KINGS ISLAND, Cincinnati (May 24, 2009) The finals of the ASA Action Sports World Tour's (ASA ASWT) Kings Island event presented by BFD.com delighted park visitors with shows that pushed the limits of everyone's expectations and crowned champions more than deserving of recognition. After months of placing second to Pierre-Luc Gagnon (Montreal, Canada), Danny Mayer (Omaha, Nebraska) took top honors this weekend in the Skateboard Vert contest and claimed what was his first-ever professional competition title. BMX Vert's Simon Tabron (Newquay, England) also took the top podium spot with a smile across his face that is classic Tabron and reminiscent of the champion fans have known him to be.
"I've had so much fun this week," said Tabron after the contest. "Being here and winning [at Kings Island] has been great.
Tabron entered the BMX Vert contest as the number one qualifier and in the envious position of being the last rider to compete, both an advantageous position and sometimes a curse.
"I had planned to do everything in my first run," said Tabron, describing today's strategy. "I was prepping for all my tricks, including the 900, but I lost so much speed on the early walls, that I would have wrecked had I tried it. So, I just thought that the first run is the one I have to drop and I have to nail everything in my last run."
Placing outside of the top three in the first round, Tabron realized he had to be spot on in his last run to win. At that point Chad Kagy (Gilroy, Calif.) was in the lead with Jimmy Walker (Gilberts, Ill.) in second and Denver, Colorado's Jay Eggleston in third.
"I had to revise my plan and do what was necessary to win, even though I was draining in the day's heat." Tabron said. A near perfect 900 amidst an extraordinarily solid run was enough to propel him to the lead and the title. Rounding out the top three were Kagy and Walker, second and third respectively.
Skateboard Vert contestants were not going to let the BMX men outdo them in excitement so they turned out a performance that kept fans glued to the sidelines with new tricks, a few crashes and a new winner on the ASA ASWT podium.
From the first run everyone could tell it was going to be more than just a contest. The top five men after the first round Gagnon, Mayer, Josh Stafford (San Diego, Calif.), Rob Lorifice (Encinitas, Calif.), and Zach Miller (Del Mar, Calif.) laid down impressively solid 10-wall runs, making it a race between the legends (Gagnon and Mayer) and the young guns Stafford (18), Lorifice (20), and Miller (19). Then, Mayer took the lead in the second round with not only his signature kick flip 540, but also a fakie to fakie 540 and the crowd went wild.
Gagnon, as the top qualifier and therefore the last rider in each round of the finals, started his second run by dropping in with a 360 flip but missed his 720 and was never quite able to put it together again this weekend. In fact, after Mayer took the lead with his second run, the top two positions never changed. Mayer emerged the victor, ending the competition by going three for three with his kick-flip mctwist, even after landing on the ramp flat on his back in the third round. Gagnon continued to struggle after dropping in with a 360 flip and therefore watched his streak of 7 ASA Action Sports World Tour Skateboard Vert titles come to an end.
"While I'm disappointed that I missed my run three times in a row, I am happy for Danny. He's been working hard and skating great and he definitely deserves it," said Gagnon after the awards ceremony.
Seemingly unaware of the cuts and scraps on his elbows and his stiffening muscles from the hard landing in round three, Mayer bit his gold medal and enjoyed the excitement of his first professional win.
"I've won best trick contests, but I've never won a competition like this," realized Mayer. When asked how it feels, he looked at his forearms and showed everyone his goose bumps and said,"This says it all."
Lorifice took third place in Skateboard Vert followed by Adam Taylor (Cocoa Beach, Fla.) and Anthony Furlong (Tampa, Fla.)
Ancillary activities this weekend included numerous Freestyle Motocross exhibitions by Jimmie McGuire (Lawton, Oklahoma), Brian Foster (Minden, Nev.), and Dustin Nowak (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.), as well as various sponsor attractions to include the BFD.com booth amidst Kings Island's 15 roller coasters and heart-jolting rides.