[Editor's note: This story was published before it was reported that Tyrone Gilks died Thursday from injuries suffered in a crash while training for his jump.]
We don't know if there is something in the water down there, but year after year, there is almost always a new Australian freestyle motocross talent who comes out of nowhere. And we aren't talking about "having potential," we are talking about a rider having the tricks, style and skill to be a threat at a major event tomorrow.
This year's new talent is JC FMX's Tyrone Gilks. Since stepping into freestyle in the middle of 2011, Gilks has enjoyed success in every event he has participated in. This year has started off the same as Gilks rode to a second-place finish at Unit's Farm Jam. This event has become one of "the" events to watch every year, and he won it last year.
Gilks, 19, isn't slowing down and on Saturday he will attempt to break the 250cc two-stroke world long distance record of 310 feet, 4 inches in Maitland, New South Wales, Australia. Last week we caught up with Gilks to talk about the jump and his program.
XGames.com: Tyrone Gilks, what is going on man?
Gilks: Hey, mate, not much just trying to relax a little, catch up with mates, and have a few beers before everything gets busy again [laughs].
You have been having a pretty solid 2013, where did you come from, man?
Thanks, mate, it's been killer so far and I couldn't be happier! [Laughs] I spent all of 2012 working my butt off riding shows for JC FMX, doing every competition possible, and trying to turn heads every chance I get.
I want to talk about the 2013 Farm Jam. I heard you were pulling 360s off a dirt hit … talk about that contest and your finish.
Farm Jam is the bomb! It was my first competition in 2012 and I was fortunate enough to take the win. Heading back this year I wasn't so much looking for a win but to show everyone how my riding has progressed in the last 12 months. I made it a personal goal to flip everything possible, flip combos on natural terrain, and 360 a dirt hit. I was lucky enough to tick all those boxes and come away with a solid second-place finish.
You are a part of a team out of Queensland called JC FMX, talk a little a bit the team.
The JC FMX guys have backed me since the day I said I was keen to have a go at freestyle in the middle of 2011. They hook me up with bikes from Yamaha Australia and all the casual wear I need from JC Clothing Company. Not only that, but they give me a place to practice and any show that I'm happy to ride. I couldn't be happier to be a part of the team.
You made a trip over to the States, what was that like?
I signed with Lucas Mirtl Action Sports Management to wrap up 2012. I came over to spend some time with Lucas, meet some people, sponsors, and of course do some riding. I was fortunate enough to spend a weekend at Jackpot Ranch, which was by far the highlight of the trip. I struggled to keep my mouth closed upon arrival [laughs]! It was good to be back in the States, last time was in 2006 …
So after your Farm Jam performance caught my eye, I started to do a little research on you and the team and I saw that you've got a pretty big distance jump coming up …
Sure do … JC FMX and Yamaha have hooked me up with a brand-new YZ 250cc two-stroke to attempt to break the current 250cc two-stroke ramp-to-dirt distance record of 310 feet, 4 inches [set by Ryan Capes on Oct. 29, 2005 in Kent, Wash.].
Due to the magnitude and size of the set-up that is required it limits the amount of training I can actually do. Fortunately I will be able to get in all the practice and testing I need in the night before the actual jump day on the actual set-up.
Something like this doesn't just happen … how did this opportunity come about?
The organizers of the Maitland Bike and Hot Rod Show and Goldsprings Earthmoving approached my father and me and asked if we would be interested in bringing something new to the event this year. After throwing ideas around this is what we came up with. Everyone is getting pretty excited as the event creeps up to say the least!
Who are some of the people backing you?
Without Goldsprings Earthmoving this would never have been possible. They're the ones who gave me the opportunity to attempt this jump in which I'm super grateful for. And then I have to give a big thank you to my personal sponsors for their amazing support … JC Clothing Company, Yamaha Australia, Fox, Lusty Industries, Von Zipper, Ogio, Ethika, GoPro, ODI grips, Pro-Moto Suspension, Jim Sherritt, and of course, my awesome family!
Thanks Tyrone and good luck!
Thanks. mate, I'll do my best and give it a red-hot go [laughs].