Sunday, March 1, 2015

Nitro Circus

I won a Canberra Times competition to attend Nitro Circus at Canberra Stadium.

For the uninitiated (as I was about two weeks ago!) Nitro Circus calls itself an “action sport collective” which basically means a lot of top daredevil bike riders combining with BMX riders and a few skateboarders, skaters, and a guy in a wheelchair thrown in. I think in all there were 45 in our particular “action sport collective” when we watched them perform on Saturday.

I hadn’t really appreciated just how good the prize was which I’d won – (I only wrote a daft four line poem). I knew we’d won VIP passes, but when we arrived at Canberra Stadium they were selling VIP passes to the general public, so I assumed we had good seats, but in actual fact our seats were in FRONT of the VIP – pretty much in the arena – we were in effect the VIP’s of the VIP’s!

I went along with Audrey and Eli and secured my brother (Graham) and his wife (Kerry) seats in the grandstand behind us. We were led down to the pit lane – on the rails of the fence dividing us and the riders.

We had been invited to the practice session – a chance to view the riders doing their thing before the crowds and the ‘ring-master’ arrived. We got to meet a lot of the riders beforehand – most notable of whom is a guy called Travis Pastrana who, if you’re a Nitro Circus aficionado is basically THE man. He was a really nice bloke and spent time with me and the kids.

I had worried beforehand about the kids attention span – we got there at 2.30 for a show that didn’t start until 4.30 and would go on until after 7pm. In the end I needn’t have worried – Audrey and Eli (Audrey in particular) loved every minute. The deafening growl of the engines upset both Audrey and Eli at first (I had taken earplugs for them) but after about half an hour they both threw them away and embraced it all.

The Nitro Circus gang backflipped, jumped and twisted through a whole series of stunts – some of them absolutely breathtaking. Interspersed with this was loud rock music which echoed around the cavernous Canberra Stadium and fireworks which shot dazzling sparks into the sky. It would have been hard not to have been excited!

Ultimately it was so mesmerising you got blase about watching people do a double back flip on a motorbike.

The shows finale was for all 45 riders, skaters, bikers etc to all set off at once on the two huge ramps - sending flocks(!) of dirt-bikes in the air combining with crazy BMX riders. Just stunning.

As we headed home Eli told me how he was going to try something similar next time he was on his bike. His training wheels (stabilisers) are going to prevent some of the action methinks.

Life in the pits
Me and Travis Pastrana
Travis on an inflatable elephant
Audrey and Travis


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