It all happened on Day 3
LOS ANGELES -- Josh Hill took an early lead in the Moto X Racing finals Saturday and held onto it through 19 of 20 laps before tussling with Justin Brayton in an aggressive pass in the final seconds of the race that vaulted Brayton to his first X Games gold.
"I got into second fairly quick at the beginning of the race and was just kind of following Josh," Brayton said. "He was obviously riding really well. You really had to pick your spot, and I had a spot around the first turn where I could hug an inside rut and still make the triple out of the turn. I felt like I could maybe get him there, and I tried a couple times and it didn't work, so I was going to have to pick a different spot. My mechanic Spencer put Lap 16 on the board because from Lap 10 I just wanted to know how many laps I had. I knew it was go time and I think at one point, I kind of slid out. I just had to regroup at that point and get back after it, so I made a last-lap pass on Josh."
Hill and Brayton were battling it out all night, with Hill leading and Brayton in second in their Heat 1 qualifying round.
"Justin was just on my rear wheel the whole time," Hill said. "I mean, we did 32 laps one and two. He got me on the one that counted. I think he would have rode even faster had I not been holding him up the whole time."
Brayton said he was thrilled to have Moto X Racing back at X Games after a two-year hiatus; he won silver in 2009 and 2010. "I was stoked," he said. "It's been a pretty rough year with not the results I've wanted and to come here and get this after getting two silvers … I would have traded those silvers for one gold any day. I finally got it. It really is a childhood dream to win at X Games."
Men's Moto X Racing Final
Women's Moto X Racing
Reigning Women's Moto X champion Vicki Golden was golden again Saturday night after battling her way up from the back of the pack to second place over the course of 12 laps, then winning after a last-second blunder by leader Meghan Rutledge.
Rutledge pumped her fist as she went over the jump in her final lap, thinking she had an insurmountable lead, but nosedived her bike and augered into the dirt well before the finish line.
"Honestly, I thought she had it," Golden said. "As I came over I heard the crowd just screaming. As I looked, I saw her on the ground and just skimmed the whoops as best I could because I knew it was going to be close. I was in shock: she had a huge lead."
In addition to her three-peat, Golden also made history Friday as the first woman to compete in Moto X Best Whip event, winning bronze.
"It's been two days of stressful riding out here at X for me," Golden said. "To walk out of here with two medals, one in a women's category and one in a men's category … I'm speechless. And I'm ready to take a week or two off from dirtbikes."
Women's Moto X Racing Final
Gymkhana GRIDKen Block turned Gymkhana GRID into a viral sensation on YouTube, but it was his RallyCross racing rival Tanner Foust who took home the discipline's first X Games gold medal in the event on Saturday.
Sweden's Patrick Sandell took the silver medal and Liam Doran from Great Britain got bronze in front of a packed house at the Irwindale Events Center.
"I'd rather be good than lucky a lot of times. Against Liam I was very lucky," Foust said. "It's surprisingly technical. You have to try not to stall."
Doran booted early-favorite Block in their best-of-three showdown in the round of eight. Then Foust knocked off Doran in the semis.
"The fastest way around this course is the shortest and tightest way, you know?" said Doran, who suffered a wrist injury in qualifiers. "I would love to be out there making smoke shows and having fun, but it's not going to get me a medal."
Doran's and Sandell's medals came partly by default when Global Rallycross Championship rookie Anton Marklund blew a head gasket before his semifinal race with Sandell. That allowed Sandell to advance to the finals, where he lost to Foust. With Marklund out, Doran was left with no one to race in the bronze medal consolation round.
"I could just see out the corner of my eye as I'm spinning out there and spinning too much as Liam was taking the lead on me," said Block of his quarterfinal loss to Doran. "I tried my hardest, but sometimes too much horsepower is a problem. But I really enjoyed it."
All eight of the drivers in Gymkhana GRID are scheduled to compete in Sunday's X Games RallyCross race at 5 p.m. ET.
Adaptive Moto X Racing
Above-the-knee amputee Mike Schultz won the Adaptive Moto X Racing finals on Saturday, collecting his fifth X Games gold. Schultz previously won Adaptive Moto X gold in 2010 and has also won the Adaptive SnoCross event at winter X Games three times.
"Thankfully ESPN and X Games brought us all back and we're all here making a lot of noise and hitting some big jumps," said Schultz. "It's important to really show people that if something bad happens and you end up losing a limb or wrecking yourself real bad it just takes a little determination and the right tools to get back at it and be living life and having fun."
Schultz is having a big year outside of X Games, too. He won the 2013 Popular Science Invention Award for the Versa Foot prosthetic device he developed after losing his left leg in a snocross accident. Schultz also developed the Moto Knee prosthetic that he and several other athletes in the field use.
"For me it's more rewarding to see someone else succeeding with it than it is for me to go out and win a race," said Schultz. "It's so much deeper, and I'm just glad to be able to do something worthwile that helps other people. If one of these other guys got the gold I'd be stoked for them, too."
Garrett Reynolds' perfect streak as the dominating force of BMX Street throughout the discipline's seven-year history at X Games was broken on Saturday as Chad Kerley claimed his first gold medal.
Reynolds ended up in the silver medal position and Jeremiah Smith took the bronze.
"This is Garrett's event," Kerley said. "He's a legend, and I got into BMX because of him, from watching his videos. That's why it hasn't hit me that I beat him yet. I never I thought I'd be in this position."
Kerley, who strung long combinations of technical tricks and manual lines together, was ahead of Reynolds by just one point after the first run of finals. That ended up being the deciding factor after each of them posted a score of 45 -- a tie for the highest score of the day -- in subsequent runs. BMX Street results are based on the total of each rider's two best runs in a timed jam session format.
"It's an honor to be beat by this guy and I'm honestly surprised that it hadn't happened earlier," Reynolds said. "He's going to be the next big thing. He already is. And now he's going to help take it to a new level. Now there's going to be a kid who watches him and follows him, and that's how the sport progresses."
Street League Skateboarding
Defending 2012 Street League Skateboarding champion Nyjah Huston collected his third gold medal of the 2013 global X Games series Saturday after beating out Chris Cole and Luan Oliveira.
"I was so hungry, and that's really what helped me out out here," said Huston, who missed X Games Munich with a rib injury.
Huston was the top qualifier Friday, though his peers didn't make the win easy for him in finals.
"The finals are always so much crazier than the qualifier," Huston said. "These guys out here get better every single contest."
Oliveira led after the Flow section with 8.9 points to Huston's 8.7, and he held on through the Control section with 9.3 to Huston's 9.1. But Huston owned the Impact section, landing all six of his attempts in a contest format where the top four scores count.
Highlights from Huston's Impact section runs included a kickflip backside tail slide (9.2), kickflip frontside nose slide (8.8), switch frontside bluntslide (8.8) and bigspin frontside boardslide (8.4).
The 2013 Street League Skateboarding Nike SB World Tour concludes Aug. 25 with the SLS Super Crown World Championship in Newark, N.J. Oliveira's bronze medal Saturday pushed him to the top of the overall tour rankings with 493 points to Cole's 491 and Paul Rodriguez's 479. Huston trails with 468, largely due to missing the Munich event.
Bucky Lasek beat out Pierre-Luc Gagnon and Andy Macdonald in Skateboard Vert, completing a clean sweep of all four global X Games events in 2013.
Lasek turned 40 in December, but he's only "over the hill" in the sense that he has definitively cleared the hump of his seven-year gold-medal drought at X Games.
"I'm having the best year of my life, hands down," said Lasek, who had won six X Games golds before this year but with his last previous one in 2006. He says the difference this year was in deciding to ease up.
"A lot of people have been asking what I changed up, and the truth is I just decided to relax and have fun," Lasek said.
He said this year's results have also kicked his competitive spirit back into gear, and he dismissed talk of retiring. "I'm going to keep kicking butt until my butt keeps getting kicked," he said. "I'm already thinking ahead to next year."
Lasek came out swinging, posting his winning score of 92.33 in his first of four runs after landing a run featuring a heelflip frontside air, heelflip frontside Cab and frontside nollieflip stalefish revert. Gagnon -- a six-time Skateboard Vert gold medalist -- came closest to catching up, but he fell in his final attempt to unseat Lasek.
"It was really close, but it didn't happen," Gagnon said. "But Bucky's been killing it all year. I'm really happy for him."
Lasek says he'll hold off on celebrating for one more day because his weekend is just getting started: He's also competing in the Ford RallyCross SuperCar event on Sunday.
Information from XGames.com's Colin Bane and Dave L'Heureux was used in this report.