I had the opportunity of talking with motorsports icon Travis Pastrana, just before his Nitro World Games in Salt Lake City Utah. His accomplishments consistently push the limits of sanity, he has achieved more at his young age then most people will in a life time and I was eager to find out more about this motorsports legend!
TM: Travis, I want to congratulate you on the success of Nitro Circus and the upcoming Nitro World Games. Did you ever think it would reach the point that it has?
TP: It’s pretty wild because Nitro Circus has always been my hobby. I never expected it to be nearly this big. Looking back on it now, the fact that we started as a group of friends just having fun and doing what we love is probably why so many people want to be a part of it. Being able to travel the world with so many of my family / best friends / funniest personalities / toughest human beings / most elite action sports athletes is an absolute dream come true.
Nitro Circus started as a DVD if I am correct, what made you decide to take it on the road, and then into a competition?
I had one of the only motorcycle foam pits and had a pretty bad injury just as the back flip started to be done in motorcycle competition. Everyone was coming over to my house and since I was hurt, I asked Gregg Godfrey (a film producer friend) to send me a camera. Gregg sent me a Sony 2000 and Final Cut Pro 3. I never filmed or edited anything in my life but I was a huge action sports music video enthusiast so I knew what I wanted to see and how I wanted it to look. Nothing was in focus. The white balance was never set and the editing was juvenile.. But the content was AMAZING so Nitro Circus developed a following fast.
It caught the eye of Johnny Knoxville and he got us on TV. That caught the eye of a live event promoter Mike Porra and he took us around the world. Now with seven years of live touring experience behind us, we know how to entertain the masses. We know how to put on an awesome show. We have the biggest and most cutting edge ramps as well as the most progressive safety technology in our landings. We knew Nitro Circus was in a great spot to help push action sports forward but before we could commit to doing a top caliber event, we needed to have a solid TV partner. The final piece to the puzzle was NBC. Once we signed with them, we got to work on Nitro World Games!
You guys just came out with Action Figures recently. Do you still plan to create more DVD’s in the future?
Action figures was a lot of fun for me personally. this gave me a chance to push the envelope with some ramps and an excuse for me and my friends to get back to the core of why we do action sports. Passion and innovation. Plus, I enjoy editing a lot and hadn’t had the chance recently because Nitro Circus has so many amazing editors that are all better then I am!
How do you do it all? Do you ever feel overwhelmed being a part of so many things?
It’s not overwhelming because I really enjoy what I do. The only part of my “job” that is hard for me is when I do press tours outside the country. I usually stop at 5 or 6 countries a week and do everything from morning radio shows to late night TV. You only really sleep when your on planes or in taxis. Sometimes I drag one of my friends along with me because misery loves company!
Let’s take a step back to your youth. How did you get into extreme and action sports?
I was an only child but have a lot of uncles and cousins. They are all amazing athletes and beat me up a lot! I was always trying to win at something but the only things I could do better involved taking risks they weren’t willing to take. I excelled at jumping from the highest places and racing things with motors.
What do you do to get away from all the hustle and bustle and take a break to clear your mind?
Riding my motorcycle is my “freedom”. Go as fast as you want. Jump as high as you want and ride until you are too exhausted to think of anything else. But if I’m not in a place where I can ride, road bicycling is a close second. Not so much the speed of it, but the fact that you can get away from your phone or computer or random life chatter and just ride. I enjoy that too.
Of all the competitions that you have been in over your life (FMX, Rally Racing, Supercross, NASCAR) what memories have stuck out the most to you?
I’ve been fortunate enough to reach a lot of my goals in life and what I realized at an early age is that it’s not the destination that you remember most, it’s the journey to get there.
You have achieved so much in your life so far. If you could think of three things you are most proud of, what would they be?
Representing the USA and winning the Motocross Des Nations at 16 years old. (2) Figuring out a way to travel the world and continue to live with passion and fun with my family through Nitro Circus. (3) Getting to race my hero Colin McRae and winning the X Games in the first year they had rally.
Before you compete or perform on tour, how do you prepare yourself mentally or has it been a part of your life for so long that you no longer need to get in the zone?
The day you don’t “need” to get ready for a show or event is the day you should stop. The danger is what makes our sports so exciting but no matter how many times we do something, it’s imperative that we never take it for granted. That’s when you get hurt.
With all the traveling you have done, where are some of your favorite places to visit?
Home is my favorite place to visit! But a close second is Rotorua, New Zealand. Other awesome places I enjoy are the Gold Coast in Australia, Nitro City in Panama, Jaco Costa Rica and pretty much anywhere I can ride dirt bikes with my friends.
Food Faves. Mexican, Italian or a good old fashioned cheeseburger?
Our Torqued Mag audience is primarily interested in the automotive industry, really anything with wheels! What are some of your favorite rides?
Polaris RZR 1000, Subaru STI rally cross (GRC) spec car, Suzuki RM 250 (2-Stroke for life!)
Do you have any regrets?
Hind sight is 20/20 but for the most part I have always gone for it. I would much rather live with injuries and failure then live not knowing if it would have worked out.
Who inspires you?
Doug Henry, Matt Hoffman, Bruce Cook are at the top of my list. With Nitro I seem to keep finding more and more people who inspire me every day. Passionate and confident people who know where they want to go, work hard to get it, and do it with a smile.
What words of advice would you have for someone who looks to follow in your footsteps?
Sounds cliché but if you are passionate and willing to work hard enough for long enough, you will find a way to make it happen. Never forget to have fun along the way.
Travis, It has been great talking with you and again I appreciate your time. Best of luck in the upcoming Nitro World Games! I’m excited to check it out! and for those interested in finding out more on Nitro Circus events and schedules, make sure to check out their link at Nitro Circus.