Well, there’s not much more one can say here but…. WOW !
Americas Special Greg Powell became the first person ever to successfully land the ‘Special Flip’ off the Nitro Giganta Ramp, during the sold out Regional Australia Nitro Live Tour with his cousin Travis Pastrana and all the Nitro gang in attendance.
One more time?
Although 27-year old Greg Powell is Travis Pastrana’s cousin, growing up on a BMX was something he did not do, conventional sports such as football were more his thing. However, he played around on his cousin’s trampoline bike and so the idea of the backflip BMX varial on a BMX bike was born.
But for 8 years the vision remained a dream…
A ‘trampoline’ bike, for the uninitiated, is an ordinary BMX, or even a mountain bike, which has had its wheels or pedals removed and the front and rear forks taped up so they can’t punch a hole through the trampoline itself. With the modified shell, Travis and Greg could practice tricks on a tramp by getting as much air as possible and it was on the trampoline that the backflip varial (later called the Special Flip) was first tried. Tried again, and again, and again…
Explaining the trick to Brian Tunney of ESPN Action Sports, Greg said, “The mechanics of the “Special Flip” are essentially, you’re letting go of the bicycle while you’re in the air, you yourself are doing a flip of sorts. You have to be able to clear your legs from hitting the handlebars, so it’s not a perfect symmetrical flip, but you are inverting yourself and coming around. So when you’re coming around, the bike stays as if it’s doing a regular straight air jump, and you’re doing a flip over the top of the bike. And when you come back around, you’re spotting the seat and you’re reaching around to grab the seat and pull the bike back underneath you.”
If all goes well, you land safely and pedal away. If not…. ouch!
“It’s all about the timing and the focus of what you’re doing,” he adds.
And if the photograph below is not expressive enough of his pure glee at finally pulling the trick off at such an esteemed venue as the Red Bull Nitro Circus Live in Australia at the end of March, then I don’t know what is.
“We’re goofy and silly and jumping around like a couple of monkeys, but I think that’s what just draws people to action sports: it’s a way for athletes to express themselves and be successful at something they work hard at,” he said.
Although he came into the sport of BMX relatively late in life, he has had the luck and privilege of hanging out with some of the sports’ best riders. People such as his cousin Travis, an extreme sport legend, whose accomplishments are legendary: world freestyle champion at age 14, five-time U.S. amateur motocross champion, two-time Canadian amateur motocross champion, youngest rider ever to represent the United States at the Motocross des Nations in France, 125cc pro national outdoor champion, 125cc East Supercross Series champion, and most successful competitor in the history of X Games freestyle motocross.
But he has also been hanging out with the likes of Andy Buckworth and Jaie Toohey. “These guys are all so progressive that they’re changing the sport of BMX,” says Greg.
It is possible that you will next see the Special Flip at the X Games…
In the meantime, he and the other member of the team, recently embarked on a Nitro Circus 3-D feature film. “We want it to represent who we are, we want it to show people what we’re about and we want it to be the biggest and the best that we’ve done so far. We begin filming immediately.”