The Nitro Circus gang are a pretty freakin’ crazy bunch. That should come as no surprise to anyone. They literally charge down a thing called a ‘giganta-ramp’ for a living.
The crew risk their lives every day they spend out on tour, and, unsurprisingly when your show revolves around pushing the boundaries of action sports and tackling the toughest tricks in the business, it doesn’t always go to plan.
We dropped by the Nitro Circus Live show in Glasgow on 4 February 2016, and not only was it boldly apparent that it was dangerous as hell – the fire, the whip trains, the dudes charging down a 50ft ramp in a bath tub – Travis Pastrana and his merry band of maniacs were clearly quite keen to emphasise exactly that.
Before they tried many of their signature stunts, they’d show the outtakes on a big screen of what had gone wrong in the past.
Before some poor chap fired down the giganta-ramp in a sketchy barrel, we learned that this was the same barrel that had almost killed Jolene Van Vugt for example. Before paraplegic motorcyclist Bruce Cook stomped a live backflip – hell yes – we watched the accident at a previous Nitro Circus show that had caused his disability.
So, you’d think that when the opportunity arose for the audience to participate in the Nitro Circus show, most would be a little sceptical, especially given that they’d be attempting a backflip with Cam Sinclair... and all four of them would be on the same bike.
Alas, no. These are action sports fans. They rushed to the barrier to get selected by Travis, and three were selected, made to sign waivers and told literally that if they pressed any part of the bike while they were on it, they would probably die. Then they were shown some previous failures of the four-person backflip for good measure.
Anyway, after all the fun, games and fear, the incident actually ended up on a sour note, when there was a mechanical failure in the bike halfway up the ramp and all four riders tumbled off a ledge about 20ft high.
The back rider was fine, as was Cam Sinclair, but the other two found them sandwiched between the bike and the floor, with one sustaining a hip injury, one sustaining a face injury, and both being taken to hospital. Watch the footage of the incident here:
Nitro Circus have since told the BBC that these were stunt men, but the incident was of course unplanned and Glasgow health services have confirmed that both of the men were legitimately taken to hospital.
The Glasgow crowd was uneasily subdued during the event, which lead to the interval being called early, though the MC tried to calm the situation, commentating to say that both were moving their arms and legs – albeit after saying “that is the worst crash we’ve ever had" on the stunt.
The Nitro Circus tour continues on this weekend, heading to London for two shows amongst other locations.