X Factor | Under [Saran] Wraps | Tommy Clowers


Landing 400 pounds of metal, motor and man from 30 feet up is a freestyle no-brainer. Access-orize with arctic blasts and some slippery white powder and you've got an FMX de-brainer. In a sport in which positive X-rays are trophies, the addition of snow to the Moto X Big Air competition has spooked some pros. Bad-self Kris Rourke almost turned down his X invite, still shaky from stories of Dave Barrett's '97 spleen-crushing crackup at a Mammoth video shoot. Metal Mulisha Man Ronnie Faisst did take a raincheck: "Freestyling's already gnarly enough," he says. "Why make us ump icicles?" Better question, says Clifford Adoptante, is "why not?" "I'm super-psyched," says the Flyin' Hawaiian, who finished second in pointsin the Vans Triple Crown series last year. "I'm gonna wing out my biggest tricks." Maybe even his Sterilizer, a "no-hander lander" with legs on bars. Event organizer Tes Sewell is cool with the snow too. "Mammoth had the wrong texture when Barrett made his video," says Sewell. "Our jump will be super hard pack." Read: just softer than an ice cube. To keep things from going out of control - okay, too out of control - riders will use quarter-inch tire spikes. "I'm not nervous at all," says Adoptante. "Bottom line: If you bail on snow or dirt, you're gonna hurt." yes, yes you will.

Under [Saran] Wraps

The only thing you can bet on with more confidence than FMXers claiming they don't have new tricks for a meet is FMXers debuting new tricks at that meet. "Everyone always says they'll be conservative," says Travis Pastrana, trailblazer of the Lazy Boy (feet hooked under handlebars, rider reclined on bike, hands in the air). "You don't want the next person practicing your trick." Word is, someone - maybe more than someone - will unleash the elusive backflip on Mount Snow, ice be damned. Pastrana's not owning up to that one, but he's also not playing full-time possum. "I'm working on Body Varials," says the Moto X maniac. "You know, where you let go of the bike and spin a 360 off to the side before remounting." Copycats proceed at own risk.

Tommy Clowers

Signature Move: Hart Attack Look Back

Translation: Full-extension handstand, one hand on handlebar and the other on seat, head tucked with eyes toward rear fender

When Tommy Clowers transmogrified Carey Hart's signature move - by tucking his head and looking toward the back of the bike - he wasn't going for the blow-away moment. "I only tucked my head under because I wanted to get my legs up higher," Clowers explains. Okay, but the blind handstand did stun the crowd - and the other riders - at the '00 Milestone Air MX Challenge in Perris, Calif. Tom Cat's dominance since the '00 Summer X Games has been equally stupefying: He finished Y2K as both the Vans Triple Crown points champ and the 2000 WFA world champ. Here's the Cat's - eye view on his no-look Look Back: "Right after the jump, I start to bring my leps up and grab ahold of the seat." With his other hand on the handlebar, Clowers lifts his legs up so his back faces the front wheel (a). Then, he busts the head tuck, to "help me lift straight up and stop me from over-rotating" (b). Holding the pose, he soaks in the sights: "It's weird to see upside-down people" . To right himself, Clowers pulls his left hand off the seat and swoops back down (d). Perfection? Not quite: "I gotta get helmet cam, so everyone can come with me."