Meet The Athlete: Tom Robinson

5 years ago | Words: Grant O'Brien, Tom Robinson | Photos: UNIT, Johnny Bonnar

Tom Robinson is a young Aussie FMX rider who has clawed his way to the top of the sport with his effortless style, calm approach, and easy going personality. He’s travelled the world riding at events like Redbull X-Fighters and performed at shows in obscure countries, but the questions is, is the pain worth the gain now he’s been there and done it all? We caught up with Tom to find out more about his FMX journey, and here’s what he had to say.

NAME: Tom Robinson.
AGE: 25.
BIKE: 2016 Yamaha YZ250.
WEIGHT/HEIGHT: 70kg, 175cm.
KIDS: Two, but they’ve got four legs and have grown beards over their whole body.
MUSIC: Hardcore, metalcore. Heavier the better really.
MY CREW: Too many to name. I’ve been travelling around doing shows for a long time now so I’ve met heaps of great friends along the way.

If I didn’t ride FMX professionally, I’d probably be…
A bit happier with my bank account and a lot less sore, but you’re only young once so you have to make the most of it! When the shows get quiet, I work at my girlfriend’s Dads panel beating/painting business.

Three things people don’t know about me are…
I’m a born-again Christian. I played soccer for eight years. At age 12 I audited my parents, there were some discrepancies!

The best thing about being an FMX rider is…
Getting to do something you love and being able to express yourself through your riding.

My most memorable event/demo/trip was, and why…
The most memorable event would definitely be X Fighters, Madrid, in 2016. I was lucky enough to be chosen out of a heap of awesome riders who were also trying to make it over there. I got given a bike that had the wrong power valve shaft in it for some reason, so I missed out on 90% of practice. We finally got it running properly thanks to Alex Bucholtz and Mini Kleinfeld so I managed to put together a run that I had been picturing in my head for months. I also landed my own Body Varial to dirt for the first time in my run, so everything worked out perfect in the end.

The FMX rider I look up to most is, and why…
Probably, Adam Jones, he’s a super nice dude and all his tricks are just ridiculous.

If I was an event promoter, the first thing I’d do is…
Look outside the motocross industry for sponsors that actually have money.

Has FMX evolution stalled, or is it still progressing, explain…
In a weird kind of way, I think it’s done both. I won’t get too far into the ‘cheater ramp’ (a mechanical ramp where the top section rolls forward as the bike leaves it to help promote a forward rotation) subject but in my opinion, they don’t belong in a competition and should be just kept for shows. They make it unfair for riders like Jacko Strong who put all the effort to learn a proper Front Flip off a regular ramp and suffer because of it. So it’s a really controversial subject regardless of what your view is on it. The fact that these ramps are just being plonked on a competition course with next to no notice to the riders beforehand seems pretty crazy to me. How’s that going to create a fair competition?
It’s a very strange era of FMX at the moment that’s for sure. Tricks are getting bigger and crazier but our pay is getting lower. My outlook on the whole sport has changed a lot in the last year or so, and it’s not all that positive. I feel sorry for any young kids coming up these days with the dream of becoming a professional FMX rider. It’s not as simple as it used to be when all you needed was a half decent bike, a good jump to practice on and some determination. These days its foam pits, airbags, however many different ramps there is now, and whether or not you can even get your hands on the plans to make one. Maybe that’s why there’s next to no kids pushing anymore and I can’t blame them. How are they meant to afford all this stuff? At the end of the day though, things change whether you like it or not. I still love riding more than ever and that’s never going to change.

My worst accident was…
Breaking both legs at the same time in 2013.

My favourite trick is…
A Whip Flip.

A funny story about one of my freestyle mates is…
One memory that still makes me laugh is when I did some shows in Mongolia with Joel Brown about four years ago. He got gastro pretty much as soon as we got there and the poor guy couldn’t eat for about two days. He finally started coming good so I went for a walk to try and find him some half decent food and I managed to find a pizza shop about 10km away from our motel. I finally get back to his room and by this stage he’s starving. He opened up the box and there was a dirty big black hair laid on his pizza, haha. The look on his face still cracks me up.

I’m obsessed about…
Old cars and Harley Davidsons.

Don’t even start me talking about…
Conspiracy theories; nothing is as it seems!

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