Sam King can’t hide his infatuation with motorbikes. What he probably won’t tell you, however, is that he’s one of Australia’s top trials riders.
Born and raised in Melbourne, King found his wheels at an early age, and like most dirt bike kids, aspired to be a motocross racer. But by age eight, he was scaling cliffs, boulders and logs on a trials bike. Two years later, King started competing and went on to become the Junior Trials Champion of Australia. He also joined the Freestyle Kings and until recently was part of the team’s freestyle motocross show in China.
The now 21-year-old is residing in Golden, B.C., where his focus is on Canadian trials.
Diggin’ the mountain vibe
King first came to Canada in 2014 to ride Expert in the Canadian Nationals and the Outlaw Series in B.C. and Alberta. Between events, he spent time exploring the backcountry on his trials bike.
“I got to see some of the scenery and the epicness of the mountains,” said King, “and it really opened my eyes to the world that’s out here in the Rockies.”
King went back to Australia but couldn’t get the mountains off his mind. So, he decided a year later to make Canada his new home, and to create Ride The Vibe with a focus on providing his own freestyle trials performances. It became so much more.
“We sponsor (athletes) in all different kinds of sports, from motorbiking to skateboarding, surfing, snowboarding and sledding—all extreme sports,” said King. “I really like to get behind that because I think we can all relate to each other with our lifestyle.”
Sam King and his partner in crime, Tiki, get captured on camera in front of Ride the Vibe headquarters. The bus has been retrofitted with ramps for King's shows. — Monte Smith photo
Ride The Vibe is also a clothing line and the company through which King offers workshops for those wanting to improve their dirt bike riding skills. This summer, King will be at Carl Kuster Mountain Park in Sicamous where riders can learn the secrets of moto trials as well as riding enduro and endurocross.
“I really look forward to working with those guys, as well as doing a lot more shows around B.C. and Alberta,” he said.
Scrapies, 360 nose wheelies and the splatter are some stunts that get the audience going, but a crowd favourite is King’s famous mini-flip. — photo courtesy Sam King
Creative in the confines of a carport
Trials riding is one of the few motorcycle competitions where speed isn’t a factor. Balance, timing and concentration are key.
“You can do so much in such a little space,” said King. “When I grew up in the city, I didn’t even have a backyard and I couldn’t start my motorbike because my neighbours weren’t cool with it, so I’d just stand on the bike in the front carport, engine off, and hop the front wheel onto a brick, hop it off, hop it back on and I’d stay there for hours with my music.”
King gets creative on a Red Bull photo shoot in Golden, B.C. — Red Bull Canada photo
Living in Golden, King’s canvas for creativity is now endless.
“It’s the freedom,” he said. “I can get out on my trials bike, explore and go to a whole new area I’ve never seen before.”
This young Aussie is just getting started and there is no doubt that his passion for the sport, coupled with sick talent, will be a boost for the largely invisible trials scene in B.C. and Canada. Progression is a part of his program. So is having fun, which means King is an expert rider and a coach who you’ll enjoy spending time with.