like this, I guess I just wish it didn’t happen. Regardless, it did, it sucks, and it’s over. T.J. is as much of a champion as Chris is, and deserves the win, it’s just a shame it had to go down in such a fashion. GT did award Chris $1,500 and a Panasonic Home System, however, to make up for their mistake.
King Of The Hill The Huntington Beach comp ended this year’s series and placed the crown on top of T.J.’s head for the second time in King of Dirt history. Couple that with his recent X Games win and T.J. is the man to beat these days. With the DK Dirt CCircuit finals set to go down in about a month, it will be interesting to see if T.J. can pull off a clean sweep of 1999’s titles. Only time will tell.
Panasonic Shock Wave King of Dirt Finals
Huntington Beach, California
1. T.J. Lavin/Specialized 811 points
2. Reuel Erickson/Hyper 795
3. Scott Wirch/GT 791 (scored higher on four runs)
4. Mike Parenti/GT 791
5. Chris Duncan/Free Agent 783
6. Cory Nastazio/Huffy 778
7. Andre Ellison/Haro 775
8. Ryan Nyquist/Haro 747
9. Matt Beringer/Redline 743
10. Chad Kagy/Hoffman Bikes 696
1999 Final Standings
1. T.J. Lavin/Specialized 92 points
2. Chris Duncan/Free Agent 91
3. Cory Nastazio/Huffy 88
4. Mike Parenti/GT 85
5. Scott Wirch/GT 84 (placed higher in finals)
6. Ryan Nyquist/Haro 84
7. Andre Ellison/Haro 72
8. Chad Kagy/Hoffman Bikes 67
9. Joey Garcia/Schwinn 66
10. Reuel Erickson/Hyper 65