Freestyle motocross star Robbie “Maddo” Maddison holds the world record for the longest jump — a huge 98.34 metres. MF caught up with the 30-year-old as he prepares for the finale of the 2011 X-Fighters tour on home turf in Sydney.
What’s the location like for the finale of the Red Bull X-Fighters tour in September?
We’re hitting it out of the park for the finale. It’s on Cockatoo Island [in Sydney Harbour] and is about a metre above sea level and right on the water, with the Harbour Bridgein shot. It’s a spectacular setting and will be a real tour highlight.
Will riding in your home town affect your game plan?
Not at all. To be successful at these events takes a strong mental approach and you can’t let locations and other thoughts put you off. I’m just excited. If anything, being at home is going to bring more energy. I’ll just have to ride that. I’m hoping to come to Australia as the points leader and secure the championship here.
You’ve entered Motocross Freestyle and Best Trick at the Summer X Games [held recently on July 28-31 in the US, as MF was going to print], plus trying some four-wheel action — racing a Hyundai Veloster rallycross car in the X Games. What inspired that move?
My focus at the moment is freestyle motocross, but I’m excited about my opportunity to race rallycross this year. I’ve got to thank Rhys Millen Racing for getting me the car and the set-up. I’ve got the best equipment and I know how to drive a car, so I see my future as adding two more wheels and continuing in the four-wheel world. Rallycross at X-Games will give me a taste of that action and it’s probably a good platform to prove what I can do behind the wheel.
Do you have any plans for record attempts this year?
I do. It’s looking like there are three opportunities this year. I’m going for the new world record for distance-jumping. Hopefully, one of them is going to be a really big show worldwide on live TV sometime in the new year. Nothing’s 100 per cent at this point, but definitely some plans are in place. I’m looking forward to getting back on the bike. Next time around, to set the world record I’ll be travelling around 180km/h and I’m shooting for the 400-foot mark, so over 130 metres. Plans are in place for it to happen in the US on the West Coast. I’m looking forward to it.
What’s your favourite motocross trick?
I really enjoy doing the Body Varial [a no-hands spinning manoeuvre above the bike] when it works out, but I’ve had a broken hand from it and an infection, so it comes with a lot of risk. I’m always fighting that uphill battle and facing fear, but hopefully I get it dialled in and pull it out for X-Fighters this year and come home and secure that win in Sydney.
Tell us about your bike. What makes it different?
It’s not your typical motorbike you could buy in a shop, but it’s nearly that. It’s a Yamaha YZ 250. It has a higher bend in the handlebars, which feels good and enables me to get my feet through for tricks such as The Shaolin. On the bars, I have foot levers, which flip up with a spring inside, so when you’re doing a backflip and you jump upside down, your hands rotate and hit the foot lever, which stops you going round and falling off the bike, so I can do tricks such as the Kiss of Death. Underneath the bars, I have a GPR stabiliser, which gives eight ranges of stiffness to keep the bars straight for tricks such as The Holy Man. The suspension soaks up the landings and keeps me smooth over little bumps. I’ve also cut out the air box, so that gives something to hold onto during tricks such as the Superman Seat-Grab and Heart Attacks, so I can fly off the back of the bike and hang on there. I’ve also welded on the topside of the rear brake pedal to allow me to grip on with my boot when doing no-handed backflips.
– Tim Spicer
How Robbie keeps fit to fly
“I do lots of off-bike training, usually four sessions a week. I do kettlebell squats, pull-ups, chin-ups, use cable machines and do loads of stuff on gym balls so I’m constantly having to stabilise myself. I’ll stand on a gym ball with a kettlebell in one hand and a wobble bar [an oscillating, vibrating bar that promotes strength and stability] in the other. We also throw medicine balls to each other so that every single stabiliser muscle gets used — you need them for motocross. I do two days of that and two days of outdoors stuff, which tend to be cardio circuits — 10 one-minute stations comprising army crawls, medicine-ball squats, cross-lateral throws, box jumps and that sort of thing.
“I don’t run, because I don’t have anterior cruciate ligaments [in the knee]. For motocross, you just want to develop your core and keep up your heart rate.”