If Australian Steve McCann wins BMX Vert this weekend at the 2011 Dew Tour Championships in Las Vegas, Nev., he will become only the second rider to claim a year-end Dew Cup for BMX Vert in the entire seven year history of the Dew Tour.
That's because vert legend Jamie Bestwick, 40, has won every other Dew Cup in BMX Vert since the start of the Dew Tour.
This year, the race is tighter than it's ever been, with McCann, 28, currently sitting in second place year-end rankings with 176 points behind Bestwick, who sits in first place with 190 points. That's just a 14 point difference -- a difference that could easily be reversed with a win from McCann. (Riders are awarded 100 point for a first place finish, 90 points for a second place finish.)
So far this year, Bestwick won vert at the Ocean City stop, and placed second in Salt Lake. Meanwhile, McCann placed fourth in Ocean City and managed to beat Bestwick in Salt Lake by mere tenths of a point. The final run in Salt Lake for McCann included a triple tailwhip into a flair into a no-handed 900.
"There's only a couple guys that have ever stood on the top step of the podium with Jamie in the mix, and I'm on that short list now," McCann told Alli Sports following the win. (Fellow Woodward Camp vert and Big Air competitor Chad Kagy is also on that list.)
For years, rumors have circulated about the unseen bag of tricks that Jamie Bestwick possesses in secret, but never does in contests. Tricks such as no-handed 900s to turndown, flair variations, and combination tailwhip airs done at ungodly Bestwick heights. Tricks and combinations that are so intricate and dangerous that they are best left alone unless Bestwick is backed into a corner.
In the past, Bestwick has done what he's needed to do to win vert comps and nothing more. If he knew he could keep it relatively "Bestwick-ian" mellow, win first place and walk off the ramp healthy, he's done just that. And there's nothing wrong with that since watching Jamie Bestwick casually flow a vert ramp is an amazing spectacle.
But now that Steve McCann has stepped it up with new tricks, a better vert pump and airs in the 12-foot range, Jamie Bestwick is at a crossroads. Will he roll the dice and bring out new moves to edge out McCann, or will he depend on the runs he has dialed in for the past year? And what if, by chance, McCann also goes for it and attempts tricks such as the no-handed 900 to turndown? (He does already have the no-handed 900 on lock, so it's not entirely impossible.)
All that and more will be answered at this weekend's Dew Tour finals. For everyone on the deck in Vegas, please keep it safe.
And also, because the McCann vs. Bestwick topic has been a hot topic this week, we turned to Twitter and got some opinions on this weekend's showdown. If you've got something to add, log in and comment below.
"I hope the rider with the best run wins! Deservingly." -Kevin Robinson
"Bestwick will come back with a win, dropping some stuff from his arsenal of moves." -Effraim Catlow
"According to his Albion interview, Bestwick will destroy McCann." -Ryan Scott
"The master is only the master for so long." -John Ryan Dobbs
"If he is healthy, Bestwick hands down!" -Street Geezus
"McCann going to smash it in for the Aussies!" -Nick Rolph