Two days before FMX superstar Josh Sheehan was due in a Sydney hospital where green robed surgeons would delve into the depths of his shoulder, pull a few bits out, re-align some other bits and paste a few extra bits back in (which would mean up to 6 months off the bike); He could be found somewhere in the stratosphere, hovering over his childhood property in Donnybrook Western Australia, Performing his iconic Ruler Flip, or Rock Solid, or Lazy Boy Flip… or any number of ‘bulls#*t’ inverted FMX manoeuvres.
In between throwing himself and his Carlton Dry clad Honda CRF450 well into the golden sunset of southern WA, he could also be found projecting massive rooster tails behind him as he exploded from each corner of his personal MX sand-track.
“I’m lucky to have grown up on a property where I was able to put in my own sand track, but also build my own FMX compound in the clay earth amongst dad’s orchards. When I first tried backflips I practiced on a sandy step-up I built out back so if I crashed I’d only fall a few metres” Sheeny professes.
Following Sheeny’s dominating performance and win over Dany Torres of Spain & Levi Sherwood of NZ at Red Bull X-Fighters in Sydney, I mentioned to Red Bull how it might be cool to catch up with Sheeny to shoot some photos outside of competition. Then all of a sudden I got the call at the last-minute, “Can you go to Western Australia next week?” Sheeny’s surgery meant he would be off the bike for the first half of 2012 and so if we wanted to shoot anything other than him sitting on a sofa with his arm in a sling, then we had to do it immediately.
And so a few days later I found myself eating a roast dinner with the awesome Sheehan family who offered up some incredible country hospitality to accommodate me for the shoot.
As it happened Sheeny’s chaotic schedule, my back-to-back projects and mother nature all managed to align to offer up a sole afternoon and one morning of good weather before it clouded over and I had to hammer it back up the highway to Perth to catch a red-eye flight back to Sydney where I was due to shoot the entire next day.
There’s no question Sheeny is on the up-&-up. He’s obviously got balls of solid steel, but he is also meticulous with his training and ability to perform at the top of his game.
Whilst there is often the cliché of tattoo adorned, rebellious heavy drinkers and partiers amongst the FMX crew, Sheeny goes to show that both inside and outside of the competition scene, the sport of Freestyle Moto Cross is an incredible art and takes huge dedication and drive to succeed. For the time being he appears content with his lot… being at the top of his game and following his dream.