Photos/Words: Casey Davis @air_d617
The second annual Nitro World Games went off this weekend in Salt Lake City, UT, as thousands flocked to Rice-Eccles Stadium to once again witness history being made with dirt bikes, skateboards, BMX bikes and scooters. Stemming from former SX, MX and FMX Champ Travis Pastrana's worldwide Nitro Circus tour, the annual Nitro World Games is essentially a platform of sorts for athletes to showcase their talents, however, this platform is a big one; big enough live, nationwide coverage on NBC!
Action Sports in general (including FMX) can always use a push in the evolutionary direction because without that constant progression of not only the tricks, but the ramps and landings, as well, these disciplines would have disappeared long ago. Change is key with just about everything, and the Nitro World Games crew is here to ensure the safety of the future of FMX, BMX, Scooters and Skateboarding by giving the young stars of today a little push in the right direction.
For the FMXers, two separate categories – FMX and FMX Best Trick – were integrated into the schedule with some jaw-dropping results. The FMX finals were first up, and after making our way through the lineup for the Finals it was the defending champ Levi Sherwood who took home his second consecutive Nitro World Games FMX win. Sherwood absolutely stomped his run in flawless fashion even with the addition of the double backflip; his first-ever in competition. Finishing up in a very impressive second place was Southern California's own Javier Villegas. "JVAir" hails from Chile, but he's been a So.Cal local for a number of years. In fact, he was a frequent sight at Milestone MX, as it was his former training grounds. Rounding out the top three was Australia's Josh Sheehan, who also stomped several big tricks, however, it wasn't enough to overtake Villegas or Sherwood.
FMX Best Trick was the finale at the Nitro World Games, which was fitting because the audience was loving every minute of the insane flip variations that these riders are capable of doing. With no clearcut favorites, the judges had their hands full, but in the end it was Harry Bink who stood atop the podium. The Australian is known for his big tricks and executions, and he certainly lived up to those expectations because he was awarded with first win at the Nitro World Games after doing a Rock Solid Front-Flip. Although he won, Bink's victory didn't come easy after over-rotating the flip in his first run, which sent him to the ground. William Van De Putte's second trip to the Nitro World Games was one that he won't soon forget – especially after under-rotating and crashing in his first run before wrapping up second place. Rounding out the podium was Pat Bowden, who showcased some of the cleanest and most effortless riding in the competition. In his first run, Bowden pulled a massive double-grab double backflip in his first run and then backed it up with a one-handed indy to rock solid backflip combo!
Looking back at last year's inaugural event, it's hard to believe how far these riders have come in just one year, and you can't help but wonder what craziness will ensue next year. The 2017 Nitro World Games was a success and fun for everyone even if you're not involved in any kind of action sport. We can't wait to see how it all goes down in 2018!