Thursday, July 18, 2024


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Meet The Man On The Bike…

Image source: Red Bull

The JBay Surf Festival is not ‘just’ about the world-class surfing action and the bigger events such as the padel tournament or Park Off Music and Comedy Festival it is about the overall experience that features a lot of crowd-pleasing activations. One such crowd-pleaser, is Red Bull motorbike trials stunt rider, Brian Capper.

Capper has been wowing crowds in Pepper Street all festival long with his amazing maneuvres and highly engaging show (in which he speaks through a microphone in his helmet and often calls up volunteers from the crowd). Read on to learn more about the man on the bike.

How many years have you been doing this now?

I started doing shows in 1999, and this marks my 25th year in the business. It has evolved a lot over the years. One of my first shows was actually in Gqeberha (then Port Elizabeth) at the Alex Grill World Cup, a skateboard competition. Hyundai sponsored me at the time and brought me down here. It was there that I met Claire Tilson from Red Bull, and that’s where my relationship with the brand began. Over the years, I’ve travelled around the world, performing in America, Europe and now frequently in the UAE.

This is not your first time in Jeffreys Bay, correct?

Correct, I first came here to watch the Billabong Pro way back. Tristan Werner headed up sports marketing at Red Bull at the time and I had the chance to meet big names like Mick Fanning, Kelly Slater, and John John Florence, although I didn’t realize their significance back then. I also participated in a tour called ‘Trial To Be Wild,’ which included a stop in J-Bay. It’s been many years of hoping and planning to get here to be a part of the action, but now it has finally happened.

How have you found the J-Bay crowd so far? And, how important is the crowd and the crowd participation and interaction?

The crowd is everything! And the J-Bay festival-goers have been epic. I always say a bad crowd or a dead crowd is a mediocre show. I get really hyped up and excited by a wild crowd. Every time I start a show I hope that I can get the crowd wound up and normally if it’s in a small town like this where people know each other or are in a holiday vibe, then they’re not scared to put their hands together and are more than willing to shout and scream. That shouting and screaming really motivates me to go bigger, higher, faster, and more extreme.

Image source: Red Bull

Tell us a bit about the bike…

So the bike is a very sophisticated machine. It’s a 300cc two-stroke. It’s called a Beta, which is an Italian build. It’s ultra-lightweight (weighing only 65 kilograms) and is made out of titanium, magnesium, and carbon fibre. Other than that, it has many aftermarket parts, but the base bike is completely stock. It came from the factory in this configuration, so it’s a more specialized version compared to the standard model. I don’t touch the suspension, don’t touch anything, really, I just let the pressures down in the tyres and ride them stock as they come out the crate. A lot of the guys do quite a bit of things to them, but I’ve always had this mindset that the more standard I leave it the easier it is to get onto another bike if anything had to happen and you had to jump on someone else’s bike and perform.

You do all your stunts on an impressive mobile rig with ramps, did you have that custom-built?

It’s evolved over the years, but the original one was built on a specification that I got from America. My mate Geoff Aaron does exactly the same shows as mine, so I got the concept and idea from him and had a specially designed trailer built by Argoweld in Johannesburg. I gave them all the concepts and ideas, and then they came up with all the angles and, you know, the heights.

It’s been many years since we started using this setup, and it has travelled extensively around the country and the world. We even put it in a container and shipped it globally. It has been an effective marketing tool and a versatile obstacle course, bringing joy to many people and helping me sustain my livelihood after racing professionally in various motorbike categories.

The setup is also very practical for touring and performances, as it houses the bikes, sound system, and generator inside. All the ramps and equipment are stored in compartments, and some of the ramps are hinged, making setup quick and easy. Within 15 minutes, we can have everything set up and ready to ride. I use this setup to travel extensively nationally and internationally. In other countries, specially built setups are provided for me.

Image source: Red Bull

The JBay Surf Festival runs until Sunday 23 July, you can catch Brian Capper on his rig in Pepper Street, daily.

Staff Writer
Staff Writer
Compiled by the ZA Bikers / ZA Lifestyle team.