On Saturday, BMX pro Kevin Robinson set a world record by landing the longest power-assisted bicycle backflip, using an ATV to tow into a huge ramp in downtown Providence, Rhode Island, before launching 84 feet through the air and smoothly landing the backflip:
“I’ve been wanting to do it for about four years,” the 10-time X Games medalist told GrindTV. “I’ve wanted to do something in my small little state of Rhode Island since I moved home. All of my achievements in the sport came while I lived outside of the state. And my mom and dad were such a huge part of my career, I wanted to have something they could be front and center for.”
In order to keep it local, Robinson — who has medaled in every X Games between 2003 and 2009 — constructed the world record attempt from the ground up, by himself, securing all the practice and performance permits necessary, booking the entertainment and vendors for the event and even building the ramps and tow-in set up by hand.
“Practice, for me, consisted of transporting the ramp I built up to the Highland Mountain Bike Park in New Hampshire, rolling down this sketchy path down the mountain and launching into an airbag,” Robinson told GrindTV. “It was all from the ground up. The tow-in system I used consisted of a TRX band and some duct tape attached to the back of an ATV.”
Despite the grassroots nature of his stunt, Robinson succeeded in setting the world record, overcoming a crash on an initial attempt that saw Robinson land short, knuckling on the landing ramp and getting thrown from his bike in front of the crowd gathered in the Kennedy Plaza in Providence.
“The biggest thing we practiced with the takeoff was getting the speed right, and we had it dialed in at 43 miles per hour during practice, but when I was about to perform it got really humid and a headwind came in, which slowed my flight,” Robinson told GrindTV. “So for the second attempt I backed up the entrance 15 feet and told the ATV driver to floor it.”
Robinson landed the record-setting backflip only minutes after his crash in front of ESPN cameras that were broadcasting the stunt as part of a live television segment titled “K-Rob Flips Providence.”
“In the last couple years I’ve lost five very close friends, all in their 40s,” the 44-year-old Robinson told GrindTV. “I’ve lost three this year. It’s just been a reminder to live my life like every day is my last. This stunt represents the one more day I wish they could be here.”
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