Harry Bink is always ready to send it. The Canberra, Australia, native is only 22 years old, but his FMX career milestones read like that of a veteran. He put the world on notice when he sent the biggest rock solid backflip ever; he remains one of very few riders capable of performing that trick. He’s one of only a handful of riders who has landed a double backflip. At the 2017 Nitro World Games, he took another step forward when he landed a World First rock solid frontflip, described by Travis Pastrana as FMX’s best-ever trick. It catapulted him to the top of the podium for the FMX Best Trick event and cemented his status as a rider to watch for pushing progression.
“I decided I wanted to do FMX when I was 17, and built a ramp and never looked back,” Harry says, explaining how such a young athlete has moved so far so fast in his career. And it takes a special kind of rider to spearhead progression while at the same time performing every weekend on tour. “This whole year we have been touring the world with the Nitro Circus Crew,” he says. “We started our first tour in January. It’s now almost the end of August, and we have been to New Zealand, Japan, Australia, Canada, and now all of America.” It’s an epic run of shows, considering Harry didn’t start the year at 100 percent. “I was battling a bad shoulder injury, and three different shoulder specialists told me that I was up for a shoulder reconstruction. But I refused and went on with my year,” he says.
Despite being on tour, Harry was determined to head into competition season with something new up his sleeve. “During the Australia tour, I had to fly back and forth to the foam pit at the Nitro Circus compound to try and come up with a new trick for Nitro World Games. I tried a heap of different ones, but my biggest and baddest trick was the rock solid frontflip,” he says. “It took me at least 50 to 60 attempts into the foam pit. There were definitely stages where I thought I was never going to be able to pull it off.” The rock solid backflip is hard enough. As we said, very few athletes have ever done it, and Harry is one of only a couple who do it consistently. Even still, it’s not a guaranteed stick by any stretch.
It’s well documented that a frontflip is much more difficult than a backflip. So obviously the rock solid frontflip is a much different beast than the backflip combo. The only real similarity is the rider lets go of the bike at some point during the trick. “When you take off the ramp, you have to throw your weight over the front of the bike as hard as you can to get the bike spinning good,” Harry explains. “You go to the superman seatgrab with both hands as relaxed as possible — to make sure you don’t miss it — then pull yourself into the bike. Then you let go with both hands (performing the rock solid). Then the hardest part: grabbing the seat back and the superman seat grab again, pulling yourself back onto the bike while making sure you’re getting the seat directly under your bum.” And during all that, he must resist the force of final rotation to avoid being thrown over the handlebars while transitioning his hands from the seat back to the handlebars.
During all this training, Harry continued to tour with Nitro. The first leg of the 2017 North America tour spanned the four weeks before the NWG. “To roll straight into it with a vision of winning, I had a lot of mixed feelings,” Harry says. “I was so scared, I couldn’t sleep at night, eat food during the day, and I was battling injuries. At the same time, I loved every bit of it!”
Competition day arrived, and when it was time for FMX Best Trick, Harry’s fears manifested in the worst way: He crashed on his first run. “I was devastated. I thought I missed out on the opportunity of my childhood dream,” he says. “Once I figured out I didn’t break any bones, the first thing I did was run back to my bike and give it another crack!” If you’ve made it to this point in the story, you already know how that second attempt went. “To pull it off and then win? Wow, I still am lost for words,” Harry says. “And man, I hope I never have to do that trick again.”
Even if he never attempts the rock solid frontflip again, his arsenal still includes some of the most difficult and dangerous tricks in FMX. And life on the road is tough too. “It’s extremely hard,” Harry says. “Most people go home to relax. We go to airports to ‘relax.’ Then, soon as you get one little injury, it snowballs and gets worse.” FMX at this level takes an incredible toll on the body, even for well-executed tricks. Harry lists a few of his ailments: “A really common FMX injury is to break legs or ankles. I have broken both my legs a few times. I am up for reconstructive surgery on my shoulder. I tore a muscle off my hip a month before Nitro World Games, which kept me off the bike for three weeks. I pulled my groin muscle not long ago. I currently have a broken big toe.”
Harry takes his cues from his FMX heroes on tour, veterans like Travis and Blake “Bilko” Williams who have managed to stay in the game longer than most by being as smart and careful as possible even while they’re pushing progression and having a great time. Harry’s philosophy? “You just gotta send it! Be awesome. Be fun and good to work with. But you also need to be very smart, because one bad crash will end your career,” he says. Luckily, Harry is as smart as he is naturally skilled, and we can’t wait to see what this future FMX hall-of-famer has in store as he continues to push the sport into the next generation.