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Jackson Strong | UNLEASHED

Jul 252022

Start your engines! Freestyle motocross innovator and six-time X Games gold medalist Jackson Strong joins Episode 36 of UNLEASHED. A must-listen for all motocross fans, the podcast gets the inside story from the 30-year-old from Lockhart, New South Wales, Australia, who became a professional freestyle motocross rider as a teenager and left his unique mark on the sport ever since.

“I think freestyle motocross is in a bit of a transitional period at this point in time. There are a lot of guys doing a lot more freeride-type stuff, like what Axell [Hodges] is doing is really cool. But I think we’re going to see freestyle move away from being inside small stadiums and moving outside with bigger jumps, longer distances and highest air. But we’ll always have the Best Trick and people learning new tricks,” said Strong.

Jackson Strong’s career is without parallel in professional freestyle motocross. At age 13, Strong began performing in shows with the Crusty Demons crew and has pushed the limits with never-been-done tricks ever since. He earned his first X Games gold medal in 2011 and has clinched the win in Motocross Best Trick six times since. His X Games record currently stands at 13 medals (6 gold, 4 silver, 3 bronze) and includes one bronze from Snow Bike Best Trick. A fearless innovator and next-level athlete, Strong embodies the action sports mindset like few other riders and keeps the innovations coming in boundary-pushing video parts.

 

Born in New South Wales, Australia, to a farming family spanning several generations, Strong discovered dirt bikes at a young age. “For me it all began riding around dirt bikes on the farm. More like a ways of getting around, sort of my transport. It was how I got to school,” said Strong. With a penchant for catching air, he soon began building his own jumps and training at abandoned spots near his home. And he got good quick: When he was only 13 years old, Strong began touring with the Crusty Demons of Dirt crew. “I learned all the bad habits of life, early on. Crusty tours were fun,” said Strong.

 

Ultimately, the young rookie began traveling to the United States and competing in the world’s biggest showcase for action sports: The X Games. In what was only his second X Games appearance, the Australian shook up the established order by claiming gold in Motocross Best Trick with a spectacular front flip. “I’ve been doing this for a long time. That’s eleven years ago now, I was age 19 then,” said Strong.

 

Over the next few years, Strong began dominating the Best Trick discipline like no other rider before – and kept the trick innovations coming. In 2015, he landed the first-ever double back flip into dirt off a quarter pipe as one of many never-been-done tricks on his resume. “There are so many more tricks that can happen. Moving forward, we are going to see more technicality in the jumps. And when it comes to Best Trick, we’re going to see more air bag landings and things to make the sport safer.”

 

Before the pandemic, Strong built his own training facility, The Sandbox, to prepare for competitions and film his viral video segments: “I built it because with a busy traveling schedule of doing shows, it was hard trying to find enough time to practice. For me when I’m practicing, I want to go riding two times a day. I want to put in the work and be as current as I can! Freestyle motocross is a very real sport. And that’s why I love it!”

 

Constantly evolving his skill set, Strong also took his freestyle talent to the snow, competing in the Snow Bike Best Trick event at X Games Aspen 2020, where he won a bronze medal. Not known for resting on his laurels, Strong also likes to get his kicks base jumping from bridges and tall cliffs. “My friends at home who sky dive, fly planes and base jump, I started hanging out with them a lot more because you couldn’t travel as much during the pandemic.”

 

After dealing with several heavy injuries, Strong began cultivating a resilient mental attitude to fortify himself against doubt and distractions. “There have been lots of injuries and broken bones. But anyone who’s looked at action sports has their fair share of bones and injuries happen. It’s not something I like to pride myself in, because you’ve done something wrong when that happens, but everyone who’s looked at a motor bike had something happen.”

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