X Games Austin comes to close after four days of high-flying action

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Vance Byron completes a 540 flair in the first round to unseat 10-time defending gold medalist Jamie Bestwick in the BMX Vert.
Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

After four days of sweat-inducing heat, countless tricks and hundreds of fans a day, X Games Austin came to an end. 

Thursday kicked off the first day of competition with Harley-Davidson Flat-Track Racing. The event was new to the X Games and consisted of 24 motorcyclists zooming around a 3/8-mile-long oval track with twin-engine motorcycles. 

After two heats and a last chance qualifier, the competition was down to 12 racers. 

In the 20-lap final, Jared Mees, AMA Pro Flat Track GNC1 champion, was in first place for most of the race and seemed to be in position to take the gold medal. 

Unfortunately, a mechanical failure on the final lap opened up a window for Kawasaki racer Bryan Smith. Smith won the gold medal with a time of 8:20.168. 

“I just hammered down that last corner and went for it,” Smith said. “To survive and come home with gold medal, it’s a dream come true, really.”

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Friday’s first event was one of the more memorable ones for the four days. Jamie Bestwick was looking to win his 10th-straight gold medal in the BMX Vert. 

Vance Byron had other ideas, though. 

In the first round, Byron completed a 540 flair, a trick that had never been completed in X Games history. He used the momentum from the first round to hold on to win the gold medal, ending Bestwick’s dominance over the sport. 

“I knew Jamie [Bestwick] was still going to bring the heat, and he wasn’t going to go down without a fight,” Byron said, after receiving his first X Games gold medal. “To put it all together is my dream. It’s what I’ve been working toward all year.”

Friday’s ending was perhaps just as exciting as its beginning. 

The America’s Navy Skateboard Big Air was the day’s main event, and Tom Schaar, 15, was looking to repeat his gold medal-caliber performance from last year. 

Schaar nailed a slow-spinning 720 over the gap to a 900 on the quarter pipe. When Elliot Sloan landed an Indy 7 to an enormous tailgrab 900 — 21.2 feet above the quarter pipe — Schaar settled for the bronze position. 

“That’s the best run I could do, and that’s the run I wanted to do, so I’m stoked,” Sloan said.

Bob Burnquist, who broke his wrist earlier in the week, received the gold medal, in part because of accomplishing a switch 540 over the gap into an Indy 700 fakie on the quarter pipe. 

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Saturday’s key event was the GoPro BMX Big Air. Texas native Morgan Wade had the gold medal in his grasp, but, in the final round, Colton Satterfield snatched the gold for the second year.

Satterfield completed a double flair on the big air for the third and final time. 

Once he landed it, the crowd erupted in cheers, and his coach ran up the big air ramp to greet him. 

“I did a double flair on a MegaRamp quarter pipe,” Satterfield said. “I’m super pumped! The feeling is indescribable.” 

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Morgan Wade was able to win a gold medal Sunday along with Bob Burnquist, in the Skateboard/BMX Big Air doubles. 

It was the first time the event had taken place at the X Games. It consisted of four pairs, one skateboard and one BMX rider, taking turns on the Big Air ramp.

In the third run, the duo took the lead and never looked back. 

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