x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Bikers will flip and the crowd might too

Revised course at Jumeirah Beach Walk should make it easier to perform stunts.

It's the pinnacle of freestyle motocross and the format has changed a little bit from last year, says Josh Sheehan.
It's the pinnacle of freestyle motocross and the format has changed a little bit from last year, says Josh Sheehan.

DUBAI //The X-Fighters freestyle motorbike exhibition makes its second appearance in Dubai tonight and a sold-out crowd will watch 12 competitors trying to pull off astonishing stunts.

Josh Sheehan, a 26-year-old Australian, will be looking for a fast path up the eight-metre dirt ramp, then he will flip his bike upside down and hang from it like a bat as the bike soars through the air.

Sheehan said the expected 20,000 spectators at Jumeirah Beach Walk are in for the best of freestyle stunts.

"It's the pinnacle of freestyle motocross and the format has changed a little bit from last year," he said. "It will be progressive throughout the night and fans will see all the flip tricks."

The course will be different from last year's as the ramps have been reduced from nine metres and there are new and different jump and landing options.

"There is one big mound of dirt with different take-offs and landings. Riders might change and jump up on an angle instead of going straight for a further ramp to land on," Sheehan said.

The lower ramps will make it easier for riders to flip their bikes, said Sheehan, who came fourth in last year's series.

Fans can expect to see plenty of ruler flips, which is when the rider does a back flip and hangs from the handlebars.

These ramps make it "easier to get rotation", Sheehan said. "There will be tricks like lazy boys, which is lying down on your seat during a flip or hanging from a your bars on a flip. There will be lots of whipping stuff and getting the bike sideways. There will be a few 360s during the competition as well."

James Bunn followed freestyle motocross when he lived in the UK five years ago. "We just hope to see some wonderful stunts," said Mr Bunn, a former motocross rider himself. "It's a good night out. There will be 14 of us going this year to watch."

Mr Bunn said he would like to follow the sport more closely, but that it was difficult to find on television.

"Four or five years ago I knew them all and even had a few friends who competed in them but they have all stopped. The younger lads coming through do some of the most astonishing of stunts."

eharnan@thenational.ae