Kaiwera man Andrew Jackson and Stuart Ewing, of Gore, first got into dirt biking when they were 8 years old -13 years later the pair are among New Zealand’s top freestyle motocross riders.
The pair display their freestyle motocross (FMX) skills throughout New Zealand at events such as Farm Jam, a judged event that attracts some of the world’s biggest names in FMX and BMX.
The pair, who train up to four times a week, competed in Farm Jam, which was held in the Otapiri Gorge on Saturday. Jackson claimed the overall win in the FMX section.
The pair competed against riders from all over the world.
“There’s nothing else like Farm Jam around. It’s the only one of its kind in New Zealand,” Jackson said.
“Farm Jam’s good – it’s the only competition around.”
The pair said they began “flipping” at the age of 15 when Jackson and his brother, Matthew, decided to build a large freestyle jump.
Once they started they quickly developed a love for it and a need to push themselves to the next level, Ewing said.
“It took a good summer to get comfortable with it,” Ewing said.
“Learning to flip is such a big thing all over the world and just to be able to say you can do it is pretty awesome,” Ewing said.
Since achieving the flip, they have progressed and refined their performances.
“I mainly like to flip and Andrew is more into his whips whether it’s upright or upside down.”
A whip is a backflip while whipping the bike BMX style.
Although they found themselves doing some death-defying tricks, they didn’t consider themselves adrenaline junkies, Jackson said.
“We started small obviously – we didn’t just go straight up and do what we are doing now,” he said.
“But at the same time, when you get a trick, that feeling, that wee kick you get, is cool,” Ewing said.
Although the pair have different styles of freestyling they have been influenced by each other and say they would not be where they were today if they had not joined forces.
“Yeah, we would be still riding, but not like this,” Ewing said.
“Without Andrew and help from Neil [Jackson] we wouldn’t have had jumps to build our skill level,” he said.
Jackson said the extra push from Ewing was always helpful too.
“We wouldn’t be flipping or anything like that – we would have been weekend riders … Someone to push you helps.”
Although the pair seem fearless they have both experienced what can happen if something goes wrong.
Ewing said he had ended up in a wheelchair with casts on both legs and Jackson had suffered a ruptured spleen and multiple broken bones and had had a knee reconstruction.
This year he would like to master the “double-grab backflip” and Jackson the “Shaolin backflip”, which is when the rider jumps over the handlebars and spreads their legs in a V shape.
The pair aimed to head overseas to display their FMX skills at world-class events.