Headlining the entertainment at the 2018 Killarney Motor Show powered by Kfm 94.5, on Sunday 4 November at the Killarney International Raceway, are the incredible Monster Energy Freestyle Motocross riders.
These extraordinarily talented young men – Dallan Goldman, Scotty Billet and Nick de Wit, all from Johannesburg – seem to simply defy gravity as they fly through the air, sometimes on their lightweight single-cylinder motocross machines, sometimes holding one with just one hand and sometimes not holding on at all until it’s time for the landing.
The bikes seem to twist and turn in the air, sometimes seemingly with a life of their own, while their riders get off, change their seating position and then slide back into the saddle just in time for the wheel to come down, apparently immune to the force of gravity.
Freestyle motocross has its roots in the 1970s, when off-road motorcycle racing moved from natural ‘scrambles’ tracks to purpose-built motocross circuits. These often included steeply angled humps, which would cause the faster bikes to leave the ground and ‘fly’ a certain distance before touching down again. Spectators loved it, so the jumps got bigger and bigger, until the fastest riders would spend several seconds in the air, as much as six metres off the ground – enough time to wave to the crowd, twist the bike sideways or kick their legs out like a gannet coming in to land.
The crowds lapped it up and soon riders were going over the jumps between races to see who could pull off the most outrageous stunts. From there it was a short step to purpose-made steel ramps, carefully angled to launch the bike as high as possible into the air and allow a safe landing after a very steep descent. These can be set up anywhere, as long as they are precisely the right distance apart with at least 30 metres of run-up on either side and then, if you’ll forgive the pun, the sky is literally the limit. And that’s what you’ll be seeing on the Porsche Straight at the Killarney Motor Show powered by Kfm 94.5 on Sunday.
Once they leave the launch ramp, bike and rider follow the same trajectory, so the rider is free to move around in the air for a few seconds before dropping his feet back onto the footpegs and pulling gently back on the handlebars to ensure that the back wheel touches down a few milliseconds before the front and the bike runs straight off the ramp and into the run-up area.
One of the oldest and most popular stunts is when the rider kicks his legs back to fly stretched out above the bike with only his hands on the ‘bars – known, unsurprisingly, as the ‘Superman’. The Handstand, as the name suggests, is the same move taken to the vertical. The Hart Attack, named after Carey Hart, the first rider to pull it off successfully, has the rider doing a handstand on the saddle, while the Switchblade has the rider twisting his body to one side and kicking his legs apart like scissor blades.
The most classic stunt, of course, is the backflip, in which the rider pulls back hard on the handlebars while kicking down on the footpegs, causing the bike to rotate backwards. Do it right, and you’ll land on your wheels; do it wrong and you’ll land on your back with the bike on top of you.
The first rider to pull it off in practice was Caleb Wyatt, early in 2002; a few months later Freestyle Motocross legends Mike Metzger and Travis Pastrana both did it in competition at the Gravity Games. Then, on July 2 of that year, Metzger nailed a backflip on live TV at the X Games and changed the sport forever.
Almost all the stunts you’ll see in the Monster Energy Freestyle Motocross arena at the Killarney Motor Show powered by Kfm 94.5 are derivations or combinations of these classic moves. Prepare to be scared, prepare to be amazed as the Monster Energy riders put gravity on hold, at noon and again at 2pm.
The Cape’s biggest and most hands-on motor show offers test drives in new cars, rides on new dual-purpose motorcycles at the Adventure City off-road area (or get down and dirty on your own bike) and rides in new Isuzu vehicles on the Reeds 4×4 Track.
In addition to the Freestyle Motocross display, there will be a breath-taking motorcycle stunts by the Le Riche brothers, a drifting display by SA champion Jason Webb, model aircraft displays, live bands and stalls selling automotive memorabilia, car bling, accessories and scale models, live bands, snake shows, a fun fair and no fewer than five food courts offering a huge variety of food and liquid refreshment.
The Killarney Motor Show powered by Kfm 94.5 will open from 10am to 5pm on Sunday 4 November. Book at Computicket or pay at the gate; entry is R100 for adults, R50 for Scholars under 16 and free for children under 12.

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