2016: The Year In BMX
The Year In BMX
Holidays are here, and that can only mean one thing: It's time to look back and reflect on the year that was in BMX. Here are some of the highlights, including X Games heavy moments from Austin and the "World of X Games" show on ABC. See you in 2017!
Real BMX debuts
In August 2016, the "World of X Games" added a new Real series to the lineup: Real BMX. The first-ever X Games Real BMX video contest featured Van Homan, Colt Fake, Dennis Enarson, Dakota Roche, Garrett Reynolds and Devon Smillie all vying for X Games gold. In the end, following the debut of the one-hour show on ABC's "World of X Games," Garrett Reynolds took gold, Colt Fake took silver and Dennis Enarson took bronze. In addition, Colt Fake's wild section earned him the fan favorite vote. Here, Van Homan manuals a wooden flat rail from his section.
BMX Street returns to X Games
In 2015, BMX Street was not contested at X Games Austin. In 2016, the discipline was added back, and in what has become a familiar turn of events, Fiend pro Garrett Reynolds rose to the top to grab another gold medal. And he waited until the final moment of the competition to deliver. Just when it seemed there was a chance a new name could win BMX Street, Reynolds unleashed a final run that scored 12 points higher than his previous best. More pressure means a better performance from Reynolds. Even a new format that rewarded more consistent riders couldn't stop the 25-year-old. It was his eighth gold medal in nine attempts. Not a bad record at all.
Jamie Bestwick regains BMX Vert title
After settling for a silver at XG Austin 2015 that ended his X Games-record winning streak at 9, Jamie Bestwick won gold in BMX Vert. Again. Bestwick's 14 X Games gold medals moves him into a three-way tie for second-most X Games gold; he's just one behind Shaun White. At age 44, Bestwick continues to amaze the BMX scene with his untouched vert skills. And if that wasn't enough, Bestwick also opened his own coffee shop this year, Rothrock Coffee, in State College, Pennsylvania. So when he's not roasting a vert ramp, he's roasting beans. Let's hope Bestwick can continue this momentum in 2017, when X Games moves to Minneapolis.
Haro pays tribute to DMC
At X Games Austin 2016, 49-year-old Dennis McCoy successfully landed a 900 air in his run, becoming the oldest rider to compete at X Games Austin. He was also the oldest rider to land the rare but difficult aerial (while winning a bronze medal). A few months later, DMC was inducted into the BMX Hall of Fame. And if that wasn't enough, DMC's sponsor, Haro, released a limited edition tribute to the Haro Master that he rode in 1986, his rookie year as a pro. So he's thirty years deep as a BMX pro, he's still progressing and he's still getting recognized for his many accomplishments and contributions to BMX. Clearly, age is just a number.
Enarson finally takes gold in BMX Park
For years, Haro rider Dennis Enarson was always on the verge of winning BMX Park at X Games, but it seemingly escaped him. Before 2016, Enarson was tied with Simon Tabron for the most silver medals at X Games without winning gold (between Park and Street). That luck changed at X Games Austin 2016, when Enarson finally nailed the win and took home his first BMX Park gold medal with ease. It was about as triumphant a win as he could ask for, in front of a packed crowd, and it was well deserved.
XG dominates NORA Cup
Each year in the fall, Ride BMX Magazine honors the top riders in the sport across each discipline. Dubbed the NORA Cup (number one rider awards), it's a night of celebration for all of BMX. This year, some familiar X Games names emerged on top, including Garrett Reynolds (Reader's Choice Rider of The Year), Dennis Enarson (Ramp Rider of The Year), Ty Morrow (Web Video of The Year) and Kevin Peraza (Dirt Rider of The Year). Their successful performances during the year at X Games helped push them into these prestigious positions. Congrats, guys!
Connor Fields, Mariana Pajon win Olympics
In August at the 2016 Rio Olympics, the United States ended its gold-medal drought in BMX Racing when Connor Fields won in the men's final, with the Netherlands' Jelle van Gorkom close behind. Meanwhile, Colombia's Mariana Pajon successfully defended her 2012 gold medal in the women's division, with Alise Post in the silver-medal slot. "There was kind of a point where I exited the last corner and realized I was winning," said a smiling Fields, his new medal draped around his neck. "I was like: 'Get to the line! Get to the line!' I crossed that finish line and dropped to my knees. I couldn't believe it." Seeing BMX racing in the Olympics every four years is a definite treat for the BMX world and beyond. Next stop: Tokyo in 2020. And we can't wait.
Scotty Cranmer injured
In October, while on a BMX trip to Las Vegas, X Games BMX Park veteran Scotty Cranmer caught his front wheel in a hole, which sent him over the handlebars and onto his face. Cranmer suffered several facial fractures, cerebral hemorrhaging and damage to his C4 and C5 vertebrae. He was rushed to the hospital immediately with help from the Road 2 Recovery Foundation, a non-profit organization aimed at aiding professional action sports athletes who have sustained serious injuries. Cranmer was eventually flown back to New Jersey to start rehabilitation. Almost immediately, Cranmer started documenting his progress on his ever-popular YouTube channel, and he continues to show strength and courage as he regains movement and puts in the work to heal. His determination is second to none in BMX and far beyond. Stand with Scotty!
Hoffman high air on Way's ramp
In 2015, skateboarder Danny Way constructed a new ramp in his lifelong search for high air on a skateboard. When it was finished, Way invited BMX Big Air legend Mat Hoffman to try out the new ramp. "I can't say no to that," Hoffman said. "And I went bigger than I've ever gone, which is something I didn't think I would do at age 43." To coincide with the 25-year anniversary of Hoffman Bikes, Hoffman held onto the footage until June 2016 and helped to produce a three-part series for XGames.com, dubbed "The Quest for High Air."
K-Rob flips Providence
On Aug. 13, 2016, Kevin "K-Rob" Robinson broke the Guinness World Record live on ESPN in front of 5,000 dedicated Rhode Islanders in Downtown Providence. The feat also made top 5 on SportsCenter. And if that wasn't enough, his first attempt was unsuccessful. Robinson basically bounced upon landing, cleared the majority of the landing ramp and slid across the pavement. Then he had to get back up and try it again on live television. Luckily, his second attempt was a success.
Dave Mirra, 1974 - 2016
Dave Mirra, the versatile BMX freestyle rider who owned the most X Games medals in history through the summer of 2013, died in February of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to police in Greenville, North Carolina. "Dave Mirra, your courage, determination and natural skill in everything you pursued pushed the world of action sports to become a better place. From all of us at X Games and ESPN, we salute your contributions," ESPN said in a statement following the news. Following his death, Mirra became the first action sports athlete to be diagnosed with CTE, the brain disease associated with concussions that the medical community is just beginning to understand. To celebrate Mirra's life, the "World of X Games" produced a show titled 'Remembering Mirra,' and X Games added Dave Mirra's BMX Park Best Trick to its summer lineup, which was attended by Mirra's wife and children. BMX is still feeling his loss.