Kiwi motocross star Levi Sherwood has spent the New Zealand summer putting the behind-the-scenes work into developing some new tricks that he will unveil in the coming months.

The 26-year-old from Palmerston North shot to stardom with his exploits in the Red Bull X-Fighters, Nitro Circus and X Games and became the first person to land a double backflip last year.

Since then, Sherwood has gone through the arduous planning and development work that goes into a new trick.

"I have got a few [tricks] in mind but I'm not sure where I will end up at the end of a few months' practice, but we will see what happens," Sherwood told the Herald.


"That's what this summer has been all about — trying to get everything ready so I can go out and learn them.

"It kind of starts with the idea. I run it through my head and try to visualise it and try and learn it that way, but that might be months or years, depending on the trick.

"Then you head up to the foam pit and you ride the foam pit and you get a fairly good idea of the trick in there. Once you've ridden the foam pit, you move to an air bag, which is on the landing. The final step is to do it on the dirt landing."

The foam pit is exactly what it sounds like — a pit made out of foam to protect riders as they try to hone their ideas and turn them into reality.

Despite the safety measures, there is always risk.

"The foam pit is relatively safe," Sherwood said. "A lot of people will get hurt in it because they don't respect it. They will treat it as if they're invincible.

"The air bag is a lot better than dirt but it is definitely no foam pit. You can get away with a lot of stuff and crash but you can still get concussions pretty easily and twist ankles and stuff. You can still do a lot of damage on it.

"Once you're ready to go from the foam pit to dirt, that is the middle ground, where it's the safe buffer."


Freestyle motocross is like any sport in that advancements are always occurring but at a slower rate than they have been. Sprinters are always posting faster times in the 100m but the rate at which the mark is lowered is reducing all the time.

Sherwood admits that has been an issue with his sport. "A few years ago, I thought we were peaking out, but then I changed my mindset and realised we have so much more to do," he said.

"Our ability has reached the maximum potential for our bikes and our ramps. I have been working towards developing the bikes and ramps to move forward.

"Where I'm at now, it has really opened things up a lot more.

"If you compare a racing BMX and a skate park BMX — it's like giving the racing BMX to the skate park guys with a quick run through.

"That's where we are at — we're riding dirt bikes designed to race rather than jump and spin, so that's what I've been working on.

"Once that catches on, we'll see the sport progress again a lot faster."

Sherwood will be in action at the MotoFest event at Hampton Downs next weekend before heading back to the United States in May.