For Travis Pastrana, it’s about doing stuff no one else dares to do. Beyond that, it’s about taking the risks some don’t even have the brain space to think up. Multiple back-flips on motorcycles, rally cars soaring through the air, you name it, one of the godfathers of action motor sports has thought of it. And he’s incorporated it all in the annual Nitro World Games, where the world’s most daredevil motorcyclists, rally car drivers and more convene each year to be named the best.
This August, they’ll return to Utah where the Nitro World Games return, too. The event is scheduled to be held August 16-17 at the Utah Motorsports Campus in Erda. The announcement, made official Wednesday, returns more action sports to the Utah sports realm. For Pastrana, the onetime X Games gold medalist, adding to the World Games is about returning the sport to its roots.
“Action sports is not gymnastics,” he said inside Vivint Smart Home Arena on Wednesday morning. “It’s not point your toes and see who can do it more perfect. And that’s kind of where it was going, honestly. It’s about how big you can go. Forget about how well you’re landing or how smooth it is. Just absolutely throw the rulebook out and do the wildest, craziest, most action-packed thing you can do.”
Among the disciplines are Nitro Rallycross, Moto quarterpipe (in which riders fly as high as 70 feet) and FMX best trick. The best trick event launches riders 60 feet in the air, giving them time to execute their jaw-dropping tricks before returning to the ground.
“For me, it’s passion,” Pastrana said. “It’s what do you want to do and what do you think? When I’m really excited about something and the drivers and riders are really excited about something, it means we can push the envelope.”
Jeff Robbins, president of the Utah Sports Commission, said welcoming the Nitro World Games back to the state only helps expand its footprint in the action sports world. Over the years, Utah has hosted Dew Tour events and the Red Bull Rampage and will host the Vans Park Series world skateboarding championships at the Utah State Fairpark in September.
“The world of sports has changed and you see certain demographics that are aging,” Robbins said. “I think there’s a belief that younger demographics may not be gravitating to the traditional sports. I believe that’s true. We’ve always wanted to position Utah in a unique way.”