Adams Picks Up the Pieces to Win

By Katie Carrera
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 25, 2007

BALTIMORE, June 24 -- As he revved his dirt bike and encouraged the jam-packed crowd to cheer, it was easy to tell that Blake "Bilko" Williams was pleased with his first run in the freestyle motocross finals of the Dew Action Sports Tour's Panasonic Open at the Camden Yards Sports Complex.

The Aussie earned a 93.83 with his first run. When it came time for his second, 2006's FMX Dew Cup winner Nate Adams's two smooth runs, with scores of 94.83 and 95.67, still held the lead.

That left Williams and final rider Mike Mason, who sat in second and third, respectively, heading into their last runs, as the only challengers to Adams.

After he messed up on the ramp nearest the bleachers, one several riders called "the worst we've had out here," Williams perched atop another jump and beckoned spectators once again. He appeared more worried about entertaining the crowd than taking over first place.

Williams attempted what looked like a superman flip, one his friend Mason described as "when you have to pull the bike really hard into you and he didn't do it, so when that happened he over rotated, came off the bike and smashed up his ankle and got his face a little bit."

Medical personnel and Mason and Adams quickly got to Williams, who waved to the crowd before being carted off the course. His injuries aren't believed to be serious.

"Bilko's just like me, he's a competitor," Adams said. "He wants to win, he doesn't care who he has to beat or what he has to do to get there, he wants to win and I know that's what he was trying to do and that happens. Even though that happens as part of our sport I still feel bad for him."

After watching his friend crash, Mason held up a bit in his last run leaving the podium scores what they were when Williams exited: Adams in first place followed by Williams and Mason.

"Bilko's one of my real good friends and to see him hit the ground, hit the dirt is such a bummer," Mason said. "Any time someone gets hurt and you're sitting up on the roll in the nerves start to come out and it takes you out of your rhythm."

To claim his first victory in defense of last year's title, Adams put together two clean, crisp runs that included La Z Boy backflips, one-handed landings and sidewinders, but the crash overshadowed his accomplishments.

"I always have a set run planned out in my head, I know where I'm going to go, what I'm going to do and I just stick to that," he said. "Whatever happens, happens and today I came out on top. It's hard to sit here and be happy though."

After the victory, Adams echoed many riders in saying the FMX course was a bit basic considering how the sport has progressed in recent years, but that the clay-based East Coast dirt made riding a bit more challenging.

Mason, who was the top-seeded rider entering the finals, earned third place based on his first-run score of 92.17.

"Nate's just really on point, me qualifying first in the prelims is because Nate messed up," Mason said. "I've got nothing for him, he's just so good it motivates me. It just makes me want to keep on trying and hopefully I'll start battling with him more."

© 2007 The Washington Post Company