History was made this past August 3rd-6th, in Los Angeles, at the Summer X-Games. Twenty-two-year-old Travis Pastrana performed a double backflip on his motorcycle.
Travis resides in Annapolis, Maryland and has been competing for nineteen years. At the age of three, he became a Pro Racer participant. In 1998, he began competing in X-Games competitions. The first three competitions have been rewarding for Travis. In 2004, he won a silver medal in Freestyle and a bronze in Best Trick. Last year he won a gold in Freestyle and a silver for Best Trick.
For the past year, he has been working on a new and very dangerous trick. He swore to his mom, the media and himself that he would not attempt this risky move at the competition. Then just a few moments before his final trick, he text messaged his mom and said that no matter what happened, he loved her and what he did for a living. She was very nervous and when he got to the top of the ramp, she covered her face with her hands. He then proceeded to perform a double backflip with his motorcycle. The double back flip had never been done before in competition.
What made his accomplishment even more remarkable, was the only place he had ever attempted this trick was his practice pit at home. There he landed in long rectangular dumpsters overfilled with foam, not on a hard dirt sloping surface like that in the STAPLES arena. The possibility for something to go dangerously wrong was very real. Speed and the timing of the landing were integral to safely pulling off this stunt. The inherent dangers were the motorcycle landing on him or him landing on his head. When he landed the trick, the more than 16,000 fans, including Sandra Bullock and her husband Jesse James, rose to their feet cheering. When his mom heard the cheering, she looked up and a broad smile showed both her relief and pride.
Earlier in the competition, Travis had completed a one-handed backflip, a backflip saran wrap (the rider passes one foot between his hands and back to the peg, removing one hand from the bars), and a one-handed lazyboy backflip (rider lays back on the seat with hands in the air), and a very risky trick, a backflip Kiss of Death. In this trick, the rider thrusts his body forward and up, so they are doing a mid-air handstand with their forehead inches from the front fender. All were done very well but nothing compared to the double backflip. For his efforts he won gold for Best Trick. During this X-Games, he also won a gold in a new sporting event, the Rally Car. He came in fourth in Supermoto, when he fell and missed third place. He also participated in the Moto Madness exhibition.
According to the Summer X-Games record books, Pastrana is tied with Andy MacDonald with three gold medals apiece. Tony Hawk, a fan favorite, has ten and Dave Mirra leads with fourteen golds. Pastrana is now ranked sixth in the all-time Summer X-Games ratings.
Travis, depending on his body’s ability to continue to absorb the wear and tear, has the potential to accomplish a great deal more in the racing world. It will be exciting to see what the future holds for this young competitor.
- If you want to know more about Travis’s story, check out www.expn.com. To find out more about the tricks and their definitions, check out these three websites for more information: expn.go.com/xgames/wxg/2001/s/2001motox.html www.motoxschool.com/mxterms.htm philadelphia.about.com/library/weekly/aa080502j.htm