Year in review: BMX


A Slow Recovery
In mid-October, at what was to be his last contest as a pro before retiring, T.J. Lavin crashed at the Dew Tour Championships and suffered bleeding on the brain, a broken wrist and an orbital fracture. The pro dirt rider turned "Real World/Road Rules Challenge" MTV host remained in a medically induced coma for close to a week. And because of his star reach as an MTV host, the news of his crash and condition resonated well beyond the BMX world, generating stories in People magazine, "Access Hollywood," TMZ and Us magazine. After a month in the hospital, Lavin was released, and is expected to make a full recovery, but his story served as a troubling reminder of how vulnerable BMXers are to traumatic head injuries, even when wearing the appropriate safety gear. "Thanks to all of you for your thoughts. I love you guys for real," Lavin said in mid-December. And we can't help but return the thanks to Lavin for being a fighter and pulling through.

Credit Where Credit Is Due
In April of 2010, Dickhouse Productions premiered the ESPN 30 for 30 Mat Hoffman documentary, "The Birth of Big Air," at the Tribeca Film Festival. Produced by Johnny Knoxville and Spike Jonze (who shot many of Hoffman's early BMX photos in the '80s) and directed by Jeff Tremaine, "The Birth of Big Air" showcased the path of Hoffman and his quest to conquer big air, which started back in 1992. Before the X Games, before any real TV coverage of BMX, and before anyone knew what was coming next, Hoffman had built a gigantic quarterpipe in a remote field in Oklahoma City and was doing airs in the 25-foot range. The sheer physics of the feat is stand-alone crazy. And Hoffman unfortunately paid the price, nearly dying in the process. But the film aptly demonstrates Hoffman's desire to dream the impossible and transform his dreams into reality. And that's a quest that easily transfixed the mainstream audience, giving Hoffman the recognition he deserves as the original inspiration for so much of what action sports has become.

In 2010, BMX vert pro Jamie Bestwick came about as close as he could to having a perfect contest year, until Chad Kagy landed an upset win at the Dew Tour Championships in Las Vegas in October. Despite placing second to Kagy in Vegas, Bestwick managed to win every other vert contest he entered throughout the season, including BMX Vert gold at X Games 16 (his fourth consecutive Vert gold medal) and vert wins at the Chicago, Portland and Salt Lake City stops of the Dew Tour. To cap off the year, Bestwick took the year-end Dew Cup in BMX Vert (his sixth consecutive Dew Cup) and continues to show no signs of slowing down. "I always said that when I can't help progress my sport anymore, then I'll probably hang my bike up. But I probably won't be hanging it up outside of competition, 'cause I'll always love to ride," Bestwick said earlier this year. But really, why bother hanging it up when you're still a few steps ahead (and feet above) the rest of the competition?