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RIDER INTERVIEWS: Cheater Ramps at Nitro World Games | Features

ANZACs dominated the second-ever Nitro World Games at Salt Lake City, Utah, and proved the progression of freestyle motocross is far from done.

The inclusion of mechanical or “cheater ramps” designed to assist riders to perform front-flips more consistently caused a stir with many of the top riders commenting on their use in competition.

In short, a mechanical ramp has an extra kicker on the top that moves on a hinge. When a rider hits it, the front wheel makes the front fold down and the back hits the rear wheel giving the rider momentum to do a front flip.

LEVI SHERWOOD (NZ) – 2016 and 2017 FMX Champion

No surprises here, but the World Games is becoming one of my favourite events. The level of competition was stiffer this year; last year it seemed everyone was chasing their tails a bit more with the altitude, the ramps… and half the field rode both FMX and Best Trick. This year everyone seemed to have their shit sorted, and even though I felt like the cheater ramps got scored higher, only two riders used them in the FMX contest.

Overall I’m stoked on it all though, and it’s nice to ride a comp that didn’t penalise me for not hitting the front-flip ramps; if it had been Red Bull X-Fighters, I would’ve been docked “use-of-course” points.

HARRY BINK (AUS) – FMX Best Trick Champion, Rock Solid Front Flip

There’s been a bit of controversy around using mechanical ramps but they still take a lot of skill and it’s tricky to time the jump and land in the right spot. Basically I just hit whatever you put in front of me.

I’m not picky or whingy and I don’t necessarily love mechanical ramps, but I don’t hate them either. I just like to make the most of every situation and I want to progress the sport, so whatever it takes to do that, I’ll do it.

JOSH SHEEHAN (AUS) – 3rd in FMX, 4th in Best Trick, Double Flip Heelclicker

Originally I didn’t want to do Best Trick as I have a custom triple clamp, subframe and muffler that I didn’t want to bend up, but Travis talked me into it as they needed some Double Flip combos.

On my first attempt I landed a straight Double Flip, which was a bit of a warm-up, but I slapped down hard and bent the subframe and cracked a weld.
I went straight back for my second jump and landed the Heelclicker Double smoothly.

I was a bit pissed that I only finished fourth in Best Trick. I didn’t think Pat [Bowden’s] three-combo flip should’ve had the same DOD (degree of difficulty) as me, then apparently the Indy Front Flip off the mechanical ramp was also better than a Double Flip combo off a super-kicker. I do agree that Harry should’ve won, but I did expect to place higher.

At the same time, I was stoked to sneak into third in the FMX comp. I thought Clint [Moore] would knock me off the podium but he undercooked a 360 and went down, which opened the door for me.

All in all, I think it was awesome to see all the Aussies ripping it up and the event was equally as good as last year. A couple of the Best Trick jumps weren’t as massive as 2016, but it’s understandable that they’re dangerous and the riders didn’t want to do them again.

PAT BOWDEN (AUS) – 3rd in FMX Best Trick, One-hand Indy to Rock Solid to Double-Grab Hart Backflip.

In the Best Trick finals I started with that Double Grab Flip, just for me as it felt like such a cool trick and I basically wanted to see a video of it!

The second combo trick was done for the contest and I was definitely happy to place third after finishing second with the Tsunami Front Flip last year. This year’s trick itself isn’t actually all that hard… it’s definitely scary, but it’s more scary than hard as you’re in the air for so long.

On a whole I thought last year’s Nitro World Games was probably bigger and had more world firsts, but this year they’d ironed out a few of the faults and it ran a bit smoother. It’s gained a huge following now, so I’m looking forward to seeing how next year’s turns out.


Well I had a bit of a shocker. The day before we were filming at a racetrack and I got sunburnt and dehydrated, which I’m usually pretty cautious about. After qualifying I felt sick and threw up, then an hour later I was curled up in a ball and had to go to urgent care at the hospital with an IV and nausea meds. I couldn’t eat much, and I slept all the next morning, then went straight to the finals at 3:30pm!

The Aussie standard ramps only got set up that morning, so I had no chance to hit them and had to use the US ramps instead. That meant I couldn’t do my Lazy-Boy Flips or Cliffy Flips, but that’s what happens when you get old and lose your talent.

I was pretty stoked to make it through to the finals, but I knew I wouldn’t do much better than positions six-to-eight, so I just went out there and tried not to shit my pants. I would’ve liked to have ridden harder, but it wouldn’t have made much difference to the final results and I still achieved what I wanted to and showed the young kids what’s up.

Words: Simon Makker

Read the full 2017 Nitro World Games wrap in ADB Issue #456.