Monday Conversation:  Travis Pastrana

Monday Conversation: Travis Pastrana

June 6, 2011 2:30pm
This past Saturday night, Travis Pastrana and his band of buddies got together and put on a great show at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Already a hit down under, Pastrana, Greg Godfrey and Jeremy Rawle’s Nitro Circus Live packs more thrills in a three hour show than should be allowed. Tandem double back-flips, scooters hucking gaps, rollerbladers, skateboarders, BMX’ers, guys in coolers and of course, freestyle motocrossers.

Travis has certainly come a long way since he was chasing national and supercross titles and just hours before the show (where TP actually proposed to his girlfriend, skateboarder Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins while he slid down a vert ramp) Travis and I sat down on a bench outside the arena to chat it up.

Racer X: This is quite a spectacle you have here in the arena, can you talk about what the Nitro Circus is all about?
Travis Pastrana: Nitro Circus started out way back in Maryland when we had the foam pits and the guys would come over and start trying things. My cousin Special Greg was just flipping and trying everything and we filmed it all. We got a bit of a cult following in the moto industry, then we got a show on Fuel TV, then got on MTV and we started just picking up more and more people that were like we were. And I don’t even know what that is exactly, just more and more crazy rednecks are out there in the world.

We decided to start a tour when we got into the big-wheels and the other contraptions, when we got to a point where we had enough to do to make it different. From that point on, it has taken off.

Pastrana kicking off the festivities.
Photo: Garth Milan

It certainly has, you’re doing this and also filming a 3-D Nitro Movie- has the success of this surprised you in any way?
No, I think every kid that grows up on a dirt bike or on a skateboard sees themselves doing well on it but what else it entails is the question. It’s really a neat process that’s happened here, we can go anywhere in the world and it works. Even Streetbike Tommy, he goes down the road in New Zealand and people yell his name.

It was kind of cool, we were ordering food the other day and I was like “The big guy over there…” and the guy was like ‘Tommy?” so that’s kind of neat. It’s awesome to travel the world with your best friends, have fun, do what we do and make a living at it.

When I talked to you before in a podcast, you said you have no regrets about your moto career, that you did it all in your way so does this post-mx life far surpass that part of your life?
I wouldn’t say that I have no regrets about the motocross stuff and this hasn’t surpassed it, it’s just different. I’m definitely happier now than I ever was when I was racing but there’s something about racing that’s in your blood. There’s nothing that compares to winning. We’re competing here but we’re all friends and we’re all cheering for each other, it’s a neat concept. As a motocrosser, I don’t want to say you’re lonely but you’re alone. You wake up in the morning and you train alone, you ride alone and for the most part, you miss your life happening right in front of you. None of us went to prom or anything like that. Forget high school graduations, we don’t need that, we got the diploma and that’s all we need to have. It’s a different mentality needed in racing, it’s what I missed my whole life growing up. I never cared to be part of the crowd, part of the group and now with this thing, the Nitro Circus, it’s filled up with people that were all like that growing up. We push each other every day to be better.

If this thing becomes a tour across America, what kind of things can people expect to see?
Man, we do it all! For us the biggest thing about the Nitro Circus is that we don’t want it to be like the Cir de Soleil or anything like that. We’re not pumped about that, every show, people come to us that are part of it and want to do something they’ve never done before. That’s what is so cool about this group; you never have to ask them to step it up or anything like that. If somebody does something, everyone gets right back behind them to try it out. It’s just next, next, next. Nitro Circus is building a whole park for these guys with foam pits and everything they want and if you’re on the tour, you have the chance to go and try things out.

We want to build this thing up to be huge and allow people to grow and do their thing. We want it to be that when the crowd sees it, they see something new from us each and every show.

You never know what is going to go off the ramp at a Nitro Circus Live event.
Photo: Garth Milan

Do you personally feel pressure because this show tonight is all built around you? Yourself, Greg and Jeremy all have your necks out there and have to be hoping this works.
Yeah but for us it’s still fun. I was fortunate enough to be able to make a living doing what I do before I cared about making a living. If that makes sense. I’ve always been able to follow my heart and do what I want to do. Same with (Greg) Godfrey, he went to film school so that he could ride dirt bikes, go around the world and try to do whatever he had to do to make a living at it. Same with Jeremy (Rawle), he’s our lawyer and he just loved to ski, ride bikes and do his thing…

Hold on, I’m still trying to wrap my mind around Jeremy being a lawyer…
Yeah! The guy with long hair, he’s a lawyer. He did triple back-flips on skis and all that. He unfortunately has to more paperwork these days than he’s ever had to do in his life but all of us, we’re all highly motivated people at what we do now. I don’t have any regrets about the way motocross went, it allowed me to get the sponsors that I have now to do this.