Who Did the First Backflip on a Dirt Bike? – A Historic Moment

Written by

James Stevens

Fact-checked by

Robert A. Verdin


Learning how to ride a dirt bike is already a challenging task, but consider doing a backflip. In 1991, Jose Yanez successfully backflipped on an 80cc motorcycle. During this time, FMX began developing.

Fast forward to 2000, the first person to backflip on a full-sized dirt bike was Carey Hart. Although the landing was not perfect, many considered this attempt as the first successful backflip.

If you want to know more about the answer to “Who did the first backflip on a dirt bike?” and the history of FMX backflips, you’re in the right place. Read on!

Who Performed the First Backflip on a Dirt Bike?


The freestyle dirt bike motocross is a variation of motocross that involves riders doing different kinds of jumps and stunts. Among these various stunts, one move that stands out is the backflip, which was once thought to be impossible.

Although Carey Hart was the first to attempt this move on a full-sized dirt bike, Caleb Wyatt was the first person to land successfully after doing the trick in 2002. Hereafter, FMX competitions began to develop further, and a backflip became an essential maneuver to wow the judges.

Then, in 2006, Travis Pastrana was able to do the first double backflip. It happened on August 4, and the trick helped him win a gold medal at the X games.

Travis-Pastrana-do the-first-double-backflip

The backflip continued to evolve in 2015, when Josh Sheehan performed the first triple backflip on a motocross dirt bike.


Although men seem to dominate the backflip, women also show their power. The first woman to ever do a backflip on a full-sized dirt bike was Jolene Van Vugt at a Nitro Circus event.

Famous Freestyle Motocross Riders

The world of FMX motocross is filled with talented riders. Here are the most notable or famous riders in the game!

1. Carey Hart


Of course, Carey Hart is among the most famous (if not the best) FMX riders in history. He’s now retired and will always be remembered as the first rider who attempted to do a backflip on a 250cc dirt bike.

2. Mike Metzger


Famously called the “King of Dirt”, Mike Metzger is a 5-time world champion. He was the first person ever to do a backflip at the X Games, specifically the X Games Philadelphia (2002).

3. Jeremy Stenberg


Jeremy Stenberg is a legend in FMX, being regarded as the founder of modern-day motocross. Better known as “Twitch”, he has won six X Games gold medals.

4. Jolene Van Vugt


Famous for having multiple Guinness World Records and being the first woman to successfully backflip on a full-sized dirt bike, Jolene Van Vugt screams girl power! She’s also one of the creators of the Canadian Women’s National Championship.

5. Travis Pastrana


Travis Alan Pastrana is an American rider who has won championships and gold medals in various dirt bike riding competitions such as freelance motocross and supercross. He performed the first double backflip.

6. Josh Sheehan


The world knows Josh Sheehan as the first person to do a triple backflip. He successfully did this trick in a tailor-made setup in Travis Pastrana’s house in Maryland.

7. Kenny Bartram


Kenny Bartram or “The Cowboy” is a professional FMX rider who is a 7-time World Champion FMX rider. He also won many Oklahoma State Series MX Races before his freestyle motocross career.

8. Thomas Pages


With a lot of tricks in his bag, Thomas Pages is considered one of the best FMX riders worldwide today. You can look forward to his amazing skills in doing The Volt, Flair, and Special Flip.


Riding on the ground and then speeding over to a jump to do a backflip is indeed a very challenging task. However, many of the daredevil riders in freestyle motocross were able to do the job.

Carey Hart was the first to perform a backflip on a full-sized dirt bike, but the first person to land successfully was Caleb Wyatt. Since then, FMX riders have started to innovate to do double and triple backflips.

After reading the discussions above, we hope the answer to this question: Who did the first backflip on a dirt bike? is now clear.

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James Stevens

James Stevens is an expert bike mechanic who knows everything from basic repairs to custom modifications. What sets him apart is his ability to explain complex concepts in a way that's easy to understand. Check out his content on Speedway if you need help with upgrades or modifications for your bike.