It's a Thursday afternoon in Davidsonville, Md., and Nitro Circus star Jolene Van Vugt is power washing the skate park at Travis Pastrana's house. "We're all doing a little spring cleaning," she says. "Around here, we all chip in and help out."
Van Vugt has been at the Pastrana compound for a week and plans to stay and train until the end of April, when she and the rest of the Nitro Circus squad pack up and head Down Under for their third tour of Australia. For the first time in the show's three-year lifetime, Pastrana will not perform in the Nitro Circus tour, remaining instead in the United States to focus on auto racing full time. But until the day they leave for Oz, he's still very much a part of the crew.
"He's always still around, helping and giving his Travis input," Van Vugt says. "We're all really good at motivating and supporting each other. I don't know what it will be like not having him on tour, but right now, it's the same Nitro Circus."
In addition to the subtraction of Pastrana, the 2012 tour will feature several new athletes, as well as the core crew.
"We have a lot of new riders filling the shoes of Mr. Pastrana," Van Vugt says. "We brought in people we thought would be a good fit, like Bob Burnquist, Matt Rebeaud and Adam Jones." Regulars Dusty Wygle, Aaron "Wheels" Fotheringham, Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins Pastrana, Andy Buckworth and Chad Kagy will also travel to Australia for the five-city tour. Skier Erik Roner, known for his trips down the Giganta Ramp on anything from a tricycle to a water cooler, will travel with the crew but will not perform. While filming in Haines, Alaska, in March, Roner was caught in an avalanche and broke his femur and arm.
"We're just glad he's still with us," Van Vugt says. "And that he'll be with us on tour."
In November and December, the tour will head to Europe for the first time. They will perform 12 shows in 10 cities, including Vienna, Prague, Dusseldorf, London and Barcelona. Pastrana will travel to Europe with the crew once the NASCAR season ends, but will not perform.
"Nitro Circus is the most fun you can have," Pastrana says. "It truly is like a family. It's amazing, but it's not racing. And this year, I'm focused on racing."
Last year, MTV followed the crew around Australia and New Zealand and the result, an eight-episode show called "Nitro Circus Live," is currently airing on MTV2 on Tuesday nights.
"It shows us struggling with tricks and stunts and some of us being the first do to tricks," Van Vugt says. "And you get to see the fun stuff we did together hanging out between shows. So far, we're getting really good feedback. We're excited to be back on TV for our fans."
Pastrana says the crew also has plans to hold a premiere for the Nitro Circus 3-D movie at the X Games in Los Angeles at the end of June and hopes the film will be in theaters by October. In the long term, he also hopes to open Nitro Circus training facilities in the United States so the crew has somewhere to train other than his back yard.
"If you're in action sports and pushing boundaries, we want to give you the skills and training facilities to learn them," he says. "A place with foam pits and Giganta ramps. Not necessarily another Woodward, but a place for the top tier of athletes to train, the guys willing to go into every show and try something they've never tried before."