The tires squealed and the crowd oohed in excitement and anticipation as the Freestyle Motocross (FMX) riders pulled another death-defying stunt.
The FMX World Tour came to Abbotsford this weekend, and the sheer, ballsy insanity of the performers made it as intense a show as I’ve ever seen in the Abbotsford Centre. Flips, somersaults, a well-titled move called “the Superman,” another well-titled move called “Captain Morgan,” and a host of other tricks, stunts, and madcap acts of lunacy were all demonstrated by a six-man team of freestyle motocross experts.
Even though the crowd was far from capacity, the crazed stuntmen didn’t hold back, and delivered an enthusiastic performance. Carrying themselves with a carefree charisma, they cajoled, roused, and teased the crowd until the entire arena was in a state of frenzy. The daredevils performed stunts that would have made Evel Knievel do a backwards 360-degree somersault in his grave. Specific plaudits would most surely have to go to Keith Sayers, the night’s main attraction and star performer, his neon green uniform drawing in his captive audience’s gaze time and time again as he flipped gravity the bird.
In between FMX daredevils flying through the air like demented bats out of hell, to the side of the massive ramps was a smaller half-pipe used by the BMX performers who, while lacking the roaring engines and high-flying acrobatics of their FMX counterparts, put themselves at risk with reckless abandon for their crowd. While they couldn’t match the FMXers in speed or altitude, they demonstrated a more nimble, flexible style that made their bikes seem more an extension of themselves than the FMXers, whose dirt-bikes were more akin to bucking stallions. While I certainly appreciate the dexterity, quickness of hand, and supreme confidence of the BMX contingent, I couldn’t help but consider them to be nothing more than an intermission performance while the FMX performers prepared themselves for their next set of terrifyingly thrilling, death defying stunts.
It was a wonderful surprise to get so caught up in the intense and almost visceral sense of enjoyment from watching a bunch of men drive bikes high up into the air over and over again. It was an intoxicatingly simple sort of enjoyment; I could sit back, relax, and watch as these brass-balled adrenaline junkies repeatedly risked life and limb with a sense of carefree abandon fuelled by a testosterone-flooded arena.
However, I do have one quibble with the night’s entertainment: between the crashing, roaring sounds of the bikes and the crowd’s appreciative gasps and applause, the night’s colour commentary seemed a little off. The man on the mic was a constant stream of information, always reminding the audience of who the man in the air doing a silly twist was. A veritable encyclopedia of trick-names and motocross witticisms, he certainly didn’t detract from the performance, but he really didn’t add much to it.
Ignoring that one minor criticism, I’d say that a night watching grown men fly through the air on ridiculously loud motorbikes was a pleasant surprise and something I’d suggest everyone tries at least once.