HAVING a guy who once jumped out of a plane without a parachute in charge of the tricks they do on a motorcycle is enough to make anyone edgy.
It’s a prospect action sports legend Travis Pastrana admits is “scaring the crap” out of the Nitro Circus team that will bring their The Next Level Tour to Wollongong on March 24.
The name of the tour says a lot about what fans can expect from Pastrana, who’s made a career out of, not so much pushing boundaries, but obliterating them.
He was the first man land a double backflip in competition in 2006 and a year later grabbed worldwide headlines for his parachute – or lack thereof – stunt over Puerto Rico.
Having now taken full control of the Nitro Circus bus, Pastrana admits it’s made the team a little uneasy.
“This year, I’ve taken control of the creative [aspect] which has scared the absolute crap out of the riders,” Pastrana told The Mercury from the US.
“The riders have taken back control of Nitro Circus as a company and that’s really cool for us. I’m not saying we got lost for a few years, but it became kind of a job.
“I just thought ‘no this isn’t a job, it’s about having the opportunity to push yourself’. It’s scary and we’re spending a lot more money.
“It costs money to build new ramps and new takeoffs and new landings but it’s not about money for us, it’s about challenging ourselves.
“You have X Games and things like that, and it’s great for the sport, but Nitro’s not about doing things more perfectly. We’re about doing stuff that’s never been done.”
Part of pushing those boundaries is the 25 ft-high Nitro Giganta Ramp that Pastrana built at his home in Annapolis. known colloquially as Pastranaland.
Australian fans will get the chance to see the ramp, that shoots riders 60 ft into the air, in action on the upcoming tour.
“The hardest thing for us when you’re learning a trick is you need to do it bigger and higher,” Pastrana said.
“It sounds crazy, but it’s actually simpler for us when you have an extra second of airtime. This tour is allowing the riders to go a lot higher, to go further, to have more time in the air to do stuff they’ve never been able to do before.
“It’s scary, but it allows us to really go to the next level. At the end of the day, we’re not doing gymnastics, it’s about showing the crowd something they’ve never seen before.”
Pastranaland also saw Australian Josh Sheehan land the first ever triple backflip in 2015, the same year fellow Aussie Jed Mildon landed the first ever BMX quadflip.
Pastrana said it makes his historic double backflip, once the Everest of the sport, seem run of the mill.
“I was doing a double backflip with a full twist just a couple of months ago so, what was once groundbreaking is now standard issue,” Pastrana said.
“We were working on the triple for about five years. I wasn’t physically strong enough and I just couldn’t get it.
“Josh Sheehan was here and worked on different ramps, we worked on different stuff.
“It took him about three years to get it. He was 100ft in the air which is absolutely ludicrous. It was just awesome to see.”
Wollongong will be one of just two NSW stops on the tour and Pastrana said the team was excited for a return to Wollongong.
“[WIN Stadium] is probably one of the venues we’ve been to the most,’ he said.
“Australia’s probably my favourite place to tour. Nitro Circus has its own training facility on the Gold Coast so all the riders get together and it’s really, really awesome to have a place that feels like home.”
NITRO CIRCUS, The Next Level Tour, March 24, WIN Stadium. Tickets from Ticketmaster