20 October 2017
By Herman Eloff
Travis Pastrana is a legend, and a bloody nice guy too.
This I quickly found out when the American stunt performer recently took a few minutes from his busy schedule to chat to Channel24 about the Nitro Circus tour to South Africa.
Nitro Circus, a type of daredevil touring circus, hits local shores on 21 October for the second time after a very successful trip to SA in 2014.
On returning to SA
Back in 2014 Pastrana unfortunately missed the tour due to a serious knee injury.
As the ringmaster of the group it was no easy task for the 34-year-old to see the boys have fun in SA without him.
“The crew had so much fun last time. Half of them went surfing and the other half went on safari. I was so jealous. Being hurt sucks, but the worst part is actually not being able to join everyone else,” Travis says.
According to the father-of-two it’s frustrating to go from flying through the sky to being stuck on the couch with your leg in the air. But it’s part of the job and Pastrana totally gets it.
On getting the gear to SA
But how does this high-adrenaline action sport collective travel across the globe with all their gear and rigs?
“We’ve got three touring setups. The first is our original touring setup that we use for the smaller shows and demos. Then we have a special setup for venues with a roof where you can only get a certain height. And then we have the big show setup, which we’ll be using in South Africa.
“This setup gets put in a container and then shipped to wherever we need it. We’re always excited when we get to do the big shows. Bigger is always better in our sport,” Travis explains.
“And as far as the motorbikes go, we’ll borrow bikes but bring our own suspensions and handle bars and plastics,” he adds.
On the risks involved
Not many people can say their job includes having to do backflips on a bike whilst soaring through the air. But for Travis, a professional motorsports competitor, it’s ingrained in every part of his life.
Do a quick online search and you’ll quickly find out just how impressive Travis’ résumé truly is. He competes in supercross, motocross, freestyle motocross, and rally racing. He even takes part in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series where he drives a Chevrolet Silverado like a boss.
Surely living this extreme lifestyle must have his family on edge?
“What’s interesting is that the most difficult thing we did last year…three or four guys are doing this year. It always evolves and changes even though the concept of the show stays the same.
“Ultimately if it’s not scary and tough then we’re not doing our jobs,” Travis says before adding “so, yes it’s kind of scary but my wife does the show with me”.
In 2011 during a performance in Las Vegas, Travis actually stopped the show and got on one knee to propose to pro-skateboarder Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins. The couple got married a few months later and are now the proud parents of two beautiful girls.
“I actually think it’s the most difficult for my mom. She still wants a call after every show just to make sure everything is okay. While my dad just wants me to tell him when I do something cool,” he laughs.
Surely with such a high risk job the travel insurance must be a massive challenge?
“Oh definitely,” Travis says. “The US and England are the toughest. They actually told us, when we went to the O2 Arena, that we couldn’t do one of the stunts. It’s different all over the world.
“Other parts of the world are more relaxed. In New Zealand we had a show with massive fireworks because the restrictions were a lot more relaxed. It got really crazy and some fans lost their shirts,” he laughs before jokingly adding: “We actually pull volunteers from the audience during the show. My advice would be not to volunteer.”
This article originally appeared on channel4.co.za