Clay Kreiner wants to do it like Chaz Ortiz. The two have something in common: Ortiz was also 12 when he won the Free Flow Tour, and just two years later, Ortiz is starting to dominate skate park; he won at the Dew’s first stop in Portland, and will show his stuff in the finals Saturday. But Kreiner said after his Friday win, that friendship matters more than competition. “Coming into the contest, I knew maybe three kids. But now I know every single one of them, and we hang out and have fun.” Then he admitted his goal: “I definitely want to be as big as Chaz Ortiz in what I ride.”
Meanwhile, the biggest event on Friday night at the Salt Lake City stop of the Dew was BMX Dirt. The short but wicked course had a steep start, fast berm and ten jumps that were five vertical gaps, each one a hip that tested every rider’s sense of direction.
Ryan Nyquist pulled it off for first place after biffing his second run. The format, best two of three runs, meant the fall had him out of the running in seventh place, despite his suicide no handed 360 and an opposite double truck in his first run. For the third run, Nyquist looked nervous as he waited for his start, one foot jittering on the ground, the back of his shirt dusted brown with dirt from his fall. Afterward, when he knew he’d nailed it, he looked more relieved than overjoyed at what was certainly a winning run.
Nyquist said, “I was most definitely nervous. I had only that run, it was a do or die situation, so I’m happy when it worked out.”
T J Ellis took second, looking shocked after pulling off a run that started with abackflip, to a 360 double tailwhip, and then finished with a near impossible trick: a frontflip tailwhip. He looked stunned, like he couldn’t believe it, saying,”I’m stoked to be on the podium with Ryan and Brandon, they’re friends of mine. I didn’t think it was going to happen.”
Nyquist leaned over his shoulder and said into the reporter’s tape recorder, “I thought it was going to happen,” then looked at Ellis and chortled.
Third spot went to Brandon Dosch, who started with a double tailwhip, did some minor moves before nailing 360 lookback and an opposite 360 tailwhip, finishing with a barspin to late tailwhip.
Mike Aitken, who won last year’s contest, then suffered a traumatic brain injury in a bad crash one month later, was recruited to give out the trophies. He’s already back on his bike and training to regain his moves at a local ABA BMX track. “I’m feeling good,” he said, smiling.
The jumps were all hips, and the final hip to the finish snagged a lot of riders, who landed on the right corner of the last jump. It took out Josh Hult when the right edge crumbled under his off-balance tire. It got Scotty Cranmer twice. He looked totally shocked and clearly mouthed “No way!” after it happened the second time.
Diogo Canina was one of the highlights of the BMX Dirt evening; he’s the only dude that rides without brakes. But after losing his speed and not being able to make it over the final jump, he sat on top and waved to the crowd, hamming it up a little, hiding well any disappointment about dropping out after showing some perfect tricks.
Jim Foster had the worst night of all. The last jump got him, and he landed on his wrist, knowing immediately that it was broken. He lay in the dirt, pointing to it as medical ran over. But Foster walked away, and only out of sight of the cheering crowd did the white-faced rider lay down on the stretcher and permit himself to be carried away.
Perhaps the happiest camper of the night was Kyle Carlson, team manger for Osiris shoes. The company just put Nyquist under contract. “We just signed him a week ago, and it’s his first contest representing us, and he came through, and it’s awesome. We’re excited, Carlson said. When asked how much Osiris is paying Nyquist, Carlson said, “Enough.” And laughed.
- Wina Sturgeon