Lindy Taverner

Steaming stunts at X Games

2011-08-04 12:12
Sport24 columnist Lindy Taverner (File)
Lindy Taverner

The SA National Alpine Ski Champs and Quiksnow SA Snowboarding Champs were hosted by the Afriski Ski Resort last week, nestled high up in the Maluti mountains of Lesotho. I was really disappointed to miss it, but will definitely be there next year!

Conditions were perfect this winter with the resort having had some of the best natural snow falls in recent years. The snow park was jam packed full of kickers, slides, handrails, benches, butterboxes, bonks and other insane features, providing SA's top snowboarders with ideal conditions to perform a variety of extreme tricks.

Park shapers worked around the clock to produce a park of X Games standard with a world class ranking. South African snowboarding is a small but growing subculture driven by a tight knit and dedicated community.

On the topic of extreme games, the X Games 17 was on last week, if you happened to have caught the madness on TV.

Travis Pastrana was the biggest and most astonishing story of the action sport spectacular. If you don’t know who Travis is, Google him and prepare for the most insane stunt video footage imaginable.

Pastrana's attempt to wrap the end of his competitive freestyle career into the beginning of his NASCAR career appeared to be doused before it really started after he shattered his leg and ankle attempting a rodeo 720 in the Moto X Best Trick.

Rumours swirled that Subaru had modified Pastrana's Rally car to make it drivable without the use of his feet, and these rumblings were confirmed when he shoehorned himself and his immobilised leg into the driver's seat to take practice laps using a steering wheel-mounted accelerator and clutch.

Watching him hobble from couch to car and back, he looked decades older than his 27 years, which made the performance of 16-year-old phenomenon Nyjah Huston in the Skateboard Street final all the more stark in comparison.

Nate Adams dominated the Motocross scene this year, earning the highest scores in Moto X Speed & Style and Freestyle, becoming the only competitor to earn two golds.

The roars of X fans turned to winces when footage surfaced of Pastrana crashing into a wall during RallyCross practice. He was officially cleared to race by event medical officials, but his damaged car was a vivid metaphor for the man himself.

It was hard not to wonder when enough would be enough. Despite his mangled body, having his NASCAR-debut dreams crushed and having to relearn how to drive his own car, Pastrana managed to qualify for the RallyCross final with the fifth fastest time.

Pastrana was in contention for bronze until the final lap, when he buried the nose of the Subaru into a wall. For the first time he was finally seen to be in pain, grimacing as he grabbed his broken leg.

It was a humanising moment for a superhuman spirit and a most fitting way for X Games 17 to end. After all, what are a few more medals to Pastrana, already the most decorated Moto X competitor in X Games history and a legend in American rally racing? The images of Pastrana are seared on his legacy and will last as long his iconic double backflip in 2006.

It’s not only the States that has all the action; our South African guys are also serious world class competitors. Legendary South African FMX champion and Red Bull Athlete, Nick De Wit and his personal selection of the best riders in the country are treating crowds to an acrobatic display of modern FMX.

We can see Red Bull X-Fighters Jams extravaganza in Bloemfontein on the evening of August 20 and Stellenbosch on August 26.

Lastly, don’t forget it’s the Gravity Adventure Festival happening in Kleinmond this weekend, lots of outdoor adventure action not to be missed.

Lindy Taverner is the editor of the RUSH magazine that was based in the Eastern Cape and recently relocated to Cape Town. Previous issues and updated extreme sport news can be found on her site

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

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