Bestwick’s BMX performance highlights weather-shortened Friday of X Games

Akshay Mirchandani

Jamie Bestwick hopped off the halfpipe and made his way into the crowd. He was met by the smiles and cheers of his family and friends after finishing his second run of the BMX Vert Final.

“Great run, man,” someone said as they greeted him.

But it was his first run that Bestwick will remember. The 44-year-old BMX professional from the United Kingdom pulled off a 540 flip on his bike that netted a gold medal in the X Games at the Circuit of the Americas on Friday — the highlight of a weather-shortened day.

After celebrating with his family, Bestwick returned to the stage and was presented with his medal by rapper G-Eazy. His last gold medal came in the first Austin X Games in 2014. This one comes in the last.

“It’s emotional on so many levels,” Bestwick said. “It was a wild contest. I put down some great tricks and I rode with some good friends.”

Bestwick dedicated the performance to Dave Mirra, the X Games legend who died of an apparent suicide in February. Mirra won 23 BMX gold medals and had the most medals in X Games history until the summer of 2013.

“When I heard the news that Dave was gone, a part of me went too,” Bestwick said. “That guy molded me into an incredible competitor and taught me to always keep striving to be better and better and help progress the sport and the people around you. I ain’t gonna lie, it’s bittersweet this weekend.”

Previously, Bestwick won nine consecutive Vert gold medals until a silver finish in last year’s Austin X Games. This gold marks his 14th.

“Anytime you can get me on a racetrack in Austin on a BMX bike, it’s party time,” Bestwick said.

The final event of the day was supposed to be the America’s Navy Skateboard Big Air, but severe weather entered the picture. A storm system hit the area a little after 8 p.m., forcing fans to their cars to wait out the delay. The rest of the events, including G-Eazy and fellow rapper Logic’s concerts, were canceled at 9:25 p.m.

The Coors Light Moto X Freestyle and Men’s Skateboard Street will take place tomorrow evening. The G-Eazy and Logic concerts will not be rescheduled.