Extreme stunts at Nitro Circus enthral Abu Dhabi crowd

Nitro Circus brought its 34 performers to the capital for a one-night-only show at Zayed Sports City.
Crazy stunts were the order of the day as Nitro Circus came to town at Zayed stadium in Abu Dhabi. Sarah Dea / The National
Crazy stunts were the order of the day as Nitro Circus came to town at Zayed stadium in Abu Dhabi. Sarah Dea / The National

ABU DHABI // Last night proved a memorable one for thrillseekers as the city witnessed its first extreme sports show involving stunts using dirt bikes, BASE jumping and even a wheelchair.

The US-based Nitro Circus rolled into town with 34 performers from its “action sport collective” for a high-flying show at Zayed Sports City.

“We come out with a lot of practice,” said Travis Pastrana, a 31-year-old from Maryland who heads the crew. “Our aim is to make the best possible show without killing ourselves.”

Pastrana, a former Nascar driver and X Games gold medallist, specialises in flips on a motocross bike. Last year he broke his leg and shattered his ankle during a jump and he is now back performing.

“Nitro Circus is where everyone comes to try new tricks, try something that has never been done and never been seen,” he said. “We know the ramp angles and distances so we try to get it as perfect as we can.”

Aaron Fotheringham, a 23-year-old Las Vegas native, performs front and backflips on his wheelchair before landing on the other side of the ramp.

“It definitely gets your heart beating and it’s pretty scary,” he said. “But once you land it’s completely worth it. I’ve been doing this since I was eight, so for the past 14 years.”

Despite being confined to a wheelchair for his whole life, Fotheringham said he was always keen on extreme sports.

“There’s a level of difficulty but you have to keep practising until you get it perfect,” he said. “It’s a lot of pressure but it’s pretty fun. It’s the first time I’ve come to this part of the world, so it’s pretty cool to see a place that is different to anywhere else.”

Jolene van Vugt, 34, is the only woman on the team. “It’s very empowering but at the same time, they’re like family,” said the Canadian, who executes backflips on a dirt bike.

Brandon Schmidt has been with the travelling show for two years. “My parents got me my first snowboard for Christmas when I was two and 18 years later I’m here doing triple backflips with Nitro Circus,” said the 21-year-old New Jersey native.

“I do double backflips, double front flips and hopefully, a triple backflip.”


Published: December 5, 2014 04:00 AM


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