On Facebook, posted under a rainbow-arch-like picture of Robert Haslam doing a back-flip on his motorcycle is the following quote - "Make sure to remember why you chose to do something in the first place no matter where you are today."
Haslam makes incredibly tough and risky freestyle tricks appear like air-ballet
It's fair to assume that's the mantra he chants while flying two-wheel airlines, because absolutely nothing good happens if you lose focus, or interest, in mid-air on a motorcycle. Haslam is a FMX freestyle competitor. To recap, freestyle came about because some motocross racers didn't feel what they were doing was sufficiently extreme, so they built ramps to launch themselves three or four stories, or more into the air. And then, once free of earthly restrictions, the full-goose-bozo zaniness really gets started.
In an utterly counter-intuitive reaction to being 40 feet in the air on a motorcycle, riders such as Haslam, perform motorcycle air ballet, carrying out stunts like "Superman." That's a trick where only the hands remain on the grips and the riders body flails in the air parallel with seat. When that trick stopped being sick enough it evolved into the Superman seat grab with Indian leg whip. Don't even ask - you need to see it to believe it. Freestyle competition is a judged sport and over the past decade the amount of fans coming out to "see it" continues to multiply exponentially each season. And Haslam is one of the riders fans come out to watch in droves.
The Redmond, Oregon native started riding wee-bitty motorcycles when he was only 4-years-old. "That's when I got a Yamaha PW50 for Christmas," he says. What began as a weekend hobby transitioned into a career when he rode his first professional FMX demo in 2009. After that he teamed up with the Metal Mulisha's, Justin Homan, and he has been staging FMX demonstrations all over the Pacific North West (PNW) ever since.
Performing in Eugene, Oregon early this year
Back in June Haslam kicked-off his FMX summer with a show in Prosser, Washington for the Desert Valley Powersports 20th Anniversary. Haslam said at the time, "This show holds extra meaning for me as it was the first legitimate show I ever rode back in 2009, and that was more or less a tryout to see how I'd do. I'm stoked for the Desert Valley crew to see how I've progressed since then, and even more pumped to get back into the swing of things."
We spoke with Haslam this week and his comments were, "The Desert Valley Demo was awesome! That show in particular meant a lot to be a part of because it was the first professional demo I ever rode, and where I first got to ride with Justin Homan and his MX13 team."
Haslam explains that 2012 got off to a rocky start when his season was interrupted at the end of January at a show in Bakersfield. "I had a mishap that sent me into the stands at the event which resulted in a broken fibula and a few months off the bike. It took some time to get reacquainted with my bike and with moving forward."
"We had a very busy summer that just got wrapped up here in the PNW. We were booked nearly every weekend for three months with demos all over the area. Tilly's had a grand opening in Tacoma, Washington that was probably one of the best events of the year despite Mother Nature's efforts to put a damper on it."
This is how flying over your motorcycle looks to Haslam
After upping his bag of tricks each season so far, Haslam is understandably not as satisfied with his progress this season. "I had bigger expectations for myself this year as far as my progression, but sometimes things happen out of your control, and that's what happened with my misfortune in January. I've been working hard to get as comfortable as I can with flips and have a few basic flip tricks under my belt that I've been working on."
"Riding with Homan has really helped me to not ride over my head, or push it when not necessary. To take a new trick to a show, or event, you have to have it wired at home. At home there are very few variables that differ, that you have to worry about, whereas at a show you are dropped into a new environment where conditions are usually less than ideal."
At the moment Haslam says he's "enjoying little break from all the traveling and time spent constantly on the go. I plan to ride more moto(cross) than FMX this winter to brush up on my all around riding skills, so I'm ready for the season to start once again in the spring."
"For 2013 you can expect more of the same from Homan and me up here. My schedule for next year should look similar to 2012, with lots more thrown into the mix for different events here in the PNW. Be sure to check out myself and MX13 team out on the road this coming year. We're coming to a town near you!"
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