Maybe it is temptingly cliché to write a story about Las Vegas that includes a plethora of gambling analogies, but let’s face it, freestyle motocross success is all about risk and reward and the hopeful kinship of one Lady Luck. This weekend is going to be a raucous affair in Sin City with the action sports world crowding into town for both the final stop of this year’s Dew Tour and the inaugural Monster Energy Cup taking place at Sam Boyd stadium.
Dew Tour returns to it’s “off-strip” home at the Hard Rock Hotel with a full slate of the best skating and biking the extremers have to offer, plus the second annual outing for the Hart and Huntington Best Whip competition. This was a popular affair last year, with a winner-takes-all format and a critical team of peers judging how upside down and sideways each one of the competitors could get their bodies and bikes.
2011 proves to be just as challenging to the six-man field, where the success level and rewards from your whip are going to be just as difficult to define. Is it the sideways nature of the whip — moving it turndown style and somehow bringing it back from the brink of disaster — or will it be the upside down steeze, with the helmet almost touching the landing? Just how do you define the “perfect” whip?
Almost certainly bringing the biggest thrills will be Australia’s Jarryd McNeil, a rider who some claim has been unfairly shut out of his rightful crown at X Games 17 Best Whip. McNeil has an almost uncanny ability to move the bike around unnaturally in almost every plane imaginable and then righting it just before meeting terra firma. This year he will have to prove himself against Ronnie Renner, who feels that it’s time the people got to see just what his real upside down whip looks like. Renner has been absent from the Best Whip scene for a while now, but claims he has ideas on what to throw down to earn him the win in this weekend’s competition: “Whips are still the coolest trick in the book, because everyone does them with their own style. I’d say it lays a foundation for the word freestyle,” says Renner. “When everyone is on point, no doubt its tough to judge. I figure if I can get the feel for the setup, then I can still hang with the best of them. If not, I’ll try till I almost eat it!”
Trying to keep both McNeil and Renner at bay are a who’s-who of sideways stunners like Myles Richmond and Destin Cantrell — the youth of America gone astray on their motorcycles. But despite the young guns’ dexterity, there has to be a certain fear whenever you are faced with the awesomeness of Beau Bamburg, the “Basher” from Oregon, who can manipulate his motorcycle any way he wants to … and who’s to argue?
Best Whip at Dew happens Friday night, under the lights, close to the Hard Rock Hotel on Harmon Avenue. Maybe check the early odds at the sports book.