Nitro Circus Goes Full Throttle

A freestyle motocross rider performs a trick during Nitro Circus Live
A freestyle motocross rider performs a trick during Nitro Circus Live

                                                                                                           Matthew Vieria / The Collegian
                          A professional freestyle motocross rider performs a trick during Nitro Circus Live.

A mixture of smoke, adrenaline, and fun filled the Save Mart Center Sunday night when Travis Pastrana’s Nitro Circus crew came to Fresno.

Often called the world’s greatest action sports athlete, Pastrana has a long list of stunts and records to his name, from multiple X game championships to successfully skydiving without a parachute.

Pastrana is also a co-creator and the leader of Nitro Circus, a group of professional and sometimes unprofessional action sport figures who started in the early 2000s.

Nitro Circus’ success first started after a release of DVDs that led to a TV show, a 3-D film and now a tour. The live tour crew includes 40 action sport athletes like motocross champion Jolene Van Vugt and professional skateboarder Bob Burnquist.

Although Pastrana participated in the earlier tour dates, a broken tibia and fibula sidelined him to ride around on a four-wheeler during the show.

Pastrana’s wife, Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins, who is a professional skateboarder and champion, also joined in on the antics and stunts but, said for the tour, she mostly sticks to her usual schedule for family reasons.

“I personally kind of stick to my routine because if I get hurt and then Travis is hurt, then who’s going to take care of our daughter? It’s already hard enough carrying his stuff, my stuff, and the baby’s stuff, “ Hawkins said.

The show not only included choreographed stunts but various antics that provided comic relief from all the air-defying tricks.

Van Vugt is the first female to perform a back flip on a full-sized dirt bike and successfully land. Van Vugt, who is not only known to do motocross tricks during the tour but also some fun, silly ones. After she performed her signature back flip, Van Vugt went down the 50 foot tall “Gigant-A-Ramp” in a child-sized pink Barbie car.

In addition to the Barbie car, more stunts throughout the show included a La-Z-Boy chair, bathtub, rocking horse, snowboard, scooter and even two bikes that were welded together.

A couple fans also participated in some of the more injury-prone stunts. After being picked in the audience, two male fans joined professional FMX (freestyle motocross) rider Cam Sinclair for a three-man back flip off of a motorbike.

Earlier in the tour this stunt landed some fans with broken bones or other injuries. Sinclair and the two men walked away scratch and injury free. However, by the end of the night, Sinclair wound up with a broken tibia and fibula of his own after an unsuccessful double back flip attempt on his motorbike.

Professional BMX rider Andy Buckworth said that even though most of the time everyone does not stray from the planned performances, it is still a thrilling night.

“Most shows you’re sticking to the show plan but that doesn’t mean it’s any less exciting and there’s no where else in the world that you’ll see bigger tricks in one night like Nitro Circus,” Buckworth said.

The tour will continue until Sunday with the last stop bringing them back to California in Anaheim.
Nitro Circus Live will then pick up in late February and tour in South Africa.

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