We’ve all heard the phrase “separating the men from the boys,” but what about when that fine line is blurred by natural ability and the heart of a lion? The Skateboard Park Final was faced with that exact dilemma, as old school veterans found themselves flanked by young guns itching for recognition.
Curren Caples and Pedro Barros were both on fire throughout eliminations, and both had a heavy following coming into Sunday’s Final event. However, they were up against a stacked card that included legends like Andy Macdonald and Rune Glifberg. While Macdonald was sharp and able to use his vert prowess to land high-scoring tricks, multi-medal winner Glifberg was nursing injured ribs and seemed to be holding back, sometimes grimacing in pain.
In the first heat, Barros had his line locked, and relied on his incredible ability to adapt quickly, impressing both the judges and a fired-up audience. Though Lasek threatened at one point, it was Barros’ time to shine and he didn’t disappoint; easily moving on.
Curren Caples uncharacteristically dropped a few tricks early on, but was able to stay with it for an impressive score of 82 that topped the list in the second heat. His whiplash speeds around the park seemed impossible with a seventy-five pound frame, yet every time you thought he’d slow down, he found a way to build more momentum - no doubt a by-product of his surfing ability.
Into the finals, Macdonald set the pace with a lively backflip and huge airs that made a bold statement. Not at all intimidated, Barros flowed through the concrete throwing 540s and lightning-fast grinds to plant him firmly at the front of the pack.
Each time Caples’ wheels touched down, teenage screams, somewhat Beatles-like, filled the park. Like a heat-seeking missile, he displayed power and agility far beyond his years. In his final run, he looked to be on track to take the lead but as his run closed out, he missed a kickflip off the quarterpipe that may have arguably sealed the deal. Instead, Barros deservingly nabbed the gold in a competition previously dominated by repeat winners and crafty veterans, with Caples finishing just off the podium in fourth.
The unstoppable force known simply as Travis Pastrana wreaked unadulterated havoc during the Moto X Speed & Style eliminations and finals. From the moment the event got underway, and with plenty of hype surrounding Pastrana’s participation in the weeks leading up to X Games 16, a packed and eager audience waited impatiently for the multi-sport renaissance man to do the inevitable: take home a first-place gold medal.
With the previous day’s Rally event essentially a total loss due to vehicle issues, Mr. 199 redirected his frustration toward the Moto X course and was unwilling to accept anything less than first place. Up against an experienced Nate Adams in the final run, Pastrana jumped viciously out of the hole and mauled the opening drop-in, never looking back or second guessing himself. Delivering technical airs and ice-cold concentration through the Super X-style bumps, he sat deep on the rear of his bike, pushing for as much speed as he could possibly muster from his 2-stroke.
At the final horn, Pastrana waited for Adams and they spoke back and forth for a few moments while the crowd cheered. They then headed straight back to the track to line-up with the oversized jump-ramps. As if the screaming capacity crowd wasn’t already satisfied, the pair fired off dual back-flips that sent the spectators into what could only be described as pure insanity. One hell of a way to cap off the past four days in style.