Transmoto Magazines FMX Insider No.13 - Interview with TLD's Morgan Gilks
FMX - Newcastle, NSW
Welcome to a weekly web-exclusive column, Transmoto‘s FMX Insider. Penned each week by South Australian rider, Ben Heidrich, the FMX Insider will present the story-behind-the-stories of the Aussie and international freestyle motocross scenes. I swear every time I jump on social media, I see a photo or video post of freestyle motocross rider, Morgan Gilks, learning a new trick on his dirt bike. Even right now whilst I’m writing this column, he literally just posted a video of himself learning No-Handed Backflips… Not just learning them, but fully extending the trick as if he has been doing them for years! And to think, this guy has only been riding FMX for just over nine months. So what I’m saying is that if you are a rider and you haven’t yet heard the name Morgan Gilks, you may live in a cave. I recently caught up with the 22-year-old rider from Newcastle, NSW to have a chat about his new and promising FMX career.
So Morgan, have you always ridden FMX or did you race motocross before making the switch.
Gilks: No, I was always a racer when I was younger. Dad would take Tyrone (my brother) and me to Lake Macquarie Motorbike Club each weekend. Tyrone was always the one that enjoyed jumping and learning tricks, while I loved to go fast!
Fast is always fun! What made you take up riding FMX?
I was serving in the Australian Defence Force when Tyrone was pursuing a career in FMX. We had spoken about me leaving the Army and joining Tyrone riding FMX. We had no plans and had no idea how it was going to work, but we both new what we wanted to do.
Three days before my 21st birthday on March 21, 2013, my brother Tyrone Gilks passed away attempting to break the 250cc Long Jump Distance Record. My life came to a screaming halt and my world turned upside down! It was a month after the accident that I felt a strong calling from God to discharge from the Army and begin riding FMX.
I had never hit an FMX ramp and I had been off the bike for four and a half years due to my commitment to the Army. So I purchased a second hand 250cc Yamaha from JC FMX. From there I began riding with Lance Russell, who began teaching me the very basics and allowed me to come hit his ramps. Since that time I have moved to the Gold Coast and now ride for JC FMX. I have been riding FMX now for nine months, this month.
What a crazy and emotional series of events. It sounds like you have been riding with some cool people though! Can you tell me a bit about the Mackay AFMXC round and also pulling your first Flip straight to dirt? How did that feel?
Ha-ha, Mackay was so much fun! It was my first-ever FMX competition and first time riding in front of a crowd! Joel Rayner and I had been joking about me Flipping straight to dirt. Some of the boys were practicing into the foam pit the day before the comp and Rayner tried to get me to do a couple at 45ft. I told him I would rather flip 75ft to the pit.
So the next day my run was up and I said to the boys I would Flip if I nailed my run. Sure enough, I don’t know how but I smashed my run! Which only meant one thing; Backflip time! As I rolled over the first landing in first gear, everyone began to run to where they could see; ha-ha. I had only jumped the ramp once ever before in practice that morning and I was in second gear then. As I lined up to hit my first-ever ramp in first gear and no one new the exact distance, I wrapped it on up the ramp and pulled back. As I left the ramp it felt so slow, but as I tucked up I felt the bike coming around. When the wheels hit the ground I rode off like nothing had happened. Then about 100 meters after the landing it hit me and it was a pretty awesome feeling! I still look back on it to this day and thank God and Tyrone for watching over me on that one!
Unreal man, that’s a pretty amazing feat. Who do you ride with and what are your thoughts on progression? You seem to learn new tricks so quickly and have a lot of natural talent!
I ride with my JC teammates, Pete Anderson and Joe Sheppard. There are also a heap of other riders here on the Gold Coast which makes it easy for me to find someone to ride with.
The progression of the sport is out of control! I love seeing people land new crazy tricks because it just motivates me more!
I think the reason I learn quickly, is that it has a lot to do with my faith and the people supporting me.
It sounds like you have a really positive mind-set. Who would you say is your biggest inspiration as a rider?
Hands down my little brother, Tyrone Gilks! What he had done in such a short time here on the earth will forever be my motivation and inspiration. As I have said earlier, my faith is what influences not only my riding but my life choices. It is so easy for fear to replace faith because they have something in common. Both challenge you to believe what you can’t see is about to happen.
Wise words man. So what are your thoughts on the current FMX scene in Australia?
I have not been in the scene for too long but from where I am sitting it only has one place to go and that is to the top. Australia has some very talented FMX riders and when given the right opportunities, I think we can take it to the top on a world scale.
Definitely. Australia has some strong game. What’s it like riding with the JC Epidemic Team?
Awesome! Tyrone rode with JC for two years so I am so blessed they have taken me under their wing! Their portable ramp set-up is perfect and it is always a blast doing shows with them!
Nice. Are you riding as a full-time FMX rider at the moment, or do you have other work as well?
I ride as much as I can but I also run a clothing business ‘Oneup Unltd’. I am still learning the ropes but I hope to grow Oneup into a brand that can help give back to the sport.
I’m sure you will go far with the company and do your brother proud! What are your future riding plans?
I would like to do well at the Aussie FMX series this year but mostly just continue to progress and have fun.
Well keep up the good work dude. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Thank you to all the fans and everyone for your support, especially my wife, family and sponsors who helped me get to this point!
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