You might not have heard about blokes like Robbie Maddison, Alexey Kolesnikov and Thomas Pages but they are legends when it comes to FMX or Freestyle Motocross. And they came to Mumbai with other famous riders to showcase their talent as a part of Red Bull FMX Jam, which was held for the second time in the country. The first one was held back in 2012 at India Gate. Now, after seven years, Red Bull FMX Jam has returned to India, with six Red Bull athletes, including Robbie, Alexey and Thomas wowed crowd at the iconic Gateway of India with their grand spectacles on their FMX bikes.
There were two ramps placed side by side to launch the motorcycles and another big wide ramp placed opposite to the two ramps, where the riders landed after performing stunts mid-air with Gateway of India and Taj Palace forming the backdrop. Robbie and Alexey were astride a 450cc KTM motocross bike, while Tom was astride a 250cc Yamaha motocross bike.
Along with the three Red Bull Athletes, international riders like Martin Koren, RadekBilek and Julien Vanstippen performed callisthenics astride their FMX bikes mid-air at the Red Bull FMX Jam. Backflips, superman seat grabs, and some more gravity-defying stunts were displayed. They did the stunts individually, then as a team of two and for the final act, all six riders jumped the ramp one behind the other, to create a visual spectacle. Suffice to say that the crowd was left wanting more and there was a mad cheer from the huge gathering.
What is FMX?
It is a discipline in Motocross, where the rider attempts different types of stunts to impress the judges and gain points. There are two types of freestyle events – big air and freestyle motocross. In Big air, the rider gets to do two jumps over a distance of 75 feet and points are awarded for highest single jump factoring multiple parameters like difficulty, style, and originality. Riders are then awarded points on a scale of 100 marks. Freestyle is older of the two disciplines and the rider will perform two stunt disciplines that last a little over 15 minutes on a track length that varies from four to eight acres. Judging is similar to that of Big air, where riders are awarded points on a scale of 100.
Robbie Maddison – the chap who rode his dirt bike in the ocean
Red Bull athlete Robbie ‘Maddo’ Maddison has made waves in the ocean. Literally. After conquering land and air, he had the ocean in his sights and rode his motorcycle on water. Crazy? Not for a man who says, “My goals are to transform what is perceived to be the norm. I want to take things to new heights and push boundaries.” He practiced on lake Idaho and modified his bike with padded tyres and a pair of skis. He did dislocate his shoulder and break his ankle during one of his practices to ride on water but that did not deter him from attempting it repeatedly for his motorcycle surf in the ocean. You can watch the full video here and click here to watch behind the scenes footage of his famous dirt bike in the ocean. He recently jumped a 10-story replica of the Arc de Triomph in Las Vegas.
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He has smashed distance records launching football field on live TV, jumped across an open Tower Bridge in London. He has played James Bond’s stunt double in Skyfall in a major stunt scene. He also played Vin Diesel’s stunt double in the film XXX: The return of Xander Cage. A professional since 2004, he completed his 15th year in motocross. On performing in India, he said it was a special moment for him. He also said that would have to do multiple backflips, a stunt that had caused him a spine injury some time ago. It is tricky to do repeat the same stunt and make it in one piece, he admits.
On his motocross career, Red Bull athlete Robbie Maddison said: “As a motocross rider who has been doing this for fifteen years, I have had my fair share of injuries and near-fatal accidents. But nothing has ever stopped me from doing this. I will continue to ride. It was exciting to see so many fans in Mumbai and perform for the enthusiastic crowd at the Red Bull FMX Jam along with all the other amazing athletes.”
Alexey Kolesnikov, the founder of FMX in Russia
Alexei Kolesnikov is the first rider to have landed a backflip in Russia and is the founder of FMX scene in Russia. It was not easy as Alexey says: “There were a lot of skeptics at the beginning but we went step by step.” Before coming to India for performing today in Mumbai, his last practice was in his home in Russia, where it is -15°C. So far, his longest backflip is 35 metres, but he wants to go further. We wish him best for his crazy new ideas to keep the crowd in awe and hope we get to see some of his acrobatics on two wheels in India soon again.
On performing in Mumbai, Alexey Kolesnikov, Red Bull athlete said, “Such a great experience for me to perform at Red Bull FMX Jam Mumbai show at the iconic Gateway of India. I hope we put out a special show for the enthusiastic Mumbaikars there. I would like to thank Red Bull for giving me this fantastic opportunity.”
Thomas Pagès – from doing stunts in his backyard to becoming an X Games champ
Tom Pagès has come a long way, from practicing stunts in his own backyard to competing with the best riders in the world. In 2008, Pagès became the first rider ever to stick a double grab flip at the World Moto X Championships. Watch his badass backflip performance in Madrid here. On his performance at the Gateway of India, Red Bull athlete, Tom Pagès said, “I really enjoyed my first visit to India. Mumbai city is so vibrant and I am so happy with all the support and encouragement I’ve received from Red Bull.”
While FMX is very popular in Europe and many other countries, it has not caught up in India. In a country where people worship cricket, motorsports still has a long way to go and one way to spike some interest is through events like these, to push more people into the world of motocross and explore the sport. Hopefully, there will come a day when an Indian wins in X-Games or performs in Red Bull FMX Jam in front of his/her home crowd.
Here is another famous video of Robbie Maddison. Enjoy!