For Freestyle Motocross rider Blake Williams, his second trip to Baltimore turned out much better than his first.
The Australian native, who injured himself last year at this event and ended up missing most of the season, captured the FMX competition yesterday, giving him his first AST Dew Tour title and a win over defending champion Nate Adams.
The victory earned Williams 100 points in the race for the Dew Cup and, more important, redemption for the way things turned out in 2007.
"Last year I was coming in with even better form but then things went all bad," said Williams, who crashed at the conclusion of his second run a year ago while trying one more jump for the crowd. "I learned my lesson there."
The 23-year-old had a number of big-trick combos to earn the winning score of 90.33 from the judges, including a 360 in which he rotated his motorcycle one complete turn while in the air. The trick is among the most difficult in the sport, and Williams was the only one to land it yesterday.
"I threw down when I had to," he said.
Day at the improv
Daniel Dhers repeated as BMX Park champion, overcoming a wild spill during his first run to put together a winning ride in the final run of the competition.
The Venezuelan, 23, scored a 93.33 to beat top qualifier Ryan Guettler of Australia by less than a point.
"I thought, `That's it, it's over,' " Dhers said after his first run ended early when he lost control and he and his bike went flying in the air in different directions. "Then I [heard] my song and I was like, `One more battle, now we'll see what's up.' "
Dhers mixed in a variety of tail whips, flairs and 720s on his last run and said he had to improvise a portion of it after bailing out on a trick he had planned.
"Everything started becoming a blur after that," he said.
The accolades kept coming for Bucky Lasek, who was given the Pride of Baltimore award at the conclusion of the FMX competition.
The award, as voted on by the local media, recognized the most outstanding performer of the event and capped an amazing weekend for the local legend.
"It's kind of like the cherry on top to a perfect weekend," said Lasek, who won the Skate Vert competition Friday.
Lasek also said he was thrilled with the turnout all weekend and said it surpassed his lofty expectations.
"I knew that Baltimore wanted something like this but I couldn't imagine it to this magnitude," he said.