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Five minutes with Travis Pastrana: The king of Nitro Circus fills MOTO in on the forthcoming Nitro Circus UK tour

Five minutes with Travis Pastrana: The king of Nitro Circus fills MOTO in on the forthcoming Nitro Circus UK tour

Five minutes with Travis Pastrana: The king of Nitro Circus fills MOTO in on the forthcoming Nitro Circus UK tour

AMA motocross and supercross champion, a 17-times X Games medalist, FMX pioneer, rally champion, NASCAR racer and leader of the wild Nitro Circus crew – Travis Pastrana is the biggest name in action sports, a bona fide global star, and he’s heading to the UK.

Fresh off the back of the release of the Nitro Circus 3D movie, Pastrana and his motely gang of thrill-seekers are hitting Europe with the hotly anticipated live-action Nitro Circus Live tour, a thrilling 2.5 hour rollercoaster show of Nitro Circus’s trademark mentalism, including three stops in the UK at London (Dec 3), Manchester (Dec 4) and Birmingham (Dec 5).

Fresh off another surgery to repair injuries – this time to his shoulder – Pastrana was in London to promote the biggest action sports event of the year over the weekend and MOTO caught up with him to find out what to expect from Nitro Circus Live, as well as find out about everything else going on the non-stop life of Travis Pastrana.

MOTO: What can British show goers except from Nitro Circus Live?

TP: Niro Circus Live is the top guys in action sports coming together and pushing the boundaries for your entertainment. We’re not just talking about the guys you see on X Games. Any guys out there pushing the boundaries in any action sport with that mentality to go as far as they can, they’re in Nitro Circus Live. We’ve got scooter guys, pogo-sticks, Aaron ‘Wheels’ Fortheringham in his wheelchair, allsorts.

It’s high risk, low pay and by the end of the tour half the crew is going to have something broken, banged up and beaten. It’s the most incredibly competitive crew of guys you’ll ever see. When they show up to run every night they really lay it all out there on the line.

To make sure things always progress, every night of the tour every one of the crew has to do something they’re never done before. It doesn’t have to be something that’s never been done before, just something they’ve never done before, to make them excited, to make them nervous. That really comes through in the shows, there’s a real edge of excitement and uncertainty about them that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

MOTO: Is it hard condensing what you do in the Nitro Circus shows and films into a show in the tight confines of an arena?

It’s very challenging for sure. It does limit you to an extent that you can’t do some of the really memorable things we’ve done on the shows such as back-flipping rooftop to rooftop, but I think we’ve really pulled together something that will surprise people with just what we’re able to do in an arena.

It’s been a pretty cool project to put together. Traditionally these shows follow a pretty strict format, but we wanted to keep the free-flowing style of the TV shows in the show so we’ve worked really hard to make it that way. If someone’s family comes to the show and they want to be the star of the show then it’s ‘OK, step up and do something big.’ There’s no real leader, no real schedule. There’s guys you’ve never heard of who are going to do things you never thought was possible.

It’s a really exciting few hours. By the time we get to England at the end of the tour everyone’s going to have their shit dialed, so the UK fans are going to see the biggest and best stuff of all.

MOTO: Nitro Circus has gone from an online TV show to MTV, to now doing 3D movies and world tours. Where does it go from here?

It’s kind of a changing of the guard right now actually. The main cast if you want to call it that, I shouldn’t say we’re getting old, but there’s other avenues some of us are being presented with. Jolene Van Vugt for example is still a huge part of Nitro Circus Live, but she’s also doing really well in the stunt world. She did all the motorcycle stunts for Catwoman in the Dark Knight Rises. Eric Roner is still really pushing his skiing and is getting into wingsuits. They’re all kind of parallel to Nitro but not necessarily part of the live show stuff.

It’s not like their quitting but what we do have is a really amazing group of young guys coming through in a much wider variety of sports who are amazing and an ever larger part of the show.

Our goal eventually for Nitro, especially the live shows, is to build a training facility, a proving ground where you can come if you’re willing to progress your sport, whatever that sport might be. I want for kids growing up to be able to look at Nitro Circus as a viable career option and an environment where they can reach their potential.

MOTO: Where does NASCAR fit into all of this. Where do you find the time for a start?

NASCAR is 100% my focus now. Well, I shouldn’t say 100% but I’m trying to focus on it a lot more than I ever did on my motocross career. I’m at a huge disadvantage where even 15 and 16 years olds have massively more track experience than I do.

The hardest things to learn is communicating with the team and relying on them for so much information, because in those cars you can’t see anything, but also how finite it is and how hard it is to make progress. In motocross you can make up a second or two so easily, in NASCAR to make up 1/10th is cause for excitement. People think it’s the easy motorsport, just going round in circles, but it’s so hard to make up time you’re right on the edge the whole time and so are all the guys around you.

The attraction as a motocross guy is that it is imperfect, like motocross. They give you a 950bhp car that handles like crap, so it slides and it weaves. It’s a real thing. It’s not a computer like an F1 car. Open-wheel racing is too precise, too perfect for me, I was never able to ride clean on a motocross bike. NASCAR is not an exact science, it fits me. You can bang, you can barge, there are different lines, different approaches you can take. It’s real racing.

Nitro Circus Live hits the London O2 on Dec 3, Manchester Arena on Dec 4 and Birmingham’s NIA on Dec 5. It’s going to be massive, so don’t miss out on the event of the year. For full ticket information and a run down on the entire line-up for Nitro Circus Live in the UK visit

Red Bull is offering fans of Nitro Circus the chance to challenge action sports hero and 17-time X games medallist, Travis Pastrana to the craziest idea they can come up with! When Nitro Circus Live comes to the UK in December, the best challenges will be chosen by Travis Pastrana himself to perform along with the entire Nitro Circus crew at the UK dates of the first ever European tour in December 2012.

Words by Ben Johnson
Image by  David Ulrich/Red Bull Content Pool


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