Raised on an apple farm in the Western Australian town of Donnybrook, Josh Sheehan got his first bike to play around at the young age of 14. By the time he was 16, he was totally hooked on riding and progressed from C-grade to A-grade motocross in one season! A year later, he began to ride more FMX with his mates and in early 2007 the West Oz native entered his first FMX competition. Despite crashing out, Josh knew he had the skills for bigger and better things. Finally healed up and with a few new tricks in his bag, he entered the Narrogin Revheads the same year and finished third.
The proof that the 26-year-old had FMX talent came when Sheehan won the AFMX round during the Brisbane Super X in 2008, beating the likes of Kain Saul, Cam Sinclair, and Levi Sherwood. He blew the competition and the crowd away during his run with the biggest Ruler Flip ever seen.
After his huge win, 'Sheeny' was chosen to join the Crusty Tour in New Zealand, but an injury suffered as a result of a workplace accident forced him out. Unknown to the international FMX scene, Sheehan set a further benchmark in his young career when he became the first rider in the world to Ruler Flip a 450cc four-stroke dirt bike.
Sheehan is one of the freshest and biggest talents to emerge from Australia and was all fired-up when he made his long-awaited international debut at the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour finale in Rome in 2010, finishing eighth. After a few impressive victories on the Night of the Jumps series, Josh came into the 2011 Rome stop with a wildcard spot and was able to grab his first Red Bull X-Fighters podium. His third place in Stadio Olympico assured Sheehan a place in the most prestigious FMX event at Red Bull X-Fighters Madrid and there he grabbed another third place, earning the chance to perform on home-soil at the tour finale in Sydney. Sheeny didn't disappoint his fans, executing Double Backflips in every round and taking a well-deserved victory to rise to an overall fourth place on the tour, guaranteeing him a start for the 2012 season.
The 2012 season began well in Dubai for Sheeny. The Honda rider just missed the podium, ending up in fourth place. Back home working on new tricks for the next event, Josh hurt himself and was unable to ride for the most of the remainder of the season. In September, the Double-Flipper used two events of the Night of the Jumps Championships to ride back into contest form for the upcoming event in Sydney.
Sheehan was unable to repeat the victory he had there the year before, but his third place was impressive enough, especially considering the extraordinary performance of his rivals and that he'd only just got back on his motorcycle after injury.
Following a lacklustre year of results in 2013, the 2014 season was a breakthrough for the Aussie ripper. Before the contest season really took off, the Honda rider already had more than 50 Nitro Circus events under his belt. With his routine dialled-in and on-point, Sheeny was finally able to transform his skill into victories. After a strong second place in Mexico, Josh was unable to compete in Osaka but came back stronger than ever in Spain. The final between he and Tom Pagès in Madrid was one of the best in the history of the sport, with Tom taking the win. Both rivals took their top form from Las Ventas to Munich's waterborne track but this time it would be Sheehan who reigned victorious and Pagès left Germany licking his wounds. At the 50th Red Bull X-Fighters event in Pretoria, the atmosphere was wild in the sold-out stands at the historic Union Buildings, and so was Sheehan! The 2014 world champion dominated the competition – winning heat after heat with his unreal Double Flip and other sick combos. When the final world tour standings were tallied, it was Sheehan in first place.
Going into the 2015 season there was more pressure on Josh than in previous years, and being unable to ride the season opener in Mexico City lowered his chances of defending his title right from the start. The early meeting between Tom and Josh in Athens did not go the way Josh had hoped, even though he had a run that would qualify as one of the top 10 runs in the past years. In the end, he flew back to Australia with a fifth place in his pocket, repeating that result at the next stop in Madrid. Flying into Pretoria, Sheeny was hoping to claim another victory on African soil, but he missed the podium and ended up in fourth. Even though he knew the chance to defend the championship title was very slim, Josh gave it all at the final stop in Abu Dhabi and claimed his best result of the season with a third place.
The triple flipper will be well received by the Spanish fans in Las Ventas just as he has been in the past. He has always given every winner a run for their money with his unreal trick combos and flawless style on his double flip. Expect to see the Honda rider spice it up at the FMX highlight of the year, and maybe even pencil him in for a podium result this year, just like in 2016.
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