What The Heck is FMX???
So, you think Motocross is pretty much as extreme as it gets? Well, let’s be real- it is a pretty insane sport. This wildly popular extreme sport is hosted around the world in some of the most heart pumping events you’ve ever seen. Freestyle motocross, however, gets even wilder from there. FMX, as it is more commonly known by motocross enthusiasts, is a nail biting version of motocross that allows for death defying stunts and tricks. Motocross, at its most basic, is a dirt bike competition in which riders course over dirt mounds, cutting sharp turns at incredible speeds. FMX uses this general format but includes room to really allow for the imagination and creativity of the rider to shine.
In FMX there are two primary events that competitors are judged on. The first is the Big Jump and the second is the Freestyle Routine.
The Big Jump, or Big Trick as it is otherwise known, is an opportunity for riders to soar into the air from a dirt covered ramp and perform flips and tricks atop their dirt bike. Riders get two opportunities to showcase their jump skills. Each jump is judged individually by a panel of experts on their technical ability, showmanship, uniqueness, and execution. All of these factors are calculated to give the rider a final jump score between one and 100. Riders have two opportunities to wow the judges and each jump can make or break a competition outcome. The scores are not averaged, but instead each score stands alone as representative of the rider’s performance.
The Big Jump competition is most famous for rider’s attempts at backflips. Over the past thirty years riders have been attempting and executing backflips. The first attempts (and many since) have not been quite as graceful and some riders have suffered permanent injury from attempting this feat. After years of practice (most riders practice this jump by flying right into a lake with their bike) there are now many freestyle enthusiasts able to make the flip.
The other main event is the Freestyle Routine. In this event competitors attempt to drive a dirt course and execute great technical ability and stunts throughout. The routine event can last anywhere from 30 seconds to 15 minutes depending on the specific competition. These rides are also judged on a one to 100 scale, much like the Olympics are judged. From the time the engines start to rev up to the final dust cloud left at the finish line, these jaw dropping course runs are the epitome of extreme.
Each year there are dozens and dozens of incredible events where freestylers can showcase their skills. The biggest events of the year are undoubtedly the Red Bull X-Fighters and the official X-Games. For the Red Bull X-Fighters games riders compete in famous bull rings around the world (Red Bull racing in bullrings, get it?!) in a knockout style competition. This is the most beloved freestyle competition with a 50 year history where only the most elite competitors are invited to attend. Also interesting to note that this competition has taken place on six continents over the years! Imagine how the elements come into play when you’re coursing over dirt mounds and through sharp turns. In order to really kick up the intensity, these courses are often created on some of the most challenging pieces of terrain.
The X-Games will always be the most world renowned venue for world class riders to compete. The X-Games, if you aren’t already familiar with them, are hosted by ESPN annually and draw a huge international crowd to celebrate the sportsmanship of extreme sports. The upcoming X-Games will feature a total of 13 motocross events, one of which is the freestyle event. All freestyle events are intended to showcase various aspects of this popular sport. International competitors practice insane amounts year round t have the opportunity to compete on this grand world stage.