As three members of the Red Bull Air Force skydive team made their descent through the clouds into downtown Salt Lake City on Wednesday morning, they brought with them good news: the Nitro World Games are coming back to the Beehive State on Aug. 17.
For the second consecutive year, the action-sports showcase, featuring Nitro Rallycross, Moto Quarterpipe and FMX Best Trick competitions, will take place at Utah Motorsports Campus. It will be the event’s fourth year in Utah, having taken place at the University of Utah’s Rice-Eccles Stadium in 2016 and 2017. The official announcement was made at a press conference at Vivint Smart Home Arena.
“Utah is the home of Nitro Circus,” said Nitro World Games co-creator Travis Pastrana. “So many huge events have happened right here — so many world’s firsts. We’re super-excited about the event.”
Pastrana said this year’s event will be even bigger and better than ever. Last year featured the debut of Nitro Rallycross, the return of FMX Best Trick and a Moto Quarterpipe competition that saw world records set on the largest quarterpipe ever built. The race course from last year’s Nitro Rallycross event has been improved upon, and competitors will get a chance to test in the months between now and August to get their cars dialed in.
“We were still building the track when everyone got there,” Pastrana said. “We worked out a lot of stuff kind of on the fly. A lot of the teams didn’t have time to get the full prep and a lot of the guys who wanted to race from all different aspects of motorsports didn’t have a chance to get out there.
“This year, we’ve been in touch with all of the teams and we have tripled the amount of cars out there. There’s going to be a lot more action and the racing — hopefully, there will be a lot less cars breaking down out there because all the jumps are going to be dialed in absolutely perfect. Not smaller — possibly bigger — but dialed in to where everything flies right.”
That came as welcome news to Nitro Rallycross driver and rally-racing legend Ken Block, a Park City resident who saw his shot at victory derailed by mechanical problems in 2018.
“It was a really amazing experience — unfortunately, my car was having issues and I didn’t get to compete at the highest level,” Block said. “I’m really looking forward to coming back out and racing with guys like Travis. These are the biggest, most dramatic jumps that have ever existed in Rallycross. It really is exciting to have that here in Utah and have it in a place that is only an hour drive from my home. I get to go home during this weekend of racing and sleep in my own bed.”
Pastrana, who was already familiar with Utah and Tooele County before bringing the Nitro World Games to UMC, is looking forward to the event’s return.
“I learned how to skydive out in Tooele when I was 18 years and one day old,” Pastrana said. “It’s not a new area for me. I’ve spent a lot of time in Draper and my mom lived in Park City. This is home for me. We started Nitro Circus here and this is where we held our first Nitro World Games, and we plan to be here for a long time.
“(UMC) is a full facility where my wife and kids can come out and race go-karts, we can drive small off-road trucks and we can do all kinds of stuff while we’re there. It’s a lot nicer facility than a lot of the off-road and action sports community is used to for where we do these events.”
Tickets for this year’s Nitro World Games will go on sale June 1 at www.nitroworldgames.com. VIP tickets are available for $79, while general admission tickets are $39 for adults and $25 for kids age 12 and under.