Tattoos a Permanent Commitment of Passion

David Rinaldo - Madrid Pit 2015
The inked skins of freestyle motocross stars tell their unique stories

Most of the world's top freestyle motocross riders in the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour have their bodies covered with colorful tattoos that reflect various stages and event in their lives. But others wouldn't dream of wearing body art. Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour leader Clinton Moore could barely wait until he was an adult to start getting tattoos on his body so the Australian got his older brother to ink a first crude tattoo onto his body – a small cross on one of his toes. The dominant Freestyle Motocross rider of the 2015 season didn't stop there and now estimates about a quarter of his body is covered with artwork.

"They all have a bit of a meaning to me during my life," said Moore, who won the first two stops of the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour and was third in Madrid. "I've loved tattoos ever since I was a kid and it's something I always wanted to have when I got older."

Moore, whose arms and stomach are covered with the ink drawings done at various points of his life, also has his eight-year-old son's name etched onto his right arm and wants to get his seven-year-old daughter's name tattooed onto his left arm as soon as he finds some time. He says he has no favorite but notes one of the first on his stomach at age 16 was a goal he has followed ever since: "Dream big in life."

"I've still got plenty of room and plenty of ideas of what I want to do so I want to keep wasting my money getting these pictures on my body," said Moore, who is 27 years old. "I think I'll get more tattoos when I get older but I don't want to rush into them."

Tattoos have been an essential part of the FMX world since the sport's early days with riders covering parts of their bodies with artwork that they felt reflected either the 'bad boy' image or the creativity of the sport.

"It's about your own style, going out doing what you want to do," said Rob Adelberg, another top rider from Australia. "It's self-expression. It's freestyle."

Spain's Dany Torres, the 2011 World Tour champion, is proud to show off the tattoos. "I like to have the important things in my life on my body." France's David Rinaldo is proud of his first, a small tattoo reading "no pain, no gain" on his right index finger that he had done after breaking the finger in a crash at the age of 18.

But not all riders on the world's most prestigious FMX tour feel the need to wear even the smallest of tattoos. Past World Tour winners Josh Sheehan of Australia, Tom Pagès of France and Levi Sherwood of New Zealand have neither tattoos nor plans to get any. "I don't have any because, even though they're good, I worry that if I started doing them I'm not sure I would be able to stop," said Pagès, who won the tour in 2013 and has pushed the sport in recent years with a seemingly endless supply of new and more daring tricks. "It's always all or nothing for me."

Sherwood, who aside from his bushy blond hair has a fairly clean-cut image, said he couldn't imagine ever letting a tattoo artist anywhere near his body. "They are what they are," said Sherwood. "I don't have any and I haven't ever been interested in getting any. None of my friends at home has any and I've never even been tempted."


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