The vertiginous double somersault of Tom Pagès and his motorbike

With his motorcycle propelled like a rocket 170 meters above the ground from the cliff of Avoriaz, the champion Tom Pagès remained suspended for three seconds in the air, the time to send a double front somersault, hooked to his bike. A dizzying feat.

The smile of a malicious kid on his lips, Tom Pagès tells AFP the crazy story lived for almost two years for a high-flying final, immortalized in a video that has already reached 15 million views in just three days of existence on social networks (“Flight Mode” by Red Bull).

The French freestyle motocross (FMX) rider Tom Pagès, during a photo shoot, November 16, 2021 in Paris (AFP / Archives – JOEL SAGET)

“It’s there again,” said Pagès, placing a hand on his heart. “I lived an intense moment. When I tell you about it, I still live it!”

In mid-October, the multiple winner of the X Games (benchmark competition in extreme sports) set off from a ramp 15 meters long and 7 meters high, which he himself made, and installed upright. from the Avoriaz cliff. At the end, the great void.

Launched at full speed, his bike jumped fifty-five meters at the end of which Pagès made an unprecedented double front flip, before falling for two seconds. He then activated his parachute and the one installed in the seat of the motorcycle. The man and the machine, each on their own, landed safely 30 seconds later.

“It was the absolute dream to be able to do that. Perform during this jump a trick, if possible impossible to do on a normal distance, something crazier because we had more time”, explains the champion of FMX, or freestyle motorcycle.

– Higher, further –

This very spectacular but also dangerous sport requires power, dexterity and great concentration from its practitioners to perform aerial acrobatic figures with a 95 kg machine in their hands. Pagès is recognized as the master of the discipline as he dominated it by constantly making it evolve with new figures, each more incredible than the next.

“We use a motocross bike to do jumps on a ramp, a springboard and during this short term when I’m in the air, you have to do a figure, let go of your hands, your feet, upside down. place. It’s been my daily life for 15 years “, underlines the Nantes sportsman.

“Go higher, further, until the day you have to go so high that you need a parachute,” he continues.

A skydiving enthusiast for 12 years, Pagès had this “crazy” idea of ​​combining FMX and skydiving after a discussion with his friend Vince Reffet, member of the Soul Flyers duo (authors in particular of wingsuit feats), who killed in a training flight just over a year ago.

The French freestyle motocross (FMX) rider Tom Pagès, during a photo shoot, November 16, 2021 in Paris (AFP - JOEL SAGET)
The French freestyle motocross (FMX) rider Tom Pagès, during a photo shoot, November 16, 2021 in Paris (AFP – JOEL SAGET)

“We had to find the place. On a cliff, we can go far, on a bridge we can go higher because there is no need for distance,” he recalls. “We had to make a cool figure, we found Avoriaz. Doing a straight jump on this project was of no interest, we needed a projection of more than 35 meters. The cliff is not straight (in Avoriaz), it goes a bit. Thirty-five meters long, I can do freestyle, I needed a long ramp that sent me far. It was cool to imagine that “.

– “I am scared” –

Pagès has trained in jumping with the best, in parachuting (from a plane), in base-jump (free fall from a fixed point like a cliff) but also in a wind tunnel. Over 200 jumps this year.

“And at least 120 of cliffs, which is not bad. In base-jumping, it’s difficult to do several jumps a day because it’s mountain, you have to walk. I learned to walk !”

And then the well-prepared moment arrived. There were three jumps in total: a straight jump (no figure), a jump with a slightly improvised double frontflip when he was only planning to throw one.

The French freestyle motocross (FMX) rider Tom Pagès, during a photo shoot, November 16, 2021 in Paris (AFP / Archives - JOEL SAGET)
The French freestyle motocross (FMX) rider Tom Pagès, during a photo shoot, November 16, 2021 in Paris (AFP / Archives – JOEL SAGET)

“There, there was a lot of apprehension. It puts more adrenaline, more fear. This fear in sport is something that drives me. When I say + ‘I’m afraid +, it’s an excitement. , a way of saying to me: + How lucky you are to be here at that time! + “, he confides.

One night has passed. And “the next day, it’s gone nickel!”


Source: Challenges en temps réel : accueil by www.challenges.fr.

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