World’s first freestyle motocross Triple Flip

Josh Sheehan makes sports history with a revolutionary FMX triple backflip at Pastranaland.
Josh Sheehan going for the Triple-Flip
Josh Sheehan going for the Triple-Flip ©
By Oliver Schran

The 2014 Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour Champion Josh Sheehan took FMX to previously unknown heights as he set a new world record by becoming the first person to land a triple backflip on a motocross bike.

Watch the clip below and scroll down to see the evolution of the backflip...


The first ever backflip

Carey Hart was the first rider to flip a full-size MX bike at the Gravity Games in Providence, Rhode Island, US, in 2000. Carey, (now husband of the singer Pink) somehow landed the trick but slammed heavily on landing, but what the revolutionary trick lacks in style, it more than makes up for in daring and originality. At a stroke, Carey opened the door to a new world of upside down FMX tricks which have steadily become more complex and daring.

Pastrana conquers the Double Flip

Back in 2000, a 16-year-old FMX legend of the future Travis Pastrana was racing Carey Hart to be the first rider to pull off the backflip, but he failed on his flip attempt at the X Games. In the years after that, he rewrote the record book pulling every backflip combo possible, but it wasn't enough. In the Best Trick competition at X Games 12 in Los Angeles, TP took revenge by landing the first ever Double Flip.

Double Flip, the aftermath

After Travis, a handful of riders learned how to stick the trick, but it remained so dangerous that it rarely featured in competition. Cam Sinclair was one of the few riders to do the trick regularly but after his brutal slam at the Red Bull X-Fighters tour stop in Madrid 2009, Sinclair would only show it if a great reward would be in sight. A year later the Metal Mulisha rider used it to win the X Games Best Trick Gold completing one of the most remarkable comebacks in FMX history. In the five years since then, only a few riders have been working on the trick, but only one had the skill to bring it to competition in every run – Josh Sheehan. Yes, he had a few crashes on it, but never that bad that it would stop him doing it regularly.

The road to the Triple Flip

Since the triple flip had already been performed in BMX (Jed Mildon – 2011) and MTB (Ethen Godfrey Roberts, Gavin Godfrey and Tyler Roberts – 2014) so FMX was playing catch up.

Realistically, there was only ever two riders in the running to get there first: Travis Pastrana and Josh Sheehan. In the end, they worked together. While working on the new Nitro Circus movie Action Figures, the crew built a special test set-up at Travis Pastrana's house in Maryland that consisted of a tailor-made long ramp to give enough speed and spin to complete three rotations with an 100kg+ Honda CRF450 and an XXL Airbag to land the first attempts.

After the footage of Josh's first jumps into the airbag had been shown on YouTube, it was clear to most, that it was only a matter of time until the Daredevil from Down Under would give it a go on dirt.

Sure enough, on April 28, Sheeny had pushed FMX to new heights and his name joins the illustrious company of the inventor Carey Hart and his boyhood hero Travis Pastrana, who helped him to complete the mission.

See Josh Sheehan live at Red Bull X-Fighters

The next chance to see Sheeny live in Europe is in Athens, which will be shown live on on June 10, 20:30 CET.

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