Words/Photos: Casey Davis @air_d617
Since taking third place in the FMX Best Trick competition two weeks ago at the 2017 Nitro World Games in Salt Lake City, UT, Pat Bowden hasn’t let off the gas. The Gold Coast native has remained here in the US since the event and he’s currently living out a few of his childhood dreams by riding at locations he’s only seen on TV. We caught up with Bowden at Pala Raceway’s FMX course to talk about NWG, his all while setup and his plans for the rest of the year.
No days off is what it looks like for you. We’ve seen you at a few local FMX spots here in Southern California since the 2017 Nitro World Games. It’s good to see you’re still here in the US, so talk about NWG and what you’ve been up to since then?
Yeah, NWG was great! I actually didn’t even intend on doing the trick that I did in best trick. Initially I had planned on doing either a Double-Grab front flip or a Rock Solid front flip. My intentions were to stick with tricks that I knew I could do big extensions with. It’s basically the same approach I took last year because I knew I would stand out with a big, clean trick. Prior to the contest when I was at Travis’s house, I saw at least four different guys doing front flip combo tricks, and after watching them do it I realized that a front flip combo just doesn’t look that outstanding. Don’t get me wrong, any front flip trick is super gnarly and technical, but since the competition was almost like big air contest I felt that I needed to do something massive! There was word of Harry Bink doing a Rock Solid front flip, so after wasting a week of practicing front flip tricks I finally took a different approach. I started sending it off of the big double-flip ramp that Josh Sheehan used last year, and I really thought this was the right opportunity to do something big. I focused on that for roughly a week because I had a couple of different things in mind, and when we got to the event I was super anxious to try it into the airbag. I got it dialed in practice and then stuck it in the competition! The trick was a like a Double-Grab/Hart/Rock Solid backflip and it landed me in third place, which I’m pretty happy about. There were a few other guys in the competition that risked a lot more than I did with their tricks because I pretty much went into the finals knowing that I was going to land that trick, even though I had a pretty scary crash before the day of the contest. Since then, though, I’ve been out here in California riding with all of locals. To be riding here in So.Cal with all the boys has been on my to-do list for a very long time, so I’m having a good time. I am staying with Vicki Golden, and we’ve been able to ride at all the spots that I’ve seen on TV when I was a kid, so I’m living the dream, right now.
Have you thought about moving here to the US?
Yeah, It would be great. I’m still based on the Gold Coast in Australia, and I spend most of my time overseas in Germany, Spain and there’s a heap of shows in China. It feels like I’m never home sometimes; you can ask my girlfriend. It gets tough at times but I really can’t complain because I’m making a living riding my dirt bike.
Would you say that traveling is one of the tougher aspects of your career?
Yeah, absolutely. To give you an example, my compound back home includes a foam pit that I’ve been working on for more than three years now, and I still haven’t put foam in it. It’s not from a lack of trying, either. I haven’t actually sat down to do the math on exactly how long I’m away from home because it’s probably something that I don’t want to hear. If I were to guess for the past 12 months, though, I’d probably say I’ve only been home for a total of two or three months. Sometimes I find myself complaining, but I’ve worked my whole life to be in the position that I’m in right now, so I really don’t have any room to complain. I’m 100% living my dream, however, not everything is all that it seems. I’m sure our lives look cool on Instagram being that we travel the world and ride at really cool places, but it does get tough at times.
As of now, do you have plans to head home to Australia in the near future?
No, not really. I never purchased a return flight, so I am pretty much just winging it and taking it all day by day. I have a few things coming up, so it only made sense for me to stay here in the US.
You probably had the most eye-catching setup at NWG with your all white kit. Did you go with all white everything for a reason?
Yeah, I went with the all white/blank canvas approach at NWG for a reason. I was producing a video revolving around the whole journey to NWG to inspire people to follow their dreams. I was going to incorporate a bunch of cool stuff into the video with the finale being my final trick at NWG. I had the idea to show potential sponsors that this was something that they could come on board with to gain a different kind of exposure. It didn’t exactly come together as I had planned because it’s pretty hard to do it all myself, while having to focus on riding, traveling and everything else that comes with this career. My primary focus was obviously the competition, so everything else had to come second, and that included my plan of marketing myself. I wasn’t able to secure any sponsors prior to the event, so that was another reasoning behind the all white gear setup. I think that kind of made a statement in itself, though, because it really made me stand out. Yeah, I’d love to have some sponsors, but I am happy with the all-white gear.
The only thing on your bike that’s not white is the phrase “Send It.” Talk about that…
I was just going to run blank plastics with no graphics on them at all, but then I thought it might scuff up while I was riding, so I designed some graphics. I’m a graphic designer, as well, and once I put the kit together I thought it still looked a little plane. I figured since I was going to be sending it at the event, I might as well put that on the shrouds (laughs). There’s literally no meaning behind it (laughs) I just thought it was cool.