The first enormous BMX contest of 2019 opened the floodgates to what is likely to be an inconceivable contest year. The Anaheim Supercross motorcycle race in Southern California hosted the first stop of the BMX Triple Challenge, a three-stop freestyle series that takes place in the pit area before the races. This year the stops also include Texas and Colorado, each with a unique layout and format. Stop 1 was dirt jumping, and a slew of familiar faces came out to ride.
On top of that 30-foot roll-in, we had Nitro Circus veterans Jaie Toohey, Andy Buckworth, Brandon Loupos, James Foster, and a mass of other heavy hitters from the BMX competition circuit. The course was as simple as it was massive, consisting of two very large step-up-style dirt jumps. The first distance sent the rider over 25 feet, while the second put them around 30 feet above the concrete. These were serious, and adding to the intensity was the fact that the contest was open to anyone that wanted to enter.
Open qualifying in action sports events is a fairly rare thing. Allowing access to the course to any eager amateur can sometimes go well, and other times horribly wrong. In this case, there was a bunch of rain in Southern California, an area that usually is able to boast of their year-round perfect weather. No matter what the builders did, the dirt was soft for qualifying, which meant slow conditions, making a hard situation worse. Crashes were abundant, but thank goodness nothing serious happened to anyone. Shout out to the EMT crew.
The format mimicked that of supercross racing: three rounds. Forty competitors would be reduced to 18 after three attempts, with the highest score counting. Then the 18 riders would compete for 13 spots (the overall winner from last year went directly to finals). It was a hard fought two days of riding, but when the dust cleared the Nitro Circus athletes shined.
Pat Casey won the event, Buckworth finished second, and David Godziek, last year’s winner, rounded out the podium.
Toohey sat on an airplane for over 15 hours to triple tailwhip in a backflip. He said that he hadn’t tried the trick to a non-resi landing in more than four years, and this was the first time he felt healthy enough to try. Although he didn’t podium in the contest, he made the finals and pulled the World’s First Toohey Twister (nothing front bikeflip) on a dirt landing. He was awarded Best Trick and a bunch of money for his efforts.
When Buckworth dropped in, the place exploded. He double backflipped almost every run on the first jump, which is unreasonable and insane on every level. He pulled his dream run on his final attempt of finals: He double flipped no hands on the first set and frontflipped with his hands off on the second. He was presented second place and is still smiling at this moment.