New Breed

Video goodness from the back of a van.

Australia and New Zealand produce great freestyle motocross riders, with the most well-known ones being Robbie "Maddo" Maddison, Blake "Bilko" Williams, Cam "Sincs" Sinclair, Levi Sherwood, Nick Franklin, Matt "Schuie" Schubring, Kain Saul, Robbie Adelberg and Steve Mini to name some of them. Per capita, Australia is kicking majort butt compared to other countries around the globe.

Most of these pro riders have been around since the beginning of the sport down under. They've worked their way to the top the hard way and won't easily be knocked off their perch. Then there's the riders in Oz we don't hear much about -- the "New Breed" -- the ones working twice as hard to push their way in amongst the heavy hitters. They dream of the big time -- riding X Games and Red Bull X-Fighters -- and they know they have to do what the top pro's are doing, but better, if they stand a chance of opening any doors.

Plain and simple, these kids need help, so I thought it would be cool to give them some exposure through ESPN.com/Action in a section I'd like to call "New Breed." The first one off the block, I hooked up with West Oz ripper Josh Sheehan -- A young rider who is bursting with enough style and enthusiasm to make it onto the world stage.

Simon Makker

Josh Sheehan can throw down with the best of them, but his ruler flips are better than most.


Name: Josh Sheehan
Age: 23
Lives: Donnybrook, Western Australia
Started FMX: Age 14; first contest at 21

What's the FMX scene like where you live?

My home is out in the sticks (two hours south of Perth.) In Perth there are about 10 riders, with just one that flips and they're all pretty good mates. There aren't many demos going on and only one comp happens each year at Narrogin Revheads. Western Australia is very secluded from the East coast of Australia. It feels so far away from all the action!

Where are you at with FMX right now, in a good or bad place?

I had a shoulder operation in '09 and when I was nearly 100%, I went out and hurt it again. Then I wrecked my AC joint a month ago. My riding has been good when I'm riding, but the shoulder has delayed everything. So my riding's not in the best place right now, but things are looking good for the future.

There aren't a massive number of riders in Australia, so it's pretty cool. There are plenty of places to ride and lots of farming areas around here. I find it hard to get ahead in Western Australia, but seems to be much easier over east.

-- Josh Sheehan

What's it like being an FMX rider in Australia?

There aren't a massive number of riders in Australia, so it's pretty cool. There are plenty of places to ride and lots of farming areas around here. I find it hard to get ahead in Western Australia, but seems to be much easier over east.

Who do you ride with and where?

If I'm at home in Donnybrook I ride by myself and sometimes have a few mates over. I have a two-way lander, a 75ft ramp, 55ft ramp, small fun box and an irrigated sand MX track.

Tell us about the last event you rode at.

I spent tree weekends in Indonesia doing demos at a Supercross series. It was Interesting to say the least! The events were pretty cool, but the weather was really wet. We barely got our shows done before the rain bucketed down for the races. There were good landings, average lighting, dodgy ramps and some pyrotechnics that nearly toasted us as we finished. [laughs]

Where do you want to be in two years time?

Touring the world, competing in comps like Red Bull X-Fighters and X-Games.

Simon Makker

Josh has been going through a bit of a rough patch injury-wise, but the rest of 2010 is looking good and he's aiming for the top.


What are some of the latest tricks you've been learning?

The seatgrab flip, and when my shoulder is up for it, a lot more flip tricks.

If you had the choice, and support, what country would you base yourself in to further your career in FMX, and why?

A lot happens in the US, so I'd love to be there most of the time and ride with a lot of big names.

To date, what's been your worst experience riding FMX?

When I got a deal with the factory Honda team in Australia, they flew me over to do a demo at a Supercross round in Melbourne. A lot of big name riders were there and I was super nervous. I had a new Honda CRF450, no practice, new gear, a small landing and I came up short doing an endo on the first jump and broke both wrists.

There aren't a massive number of riders in Australia, so it's pretty cool. There are plenty of places to ride and lots of farming areas around here. I find it hard to get ahead in Western Australia, but seems to be much easier over east.

-- Josh Sheehan

And your best?

Winning the last AFMX round in 2008, which was at the Super X series in Brisbane.

Who do you look up to in the sport?

Travis Pastrana, and Bilko -- aussie aussie aussie!

What's the gnarliest thing you've seen in freestyle motocross?

It would have to be those massive crashes like Sinclair's and Lusk's. The gnarliest trick would have to be Travis Pastrana's 720.

What could help you most in realizing your dreams?

Income from a sponsor to enable me to spend much more time and effort training. That and a good contact to slip me into the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour!

Anyone you'd like to thank?

My mate Phil has helped me so much. My family and friends for their support, and the sponsors that have helped me -- Honda Race Team, Valyside and Osiris.

Simon Makker

"We recently undertook a freeriding mission to the Western Australia sand dunes with Josh, and he was the stand-out rider by a long way. He'd never ridden sand dunes before, but he found -- and nailed -- the biggest jump of the day" --<i>Simon Makker</i>


And now a word from the man in the Freerider MX hot seat, Simon Makker.

"Sheehan has got to be one of the smoothest, most naturally talented riders in Australia at the moment. It seems he can perfect any trick he puts his mind to within a couple of hours, and it's obvious he comes from a racing background, as his bike skills are off the charts. We recently undertook a freeriding mission to the Western Australia sand dunes with Josh, and he was the stand-out rider by a long way. He'd never ridden sand dunes before, but he found -- and nailed -- the biggest jump of the day, and was dragging his bars through the soft sand as if he was a gritty-toothed veteran. On top of that, his ruler flips have to be one of the -- if not THE -- biggest in the world!" --Simon Makker

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