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Sandy Journal

Fourth annual Nitro World Games boasts competitor from Sandy

Dec 10, 2019 02:29PM ● By City Journals Staff

Kurtis Downs take a sharp corner on the flat track event at the 2019 Nitro World Games.

By Deserae Dorton | [email protected]

Kurtis Downs of Sandy, Utah rode his first motorcycle when he was around 8 years old, a Honda Z50. As he grew, he recognized the great financial commitment of a motorcycle hobby. Which is why in 2010 he switched to riding BMX bikes. So when the Nitro World Games invited him to participate in the flat track competition which took place in August at the Utah Motorsports Campus, he was a little surprised.

Downs, who has been a part of the Nitro Circus, a performative motocross event, since 2014, was excited for the opportunity to join the Nitro World Games. “It was my first time ever riding a flat track bike,” said Downs. When he received the call to fill in one of the last open spots for the flat rack event his response was, “Heck, yes! I love anything with two wheels.” 

A flat track motorcycle has front and rear suspension and rear brakes, distinguishing it from a speedway bike. The brakes allow for distinct cornering techniques. Downs called the flat track at Utah Motorsport Campus unreal. “It was a lot different than what I thought it was about,” said Downs. “It wasn’t a flat track with dirt, it was pavement, so it had a little corner in it as well. It was really fun to change it up and be able to try a new sport out and get that competition feel. It was amazing!”

Downs said that though he was one or two positions away from making it to the second round of the competition, he was just thrilled to be out there on the track. “I was just having fun and enjoying something new,” said Downs. “I was super excited to make it that far!”

Downs remembers watching the X-Games on television as a kid , and feels like he’s living a dream. “Flat track looked fun,” he said. “I always thought it would be really cool, but you take on as many hobbies as you can handle. I have a lot of two wheels in my life but now that they came and got me on [flat track], it seems like I might have to start another hobby now.” 

One attendee of the games this summer, Victor from Clinton, Utah, relates to Downs as a spectator. He is a big fan of the Nitro brand and frequents the Utah Motorsport Campus to race his bike. Watching the games live for the first time gave him the itch to compete himself, but he feared there would be broken bones in his future. He encourages anyone who hasn’t seen the games live to give it a shot. “Come out and watch it,” Victor said. “Stop watching from home!”

Also among the crowd are those who had never heard of the Nitro Games, like the Dorton family from Orem. After watching the FMX Best Trick competition, which involves motorcycles speeding up a ramp and doing a trick mid-air before landing, 12-year-old Sam said wide-eyed, “that’s really cool!”

The first Nitro World Games were held at the Rice Eccles Stadium in 2016 and have returned to Utah every year since. In 2018, the games were moved to Utah Motorsports Campus. With the increase of open space the campus offered, Rallycross and FMX Quarterpipe were added to the event.

The Nitro World Games will return in 2020. Watch their website for dates and tickets in the coming months: