The Red Bull FMX Jam in Mumbai was one of the most spectacular displays of motorcycle stunts the country has ever seen. And we were there to witness all the death-defying, high-flying action.
Freestyle Motocross, also called FMX, is one of the most exciting forms of motorsport on the planet. FMX riders are certainly a brave and fearless lot, for they do things with their machines that can best be described as aerial acrobatics. Launching your bike hundreds of feet into the air while performing stunts is nothing short of deadly, but FMX riders not only make it look easy but also breathtakingly stylish.
We have never been to an FMX show to witness this thrilling sport in person. So, when we finally got to see the Red Bull FMX Jam in Mumbai, we were, naturally, blown away. And it all happened against the backdrop of the Gateway of India – something that still feels like a dream. It must have been a nightmarish process to get all the necessary permissions in place to pull off such an event, but Red Bull India managed somehow.
Some of the best FMX athletes flew down to Mumbai to perform and showcase their gravity-defying stunts. The big names included Australian rider Robbie Maddison, Russian rider Alexei Kolesnikov and French rider Tom Pages. Famous for being the stunt double for Vin Diesel in xXx: Return of Xander Cage and Daniel Craig in Skyfall, Robbie Maddison enthralled the Indian audience with his unbelievable acrobatic stunts. Joining the world record breaker, who recently jumped a 10-storey replica of the Arc de Triomphe in Las Vegas, were Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour Champion Tom Pages and Alexei Kolesnikov – the first rider to have done a backflip in Russia. Along with the three Red Bull athletes, international riders Martin Koren, Radek Bilek and Julien Vanstippen also showcased their high-octane biking skills at the Red Bull FMX Jam.
This was not the first time that the Red Bull FMX Jam took place in the country. It came to India for the first time in 2012 – back then the Jam was organised in Delhi – when it awed the audience with some of the most amazing motorcycle stunts. The Mumbai FMX Jam saw the riders pull some hair-raising stunts, which included sideway glides, high no-hand jumps, Kiss of Death, Cliffhangers, Whips and much more. The final performance was unbelievably spectacular, as four of the six riders did backflips in a tandem run, which was followed by all six riders flying off the ramp to perform their favourite stunts. So, if you ever get an opportunity to witness an FMX event, make sure you don’t miss it.
Can you tell us a little bit about your journey into FMX?
To me, FMX is an amazing sport. It really caught my eye when I was a young boy in Australia. There’s something amazing about the visuals of riders flying high in the air, hanging off their bikes while still in the air and doing handstands. It’s simply breath-taking. It has a sense of freedom, especially when viewed from certain angles – that’s what I felt when I saw it in such films as Crusty Demons. So, I wanted to have a taste of this. You know, it’s really an experience to sense that level of freedom. There is so much at risk when you ride, and you must keep a clear mind. When you’re on a bike, it’s like meditation. There’s so much going on that you need to focus really, really hard.
What are some of your favourite stunts?
My favourite stunt, and probably the most popular that I ever did, was jumping on and off the Arc de Triomphe in Las Vegas. Also, catching a wave on my bike was fun, but my favourite experience was doubling for James Bond. I spent months on that film and got treated like royalty. I rode on top of the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, right in front of the Blue Mosque. It was really an amazing experience. To be able to have the permission to do it and to live that opportunity. What can I say, there aren’t many people who have done that. And meeting Daniel Craig, and being a part of that franchise, was an added bonus.
Tell us a little about the bike you are riding.
The bike that I’ll ride is the KTM 450. It’s very powerful, and maybe a bit too much to handle for most people. We only ride it in second gear when we’re doing stunts. It’s an amazing bike, and I feel very comfortable on it. It’s really fun too. And, of course, it’s a real privilege to do stunts against the backdrop of the Gateway of India in Mumbai.
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