Australian Red Bull X-Fighter Josh Sheehan entered his first freestyle competition back in 2007. He may have crashed out of that one, but he’s since gone on to become one of the best riders out there.
We caught up with ‘Sheeny’ ahead of the always-spectacular Red Bull X-Fighters Madrid…
Redbull.com: Josh, you’ve ridden at Madrid’s Las Ventas bullring before. What’s it like to compete there?
Josh Sheehan: 2011 was my first time in Madrid and the bullring and it was pretty…special! I’d only done two X-Fighters rounds before that so it was still pretty new and the bullring seemed so tight. There was something like 36,000 people crammed into that arena and they were all screaming; some had horns, some had chainsaws with no blades on them! So there was a lot of noise and when you were back in the riders’ area, you could hear them chanting, especially for Dany Torres, and it was just echoing through the tunnels. It was awesome.
RB: And just because Dany Torres is Spanish doesn’t mean you’re going to be gifting him a win, right?
JS: No! The crowd are going to love him, so we’re just going to try even harder to beat him.
RB: How do you have to adapt your riding style when you’ve got that little space?
JS: Madrid I guess is more of a Best Trick competition than a Big Air comp. There’s not much track you can ride around on. It’s basically racing through the tunnels, out as quick as you can and getting your biggest trick done.
RB: Being on the road must make it difficult to train properly and evolve your tricks.
JS: Yeah. Especially because in between X-Fighters I had Nitro Circus back home, so I was going home in between rounds. So yeah, sometimes when you’ve got a few events, you can’t spend that much time learning new tricks. But I’ve got a bit of time before Madrid, so hopefully I can head there feeling comfortable and pull off a few new things.
RB: You were drafted in at the last minute to do the Speed & Style competition at X Games Munich and you finished 4th. Did you have fun with that?
JS: Well I used to race motocross and I've always loved supercross. So to be able to have supercross and freestyle in a run just really appealed to me and I wanted to give it a crack. I had no training, but besides some arm pump and getting tired a bit quickly, I had a ball. Now I want to train more and try and do some more events.
RB: Is it a bit weird having to remember to do a freestyle trick at the end of the supercross section in Speed & Style?
JS: Yeah. Sometimes you get through the track and if you’re getting a bit of arm pump you’re like, ‘Phwoar, relax a bit, you’ve got a big trick coming up.’ I guess you can’t just go full hammer and tongs.
RB: And finally, are you planning anything special for Madrid?
JS: Well I’d been working on some things that just hadn’t come together yet but hopefully with a bit more training I can do them. They’re more just improvements on the old tricks, a few more variations, a few more combinations.
Josh will be riding at Red Bull X-Fighters Madrid on Friday July 19th. Head to the Red Bull X-Fighters website to find out more.