Brayton golden at X-Games
LOS ANGELES – Justin Brayton added his name to a list that reads like the who’s who of extreme sports this past weekend.
Brayton, a Fort Dodge native and 2002 graduate of Fort Dodge Senior High, claimed gold at the X Games in Moto X Racing.
The victory was his first in X Games event history following a pair of prior silvers. Moto X recently returned to the lineup after a two-year hiatus.
Brayton sped past Josh Hill on the final lap of the main, finishing in just under eight minutes. Hill placed second and Chris Blose claimed bronze.
“From a personal standpoint – and from the perspective of my family – this is about as big as it gets,” Brayton said. “I’ve watched the X Games for as long as I can remember, and winning a gold was always something I wanted.
“Being a kid and racing motorcycles, winning an X Games gold is like a kid dreaming about winning the Super Bowl. This is something I will be able to tell my own children about when I am 50 years old.”
His runner-up finishes came in 2009 and ’10 in the event.
“I would have been happy with silver, but nothing feels better than (winning gold),” Brayton said. “I felt like I was the fastest guy out there, but anything can happen on a track like that.”
With the X Games being a creation of ESPN, seeing himself on SportsCenter was something that floored the long-time Supercross racer.
“I have ESPN on 24/7 in my house,” he said. “So seeing myself on the highlights, that was just incredible.
“I think having the platform of ESPN (with the X Games) is what makes this such a huge accomplishment in terms of sponsors and the amount of people that see it.”
Brayton will compete in the Monster Energy Cup beginning in October from Las Vegas. The 2014 Supercross series starts this January in nearby Anaheim, California.
First, the 29-year-old is headed to New York this weekend for the Unadilla Motorcross Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship.
“I didn’t have time to celebrate,” Brayton said. “We flew back to Charlotte (North Carolina where he currently resides) Sunday morning and are preparing to head to New York this weekend.”
Brayton and his girlfriend, Paige Park, got engaged earlier this year. His fiance was on hand for his X Games gold from Staples Center.
A wedding in the offseason is planned, but the gold medal probably won’t be included in the official ceremony.
“I doubt (she will let me use it),” Brayton laughed. “But it’s going to be an exciting time getting married and having our family and friends out here to Charlotte.”