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Dave Cullinan’s Jump to Victory | Moment in Time

Photographer Geoff Waugh takes us back to Big Bear, 1998, a time when the USA ruled Dual racing.

DIRT ISSUE 125 – JULY 2012

Words by Geoff Waugh. Photos by Geoff Waugh

As course designer Glen Jacobs put it, “this jump was the deal breaker, the game changer”. But former BMX racer Dave Cullinan stepped–up to the challenge and cleaned the 25–30 metre jump to take victory in the Swatch World Cup Dual race at the Snow Summit resort, Big Bear, California back in 1998.

Specialized rider Shaun Palmer had broken his wrist attempting the jump and had gone home. Lopes and Pistol Pete Loncarevich tried and failed. In practise Cully was clearing the jump above the heads of the fans and putting the mind game on his rivals.

Jacobs was the UCI–hand charged with answering the rider’s calls for harder, faster and tougher tracks with bigger jumps. “That jump was part of an obstacle called a ‘Wing Commander’. The tracks were very different from today’s 4X courses and had multiple and varied lines, jumps, stall walls and mogul fields to add spice,” he explained. The race format comprised 32 riders in a head to head competition, which narrowed the field down to a consolation run for third and fourth and a grand final. Cully came up against an old BMX rival and local racer, Mike King riding for GT in the final. King momentarily lost control in a section and Cullinan soared over the big jump for the win.

“That was a crazy weekend. That was the same weekend that I had a NBC crew following me around filming. Had one of my better days and ended it with a win over King in the final” said Dave. At the post–podium interview Cullinan was on the verge of tears as he dedicated the victory to his recently deceased father. “It was one weekend that I’ll never forget”.

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