21-year-old New South Welshman, Jackson Strong will be aiming to transfer his freestyle talent to a totally new discipline this week as he takes on the Winter X Games in Los Angeles – aboard a snowmobile.
Strong – who won Gold for Best Trick in FMX at the 2011 and 2012 Summer X Games – couldn’t be approaching conditions any more different to his home town of Lockhart, NSW (near Wagga Wagga), where temperatures have regularly broached 40 degrees this summer.
His learning curve is as steep as the take-off ramp in LA: ‘Jacko’ has only seen snow once before heading to America for training in late 2012 and a foam pit accident has severely hampered his time aboard the tricky machine.
“By the time the event rolls around I will probably have ridden six hours total on a snowmobile,” explained Strong. “I definitely had hoped to get some more experience on it, but it is just so physically demanding and takes a lot out of you.
“It really took some getting used to. There’s no gears (on the snowmobile) and it’s fully automatic, which means you can’t use the sound of the engine to judge your run-up or speed like I do on the dirt bike.
“There are elements of the tricks that are similar but at the same time, riding a dirt bike and snowmobile is completely different.
“I had a close call when I was practicing into the foam pit, I tried to flip and was thrown off and the sled came down perfectly on top of me and that took me out of a week of precious training time.”
He will enter preliminaries this week before the final of the Snowmobile Best Trick will be held on Sunday (January 27).
VIDEO: Jackson Strong’s training camp for the Winter X Games – includes his foam pit stack: