David Benn introduced Jackson Strong, and was unable to resist the pun - his grandfather is 85YO, and still going strong. Jackson is David Benn's landlord, but we hope that the relationship goes deeper than that.
The talk started with "gidday", and then we watched a three minute video clip, and marvelled at the professional production of the film. That was because there was sponsorship involved, and professional capture of Jackson's exploits, including the pyrotechnics.
The family have been on a property at Lockhart for five generations, but Jackson was not destined for tractor driving and lamb marking. He used a motorbike for livestock work, riding over dam banks, then jumping over dam banks, and graduated to jumping over dams. He had family support, and commenced home schooling at 14, with time on the motorcycle.
Jackson was recognised as talented, and rode at shows locally and then more widely - until he toured through South America, Europe and the USA as a teenage prodigy, on a motorbike. He had a home in the states for five years, but that wasn't cutting it for "a farm boy from Lockhart."
He moved home in his twenties, and travelled to events at weekends. He has graduated even further by doing much of his stunt work on film. Jackson gets on a motorcycle every day, but is now getting into skydiving, and moving towards stunt flying.
Jackson was questioned about the competitive side of motorcycle stunt riding, and he explained that there were two classes of competition - Best trick, and Freestyle. Freestyle is a 75 second elapsed time, and 6 or 7 jumps to be completed. Best Trick is scored, the best of two jumps, and this is his most successful category.
The bike that he rides is personalised, to the extent of controls and human interface, but is still standard in terms of performance. It is a Yamaha YZ 250.
The question of injuries was raised, and this read like a Medical text book "both legs a couple of times, a broken back, the arthritis profile of an eighty year old........ it's not that bad - you guys will be right in another ten years"
The questions kept coming, about the techniques of each stunt, what must be watched as a landing unfolds, heart rates during competition, composition of support teams, and recent Aussie domination of the sport.
Jackson explained some of the video techniques that were used to generate flame backdrops for the stunts, including pressure vessels, poly pipe, petrol and compressed air. The flames were spectacular.
The move to aeronautical stunts is proceeding, learn to fly, buy a plane, upgrade to a Pitt special, and proceed to stunts.