The race to X Games 16 is on Down Under, and with XG15 gold medalist Blake 'Bilko' Williams already on the X16 program, as well as Robbie 'Maddo' Maddison, Cam 'Sincs' Sinclair, and Chad Reed -- there are a few Aussie's pulling off some monster tricks knocking at the door, looking for the next X invite. Clinton Moore is one of those riders with his Volt over a 75-foot gap, and the latest is Jacko Strong, who stomped a clean 85-foot front flip on the last stop of the Crusty Demons 'Beyond the Apocalypse Tour' in Cairns this past weekend. Jacko's been working hard at the trick for a solid six months and now looks to have it completely dialed as X Games looms. I caught up with the wild child from the small country town of Lockhart to find out what his plans are now that he's mastered one of the hardest tricks in the biz!
ESPN: Jacko, you've just ridden away from your first 85-foot front flip in front of 6,500 screaming Crusty Demon fans; how did that feel?
Strong: Yeah, I felt on top of the world and it's been a long time coming with my first attempt being about six months ago, where I under rotated the trick and lacerated my liver. So, it just pays off to be determined and let nothing intimidate you.
What did you do differently from the previous shows to pull it off?
I changed a few settings on my bike, and I took away the resi-mats on the landing because they got caught up in my wheels and made me crash on my previous three attempts.
Now you've stomped it, are you more confident you know what it takes to execute it every time?
Yeah, the last six months have being a massive learning curve for me. All of the crashes I had doing this trick have built me into a much more confident, dedicated and stronger rider. I've also learnt how to set up my bike to benefit me 100% when doing the front flip, but also being standard enough to where I can turn around and do all my regular tricks and backflip combos. I think that me doing front flips on standard ramps with this bike set-up will be key to doing well in competitions because I will be able to throw it down in FMX runs.
In your mind, what's the hardest thing about pulling a front flip?
The hardest thing about doing the front flip is working out the speeds in which to hit the jump because I have to chop the throttle on the face of the ramp to send me in a forward motion. This means I have to hit the ramp with a lot more momentum because I'm not pinning it off the takeoff like I would a backflip.
Why is it harder than a backflip?
I think it's very obvious that the way the motorcycle and ramps are designed -- backflips are a more natural progression and less forced. I've been doing backflips for about four years now and they are second nature to me -- hopefully the front flip will be that way one day too.
When was the first time you attempted the front flip and how many have you attempted trying to perfect the trick?
I've been working on the front flip for about a year now and have had four crashes perfecting it. One of which came close to killing me and put me in intensive care with internal bleeding for seven days. I believe that it's almost impossible to perfect a trick this hard without crashing; heck I'm only human. [laughs] I've learned a lot along the way!
85-feet is a big gap, is that the perfect distance for the front flip?
Yeah it is, but I have been doing some new testing with them and I'm not having any trouble doing them on a 75-foot gap now, so I can now look forward to doing them in my freestyle runs as my dedication is towards Freestyle, not Best Trick.
Will we be seeing combos any time soon?
I'm not going to go claiming any combos at this point in time. But yes, in the future I think so!
How bad do you want to take the front flip to X Games 16?
I'm hoping I'll get the invite to X Games, and I'm feeling pretty confident about it because I believe I have quite a lot to offer and I'll make XG16 one to remember!
Jimmy Fitzpatrick has already been invited to X with the front flip; do you think there's room there for two?
Yes, I definitely do and I'm 110% confident that I will now be able to pull this trick at X. But hey, maybe X Games will give me a shot at Freestyle and I will have the opportunity to go big in my run?
We're hoping you get a shot mate, congrats on pulling it off and good luck for your X Games chances?
Thanks a lot guys. I'm a huge fan of the site, and I think doing this trick ramp to ramp and not in the foam pit will give me the edge against my competitors. Hopefully my fans and X Games can see that. Be sure to keep checking out jackostrong.com!