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Assets from XGames 2021 BMX Park in Riverside, California

2021 X GAMES - DAY 1

Jul 152021

X Games is back to make history! The world’s premier action sports spectacle returned on Wednesday after a year of pandemic lockdown in a new format: Following the cancellation of the final host city year of X Games Minneapolis 2020 due to the pandemic, X Games 2021 will be contested at three unique athlete training facilities around Southern California.

Kicking off BMX competitions on Wednesday, Monster Energy team rider Pat Casey hosted the boundary-pushing BMX action at his Dream Yard on July 14. And even without spectators allowed on site, X Games once again made history with epic performances and never-been-done tricks.

Best of all, Monster riders not only claimed gold in all four disciplines: BMX Park, Dirt, Dirt Best Trick and Dave Mirra’s Park Best Trick. The team also swept the podium in BMX Park and BMX Dirt to take all eight medals awarded on day one of X Games 2021.

In the highly competitive BMX Dirt competition, 27-year-old Monster Energy BMX team rider Pat Casey took the gold medal, a career-first X Games gold, on his home turf. The gold medal run continued in BMX Dirt Best Trick with 31-year-old Andy Buckworth from Lake Haven, Australia, claiming the top spot with a spectacular double backflip no-hander.

In the BMX Park event on Dream Yard’s sprawling ramp course, 26-year-old Kevin Peraza from Tucson, Arizona, soared above the competition to earn his third gold in the discipline. And in the progressive BMX Park Best Trick contest, Canadian team rider Mike Varga took his second gold in the discipline with a trick never before landed in competition. Here’s how it all went down.

The BMX action kicked off on Wednesday with the BMX Dirt final on hallowed ground: Pat Casey’s backyard facility in Riverside, California, also known as the “Dream Yard”. Just in time for X Games 2021, the winding BMX Dirt course was transformed into a competition-grade track with seven jump features. Nine of the world’s best BMX freestylers were ready to attack the course after spending an entire year on lockdown without X Games competitions.

BMX Dirt: Monster Energy’s Pat Casey Claims Gold, Bryce Tryon Silver, and Ben Wallace Bronze


Straight out the gate, competition host Pat Casey put down a spectacular run that earned him the top spot in his 12th X Games appearance with bangers such as 360 downside tailwhip, truckdriver, downside tailwhip and his signature Cash Roll move as the finish.


Casey’s first place held all the way until the end of the session, boosted by a 360 no-hander and double tail whip on the final run, earning Casey his very first X Games gold medal and first BMX Dirt medal. This is also the first time that a rider over 25 years of age has claimed gold in the discipline.


Here’s what Casey had to say after taking his first X Games medal in front of his wife and kids: “My mind is completely blown! The X Games coming here is a dream come true. And to win an X Games… this is my first X Games gold! And to it at my own house is something special. This is insane!”


Joining Casey on the podium, 20-year-old Monster Army rider Bryce Tryon caused an upset with an epic performance that earned the silver medal. In his X Games debut, the BMX prodigy from Lodi, California, held his own against the world elite in BMX despite entering as the youngest rider on the roster. Riding with speed and consistency, Tryon put down technical moves including a double tailwhip, backflip, tailwhip no-hander, front flip and clean Cash Roll to rise all the way to second place. Keep an eye on this kid!


Rounding out the full podium sweep for team Monster Energy, 34-year-old UK team rider Ben Wallace claimed bronze as his first medal since 2016. He earned it by posting a perfect bar spin to no-hander, huge 360 air, nac nac seat grab, 360 tuck no-hander, 360 lookback, and 360 double downside tailwhip. This marks the third X Games medal for Wallace, who previously earned two X Games silver medals in BMX Dirt.

BMX Dirt Best Trick: Monster Energy’s Andy Buckworth Claims Career-First X Games Gold


The barrage of heavy moves continued in BMX Dirt Best Trick. In a heated session, X Games rookie Bryce Tryon stoked all in attendance with a highly technical bar spin late no-handed front flip. But when all was said and done, it was 31-year-old Andy Buckworth from Lake Haven, Australia, who impressed the judges and took the gold.


After landing a double backflip, the Australian-turned-SoCal local pulled a picture-perfect double backflip no-hander off the second-to-last jump. This marks the first gold medal for Buckworth and second X Games podium after taking BMX Big Air bronze in 2010.


“In my rookie year I got bronze at X Games. Since then, I had so many gnarly injuries and missed so many X Games because of injuries. And to come back and get an X Games gold medal at 31 years, my life is literally complete!” said Andy Buckworth upon winning BMX Dirt Best Trick.

Wendy’s BMX Park: Monster Energy’s Kevin Peraza Takes Gold, Pat Casey Silver, Mike Varga Bronze  


Next up, Pat Casey’s mini ramp landscape provided the perfect backdrop for boundary-pushing performances in Wendy’s BMX Park final. At nearly 10,000 square feet, the compound now includes several hips, spines, box jumps, step-ups as well as a “spox” (a spine and a box) and an open loop.


In the 30-minute jam session, 26-year-old Kevin Peraza from Tucson, Arizona, was gunning for the top spot after closely missing the podium earlier on Wednesday in BMX Dirt.


Showcasing his deep bag of tricks, Peraza put down clean airs like a 360 double downside whip, huge flair, and 360 table transfer, alongside technical moves that included a 180 to Half Cab tailwhip and nose wheelie to 360.


“It’s a completely different energy from a venue or stadium. We’re not under stress, we’re a lot more relaxed. And I think that helped me break through today. Everyone walked away healthy today and I’m happy to take another medal home,” said Monster Energy’s Kevin Peraza upon claiming BMX Park gold.


Peraza now owns three X Games medals, all of them gold, after winning BMX Dirt in 2016 and BMX Park in 2017. Stay tuned as Peraza returns to compete in BMX Street at the California Training Facility (CATF) on Friday!


In an epic session for the ages, Pat Casey claimed his second medal of the day with silver by landing a huge flair, 360 over the spine, bar spin 360, opposite 360 transfer over the hip and a fakie tailwhip. This brings Casey’s overall X Games medal count to four medals (1 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze). Completing the second full podium sweep for team Monster, Canadian Mike Varga took his second ever X Games medal with bronze after posting a perfect run including a huge 360 and flip whip over the “spox”, no-hander on the quarter pipe, 720 over the table, and alley-oop 450 truck.

Dave Mirra’s BMX Park Best Trick: Monster Energy’s Mike Varga Takes Gold with 1260-Degree Aerial


Wrapping up a day of history-making BMX riding with a bang, riders unleashed their most innovative moves in the Dave Mirra’s BMX Park Best Trick event. In memory of BMX pioneer Dave Mirra, competitors had spray-painted the pedals on their BMX bicycles golden and kept the level of riding next level.


At the end of the day, the medal went to the defending Best Trick champ: 24-year-old Monster Energy team rider Mike Varga from Oshawa, Canada. He earned the win with a trick never landed before in competition, a perfect 1260-degree aerial (a total of three-and-a-half rotations), to claim the coveted Golden Pedal trophy.


“It’s been awesome with me and all the boys riding together in Pat’s backyard. It brought back a really cool vibe of riding in a BMX contest, which we haven’t had in a while,” said Monster Energy team rider Mike Varga.


With that said, day one of X Games 2021 could not have gone any better. Now stay tuned for more! Next, the world elite of Moto X will battle for X Games medals at Axell Hodges’ legendary Slayground compound on July 15. And finally, all skateboarding events are contested at the California Training Facility (CATF) from July 17 to 18, alongside BMX Street on July 16. It’s great to be back to history-making performances at X Games!