Nitro Circus Toronto

By Billy Rainford


When I saw the schedule announcing that Travis Pastrana and the rest of the crazy Nitro Circus crew that includes Canadian Jolene Van Vugt were coming to Toronto this year, I guess I just had to see it…again.

Yes, we’ve all seen people backflip a motorcycle now, and yes, a lot of these things don’t always jive with the purist motocross gang, but it has two wheels and knobbies so we were there.

Not being a huge baseball fan, I was a little disappointed to see that the Toronto Blue Jays had just won two games in a row against the Texas Rangers meaning the deciding game 5 would be at Rogers Stadium, right next to the Air Canada Centre where Nitro was to take place. No biggie, surely the baseball game starts around 7:30 meaning we’d be there well before the crowds, right? Wrong. Who puts such a meaningful game at 4pm??? Seriously, it just doesn’t make sense to me.

Yep, it meant we were all trying to get into that little section of Toronto at the same time. Throw in the Toronto FC game and it was the perfect storm of lifted truck, flat-billed hats, chewing tobacco, and Umbro products. It sucked.

We got there early enough to take a little walk around downtown TO for a little late-afternoon shopping. We got to see Fergie at the Hudson’s Bay (whoopie!) and then headed off to take in some dinner at the restaurant that has hosted our last two Toronto Supercross after-parties. Hmm, why are there no lights on? Why is there a small white sign on the front door. Yes, the Houston Avenue Bar and Grill has been shut down. The sign was upside-down and I didn’t have the interest in trying to read it so it could just be a temporary situation, I don’t know. Either way, it left us looking for a meal at a very busy time.

We ended up at a place called iQ where most of the ingredients were Ontario-grown. Nice, we saved the world just a little bit and it felt…OK.

Off we went to the ACC for the Nitro Circus. I’d been to the last one at Copp’s Coliseum in Hamilton, so I pretty much knew what to expect. Emily, on the other hand, is pretty green to all this nonsense so I knew she was in for something…different from her norm.

We met up with Ryan Gauld from Guaranteed MX and Jeff Morgan from MX and Off-Road Magazine and were led to our 3rd and 4th row seats for the show. My favourite thing to do (after watching races) is people watch. There’s always someone doing something interesting, if you take the time to look around you.

Jeff looked over and told us that the woman seated next to him had 48, 178 unread emails on her phone! Seriously, I took a peek after he told us. And I think it’s become a pretty well-known fact that I have developed a rather powerful distaste for this most ridiculous hair fashion some men have been sporting: the Man Bun. Seriously, though, it’s not even really a ‘bun’ so much as a ‘hair apostrophe.’ Can we start calling it that?


Would you believe it? There was a hair hat / man bun seated within slapping distance last night!


Should we have stayed in Toronto a couple extra nights?


Uh oh…


Currently found in the ‘Small things amuse small minds’ category…


See what I’m saying?


I think this English-born, Australian raised guy does a great job as ringleader for Nitro Circus.


Travis gets lowered down to the ground to end opening ceremonies. Ya, right! Of course, he falls off this thing backwards onto a big jump pad.


One of the biggest tasks of the night appeared to be deflating and folding this crash pad after Travis’ 1-second fall.


Early in the proceedings, the get 4 volunteers from the audience to risk their lives later in the show. I can’t believe they didn’t pick this guy!

It’s at this point of the night when all hell basically breaks loose and the crowd is treated to non-stop action right in front of them that doesn’t relent until they take a break at a sort of half-time.


They actually backflipped 1 bike with 4 people on it. Well, sort of…


They said this guy was out of the audience, but this backflip seemed to go way too smoothly for me to buy into that premise. But what do I know?


They love to get the crowd screaming for Canada and booing the Americans! The injured Jolene waved the flag for team Canada and they took the win over the US team in an all-out jump-off.


I can’t believe they now head to Ottawa and do jumps like this almost nightly!


Upside-down sled in the ACC? Yep.


Then the crew made some room for what was the highlight of the night for most in attendance.


Bruce Cook waited just off the floor getting set to do a backflip!


Billy Van Vugt set up this modified bike for Bruce to get his revenge on the double backflip that took the use of his legs from him in Hamilton.


He did it almost perfectly and the crowd went absolutely bananas for the BC rider. It was a really cool moment.


This brother and sister team did some amazing things two-up on the bike.


See what I’m saying?


He rolled down the Gigantor ramp on roller blades ‘pushing’ a wheel barrow then let go and landed. Why not?


What about a barrel, you ask? This is the barrel that took Jolene out of action being shot from a slingshot.


The ever popular recliner jump.


Lots of them were wearing Erik Roner T-shirts in support of their fallen brother.


“I’m gonna jump this little toy hobby horse!” Of course you are.


The jumps Jarryd McNeil does are some of my all-time favourites.


Travis Pastrana’s better half, Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins Pastrana and their little nugget.


When you hear the train horn, it’s time to pay attention to the blurry action. Was it blurry for everyone, or just my camera?


Figured I should toss in a shot of Travis, himself, mid-flight.


And that pretty much did it for another Nitro Circus.


It’s pretty much 3 hours of non-stop shenanigans! Be sure to check it out when they come to a city near you.


And with that, we all headed for the exits and the bumper to bumper traffic trying to get onto the Gardiner ‘Expressway.’ See you net time, Billy VV.