Gainesville Resident Tom Parsons Wins Moto Whip Contests

Press release from Greg Parsons

Tom Parsons, a Gainesville resident and internationally known free ride and freestyle rider/competitor, recently won the Moto X Best Whip event at the ESPN X-Games in California. He followed that up three weeks later with a win in the Best Whip event at the Big Hill Jam in Oregon. Tom has produced and is featured in many free ride videos/clips that can be found on YouTube, Red Bull TV, Instagram, and other sports/motorcycle sites. He is also a professional photographer and widely known for his unique and beautiful landscape photography taken in many remote locations in the USA and elsewhere in the world, often places where he also free rides.

After winning Gold, Tom said, “It’s crazy to look back at 2018 X-Games where I was coming off a potentially career ending-injury to my throttle wrist. I rode with a thumb throttle in best whip just to be there at X-Games. I thought that could be it for me. In 2019 I was back on a twist throttle and battled for the win, but ended up Silver. Then I went to X-Games Norway and crashed, was knocked unconscious, broke my collarbone, shoulder, 2 ribs, and bruised a lung. Spent 3 days in the hospital. The 2020 X-Games were canceled, and I had to wait another year to try again. Well… It was worth the wait! I’m still speechless. I had no idea whether I had another gold medal in me. So happy I was able to put it together. X-Games athletes and motocrossers in general are the toughest, most resilient people in the world. It’s such a privilege to be out there riding with all these savages on the big stage.”

He followed up on his Instagram page with the following comments: “This year I did two styles of seat bounce whips. I never know which one looks better or scores higher. On one hand I like one because it’s more of a traditional style moto whip, but the other one, the look-under whip, is harder to do. I can only do them when I have the timing of the jump down perfect, because once I look under, I lose all orientation of where I am and where the landing is, so it’s all instinct and timing because I don’t see the landing until the very end. The moto style whip allows me to always have my eyes or peripheral on the landing, so I always know where the bike and I are and the direction I’m heading

“This year I basically stuck with what felt the best that day, which was doing an unnatural way seat bounce whip off the first ramp and a natural way seat bounce whip off the second ramp. Then, just to change it up, I hit the second ramp with two different styles. I did a few that were more traditional, and then I did the look-under ones as well. The setup was interesting this year because it was two ramps in a row, but the first ramp wasn’t at 75 feet. It was a Levi Sherwood ramp, which is like a super kicker at 65 feet, so it limited your whip options off the first one.

“Basically everyone stuck to a standard seat bounce whip. Because of that, you were kind of forced into doing a turn up or a turn down off the second ramps if you wanted to have a variety. I didn’t feel that great off the 105 foot ramp, so I really didn’t want to go head to head with Axell’s or Tyler’s big turn-ups, and on the 75 foot I knew it would be almost impossible to beat Wanky’s turn-downs that day. I figured the best option would be unnatural way seat bounce off the first ramp compared to everybody’s natural way, which should score points, and then obviously on the second ramp I knew it had to be some really big seat bounce whips or I had no chance.

“I started to feel really good on that ramp and was able to switch it between those two styles of whips during the competition. It’s a judged event, so you never fully know what they’re looking for; sometimes it is more variety, sometimes style, sometimes it’s just the biggest whip. Obviously I won so I loved the judging, but whether it’s me or someone else, I love it when they give extra points for smoothness and flow, which are strong points for me, and unnatural way whips of course. Thank you everyone for all the texts and messages. The older you get the more special these moments become!!”

  • Yeah and he got shut down riding and training on his own Alachua property by the county. They should let him and some of his friends perform on main street sometime and watch the draw it would attract. Probably thousands of Gainesville youth and college students too?

  • Thanks for the comment Ed. It’s about property rights but the County Commissioners also hate motorcycles and other off road vehicles. Look at how they have tried to shut down Gatorback Cycle Park. Most people don’t know it but there is an Alachua County Ordinance that effectively makes it illegal to operate an off road vehicle of any type almost anywhere in the county and that is what they used to shut us down. That ordinance, section 110.03 Specific Noise Prohibitions says:

    “(k) The use or operation, of a recreational vehicle (including but not limited to dirt bikes, motocross, all terrain vehicles, dune buggies, and similar off-road vehicles) in such a manner so as to produce a sound that is plainly audible at a distance of 15 meters (50 feet) or more away from the real property line of property used for residential purposes.

    What that means is if your vehicle can be heard on another property you are in violation. There is no decibel level – just plainly audible. The sound could be less than a quiet office (40dB) or a baby crying (110dB) and you are illegal. State law says the decibel level for an off road motorcycle to be sold in Florida is 96dB. So you can buy something at Ride Now or Polaris of Gainesville but not legally use it in most of the county. The ordinance ought to be unconstitutional and it seems to preempt state law. But it is only selectively applied. It is intended to give the county the power to shut down anybody, anytime, anywhere with no recourse.

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