Ben Wallace is a British BMX Dirt specialist who has has two X Games silver medals to his name after five outings in the competition. He bagged the silver in BMX Dirt in the Austin X Games in both 2014 and 2016, and is looking to go one better this year having been invited to bypass qualifications (along with Kevin Peraza and James Foster) and go straight into the Dirt finals.
Now, with the X Games moving to Minneapolis for the first time ever and the action well under way, we speak to Ben about why the competition is such a staple in the world of action sports, and what it would mean for him to go one better than he already has and take the X-Games gold.
Word from Ben Wallace
The X-Games is the most prestigious contest in the action sports calendar and as a kid riding bikes it was always a dream of mine to be in it one day.
It's not just BMX that it's important for but the whole action sports scene and X Games gives people an insight into our 'world'.
I would f**king love to win an X Games gold! Seriously, to have that on my wall would be worth every broken bone and hospital visit I ever had. Like I say, just to ride the comp was a dream as a kid but to walk away with a gold would be epic.
My favourite part of the event is definitely the atmosphere from the crowd as they are always super enthusiastic and loud and hearing them gets me pumped to ride.
It's a bit of devil's advocate performing in front of such a big crowd though, I feel. On one hand the crowd gets you psyched and super pumped but then on the other you want to impress so it's almost added pressure on your shoulders. To be honest though the crowd are behind you whether you pull your run or not, so it's cool.
The thing about the X Games, or any contest for that matter, is that it comes down to the day. You could be slaying it all week but on game day it can fall apart. Every rider whether you have competed or not has off days and it's part and parcel of what we do. It could be anyone's gold in BMX Dirt this year. We will just have to see who can hold it down at show time.
There are a bunch of new faces in the dirt qualifier who are shredders and not typically who you'd see riding dirt, so I think it's going to be wild. Also it's in the U.S Bank stadium this year, everyone is under one roof and I think the noise level is going to be like nothing I've ever heard at a contest before. The atmosphere is going to be unreal!
We try and watch a lot of the other action when we’re not competing, and will do even more so this year as we are in a stadium so you can view everything from pretty much anywhere. Previously at host venues like circuit of the Americas everything was spread far apart so you didn't really get to see a great deal. I'm excited to see what goes down this year.
I think Minneapolis is going to go off!
The BMX Dirt finals take place on Sunday 16 July at 10am CT, or 4pm in the UK.
Watching the X Games live couldn’t be easier. It’s on ESPN. Parts of the Games are streaming live on social media. And anyone with a Samsung device can stream the games live completely free of charge. Samsung are even streaming the Skateboard Vert, BMX Street and Skateboard Street Amateurs in virtual reality in 48 countries.