The sport of freestyle motocross has grown immensely in the 21st century and the advanced tricks riders are attempting, and landing, are the biggest proof of that. Ever since Mike Metzger became the first rider to successfully land a backflip in competition with his successive flips at the 2002 X Games, riders have been pushing the limits of what they can physically do on a bike, and the results have been incredible.
With such versatility now in the sport of freestyle motocross, here are five of the toughest and best tricks ever landed in competition.
In 2006, Travis Pastrana defied what anyone thought was possible and landed the first ever double backflip in competition. After impressing the world year after year with his death-defying stunts, Pastrana took it to the next level with one of the most iconic tricks in the sport's history. Flipping the bike two complete revolutions and landing it gave him a well-deserved X Games gold medal.
Coined by Travis Pastrana's cousin, Special Greg, the Special Flip was first landed in competition by Thomas Pages in the 2012 X Game MotoX Best Trick competition, and it certainly did not disappoint. Taking the "flip" an entirely different direction, Pages lets go of the bike completely and backflipped himself in mid-air, keeping the bike in the same position before pulling himself back on and landing it. While the judges thought differently, this is a trick for the ages.
Rock Solid Backflip
A trick which takes an incredible amount of courage and fortitude to attempt, this modified backflip turns heads whenever it is landed; which isn't often. In this trick, the rider performs a traditional backflip, yet as they are suspended upside down, the rider completely lets go of the bike, flying in mid-air with the bike above them before grabbing back on and landing.
A similar trick to the rock solid backflip, this is likely equal in difficulty. Another trick taking some serious guts, this rider also begins this move by performing a traditional backflip on their bike. As they reach being suspended upside down, the same position as the rock solid backflip, they crawl their way toward the rear of the bike. Once they reach the tail, they grab it with both hands and fully extend their body off the back before crawling back up to the handlebars to complete the flip and land successfully.
When Travis Pastrana nailed the double backflip, the freestyle motocross world thought the triple would be physically impossible to pull off one day. Thanks to the team at Nitro Circus and some creative ramp building, however, Josh Sheehan successfully landed this trick in 2015 to become the first person in history to land this incredible trick.