Jayo Archer, motocross star and X Games medalist, dies at 27

Freestyle motocross athlete Jayden “Jayo” Archer, an X Games medalist and the first rider to perform a triple backflip in competition, died while practicing the trick Wednesday morning in his hometown of Melbourne, Australia. He was 27.

A beloved member of the Australian motocross community and the Nitro Circus, the action sports media brand started by multisport star Travis Pastrana, Archer was known for pushing the progression of freestyle motocross at a time when there was little external reward for doing so.

“This really hit home,” Pastrana told ESPN. “Jayo grew up in a time when action sports was at its biggest, and he always wanted to do the big stuff like the double and the triple, even though there weren’t a lot of places to showcase those bigger tricks. He’d get up every morning at 4 a.m. and go to the gym before work so he could ride his dirt bike. When he came to Maryland to train, he stayed at my house and was an incredible role model to my kids. He was a great human first, a hard worker second and a bad motherf—er third.”

One of only three riders ever to land the triple backflip on a dirt bike, Archer became the first rider to land the trick in competition in November 2022, when he landed it during Best Trick at Nitro World Games in Brisbane, Australia.

“I cannot describe this feeling,” Archer said that day. “This is so much more than a trick to me. I’ve dedicated my entire life the last three years to this moment. There were a lot of obstacles and broken bones and knockouts, and I would do it 100 times over to relive that moment again.”

After the interview, Archer took the microphone, knelt on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend, Beth King, who was standing nearby. The couple was engaged to be married this year.

“No one had a bigger heart or more determination than Jayo,” Ricky Melnik, senior vice president and GM of Nitro Circus, told ESPN. “We called him the Incredible Hulk. He was a beast on the bike and a gentle giant off it. Watching him go through the process of learning and landing the triple flip in competition was so inspiring. He wanted to take FMX to the next level and go further than anyone had gone before.”

A member of the Nitro Circus for more than a decade, Archer performed in his first show in 2012 and worked as an assistant mechanic for years before rising to be one of its stars. He last performed the triple backflip publicly at a Nitro Circus Live Show in Jay, Oklahoma, in June 2023 and was working on becoming the first rider to land a quadruple backflip.

A two-time X Games medalist and a suspension technician and mechanic for Raceline Performance and Factory Husqvarna Racing in Australia, Archer took bronze in Best Trick at last summer’s X Games California in Ventura.

“We are deeply saddened by Jayo Archer’s passing and our thoughts and prayers go out to his parents and fiancée,” Scott Guglielmino, interim COO at X Games, said in a statement to ESPN. “One of the most committed and charismatic FMX riders, Jayo will be missed by the X Games family.”

First appeared on www.espn.com

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