No limits to Mark Monea's Carry-On
Formerly a bike mechanic by trade, Mark Monea exploded onto the FMX scene last March when he successfully landed the first 360 frontflip on a motocross bike. The trick was landed at 2010 X Games Best Trick gold medalist Cam Sinclair's FMX park just outside Melbourne, Australia, and was thrown off a metal kicker ramp set at 51 feet. Monea, who used to wrench for Sinclair, was instantly given the invitation to compete at last year's X Games in Los Angeles, where he came out swinging with a "No-Handed Carry-On." Monea never landed that Carry-On and was not able to take his second jump because of an injury but the event served as much-needed experience.
A year later and with a handful of Carry-Ons landed to dirt, Monea is feeling much more relaxed and confident coming back to X Games L.A. and finish what he started. ESPN.com caught up with Monea shortly after he arrived back in the United States to discuss how he is feeling going into next week …
ESPN.com: Mark Monea, welcome back to America. How does it feel to be back?
Monea: Hey man, I got back to America about a week ago. So far everything has been going so good. I picked up a brand new Kawasaki and got that all set up. Now it is just time to practice and focus on X. So I couldn't be happier right now.
You've been staying busy this spring with Nitro Circus Live, how did that tour go for you?
Yeah, we just finished the Nitro Circus Live tour right before before I flew here. My time on tour has had its ups and downs … just like any tour, but mostly ups. If anything, it's really fun, I always love spending time with the Nitro Circus crew.
That tour picks back up after X right?
Yup, I do X next week and then I have a little break before the next leg of the Nitro Circus Live tour. We pick back up and hit Europe in November and December.
Do you think being on a tour like that and having to land your trick night after night helps you more so than just chilling at home in the foam pit?
Yeah, I think it does help a lot. When it's go time, it's go time! Not like when you're at home just practicing and you are allowed to have "off days." Every time I ride, it is like a rehearsal for X. I've learned so much about the Carry-On on this last tour and cannot wait to thrown down in L.A. next Friday.
We are about a week away from X Games, how you feeling going into this year's Best Trick?
I'm feeling really good. Having been there last year and getting that experience under my belt, I feel much more relaxed this year compared to last year.
Last year, you came out swinging throwing a No-Handed Carry-On. Is that the plan again or are you going to stick with the straight Carry-On that won you the Monster Energy Cup?
You know … I haven't really decided just yet. I guess we will have to wait and see when I am on top of that roll in next Friday.
Having stomped the trick at the Monster Energy Cup, do you feel you are a proven favorite coming into this year's competition?
Nah … I don't think I'm the favorite. I know the other guys are coming in with some big tricks so I just have to go there and worry about my program. I'll stomp my trick and the rest can play itself out.
Do you pay much attention to what tricks your competitors plan to bring to L.A.?
Not really, you can't. Best Trick is all focus and confidence. I'm just going there to do what I know how to do.
You are on Kawasakis now, how does the new bike feel and why the switch?
Yeah, I made the switch and I love the Kawasakis. And I could not be happier! The change was simple, I had an offer from Powersports Kawasaki that I could not refuse!
Besides the bike switch, are there any other changes to your program?
Nah, not really any other changes to my program. But I would like to thank Fox Racing, Monster Energy and Pro Circuit. This trip would be a lot harder without the efforts of those guys! And I've got to thank Nine Two decals, Rockford Fosgate, Powersports Kawasaki for being there and always making my life easier.