I am a massive FMX fan and it’s been amazing to see how the sport has progressed over the years. The level of innovation has reached insane heights as you’ll see in this video of Mark Monea landing the first ever 360 Front Flip:
How did things get to this point? Well, the one trick that really helped to launch the sport up to new levels of insanity was the backflip. The first backflip landed in competition was performed by Mike Metzger at X Games 8 in 2002. You must remember that at the time many thought that a backflip on a dirt bike was impossible but as you’ll see Mike shattered those doubts by performing two back to back backflips, opening a Pandora’s box of new possibilities. This would inspire many daredevils to attempt moves first thought “impossible” in the coming years and I will highlight some of those tricks in this article.
2002 - Mike Metzger performs back to back Backflips at X Games 8:
The following year the next big thing after the backflip was the 360 which was landed in competition by Brian Deegan and Travis Pastrana.
2003 - Travis Pastrana lands 360 at the end of his final Moto X Freestyle run:
After backflips and 360’s were proven possible it lead to many variations being performed by riders but in 2004 Chuck Carothers surprised everyone when he did, what I believe is the first body varial landed in competition.
2004 - Chuck Carothers lands his body varial which would later be dubbed “The Carolla”.
2006 saw one of the most memorable and awesome moments in X Games history when Travis Pastrana showed why he is probably the biggest name in FMX when he landed the double backflip.
2006 - Travis Pastrana lands the double backflip:
Since 2006 many have continued to attempt the double backflip. 2007 saw backflip variations taken to new levels and Kyle Loza bringing back the body varial with his version winning him the Gold medal for best trick at X Games 13:
In 2008 signs of a new trend began to emerge as the front flip started to be attempted in competition. Kyle Loza also debuted a new trick called “The Electric Doom”.
2008 - Kyle Loza debuts a new trick called “The Electric Doom”:
Then I’m going to fast-forward to 2011 where Jackson Strong reached a new milestone when he landed the first front flip.
2011 - Jackson Strong lands the first Front Flip:
2012 was highlighted with more body varial variations by Jackson Strong and Thomas Page but it feels like after the last 10 years things are starting to hit a glass ceiling again the same way it did before the backflip. So what does the future look like when it comes to new tricks in freestyle motocross? At the moment there are a few athletes who stand out that have been working on some scary crazy tricks for the last few years; they are Kyle Loza, Travis Pastrana and Jackson Strong. Kyle is working on perfecting the “Bike Flip”, Travis is looking to conquer a move he calls the “TP7” and Strong teased what looks like a “Barrel Roll” in February.
In March of this year it was announced that the Moto X Best Trick event where most new moves are usually debuted will be discontinued at X Games. What this means for the progression of the sport is unknown as fans will have to see if the athletes will be putting themselves at risk in the traditional freestyle event the same way they use to do at best trick.
Whatever the next “big thing” in FMX is, I like many fans salute these modern daredevils for pushing the limits of what is possible and blowing our minds year after year with one high risk maneuver after the other.