Freestyle Motocross Riders Survive Crashes, Qualifying

By Katie Carrera
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, June 24, 2007

BALTIMORE, June 23 -- Blake "Bilko" Williams ran down the bleacher stairs when he saw friend and fellow Australian Matthew Schubring crash during his first run in Saturday's freestyle motocross preliminaries.

Schubring eventually walked away, but his fall was one of several in the FMX round that determined which 10 riders would advance to Sunday's finals in the Dew Action Sports Tour's Panasonic Open at the Camden Yards Sports Complex. None of the riders was seriously injured.

FMX preliminaries had been pushed back to Saturday morning after riders opted not to perform in windy conditions Friday. Qualifying for the finals through their first runs were 2006 winner Nate Adams and runner-up Mike Mason, whose 93.17 run earned him the No. 1 seed in the finals.

"I was happy with my run," said Adams, who enters the finals in fifth. "My last trick, my front end washed out going into that last corner and they penalized me that fifth of a point, which I don't think I deserved."

The 12th-place finisher in the final Dew Tour standings last year, 19-year-old Wiley Fullmer, moved on to the finals with a fast-paced second run.

"I felt a lot better in that second run than the first run," Fullmer said. "I don't have those huge back-flip tricks that those guys have, so the more jumps you get in the better it is."

In his first competition, Takayuki Higashino of Osaka, Japan, was .17 of a point behind the 10th and final freestyle motocross rider to advance from Saturday's preliminaries.

Jeremy "Twitch" Stenberg, who failed to make the last cut as well, has sponsored Higashino since he came to the United States to pursue a professional FMX career.

"Taka's been living with me and riding at my house for the past six months," Stenberg said. "I saw the potential he had and I knew if someone gave him the chance like I got that he could make it. He's got a lot of heart for what he does."

Bestwick Wins Round 1

BMX vert rider Jamie Bestwick began his quest for a third straight Dew Cup with his first win of the 2007 tour with a score of 89.17. Following Bestwick in the best-of-two-run format was last year's runner-up, Chad Kagy (88.67).

Dhers Advances

Daniel Dhers, the 2007 Dew Tour winner in BMX park, along with perennial favorites Dave Mirra, Allan Cooke and Ryan Nyquist, advanced to the 12-rider event finals Sunday. Only four points separated Dhers, in first place, from the last rider to move on, Zackery Warden. Scotty Cranmer, a two-time runner-up in BMX park, did not qualify, finishing 19th. . . .

Stephen Murray, 27, who crashed attempting a double back flip in the BMX dirt event finals Friday night, is in critical but stable condition after undergoing surgery Saturday.

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