Freestyle motocross maestro Jackson Strong puts one of the new Harley-Davidson electric concepts to the test
Photo: Brett Wilhelm
Harley-Davidson® fan and freestyle motocross rider extraordinaire Jackson ‘Jacko’ Strong has once again been busy picking up gold medals – this time for best trick at the Shanghai X Games (a no-hands front flip, since you ask).
He’s also been putting one of the new Harley® electric concepts through its paces, after it was first showcased earlier this year at the Winter X Games in Aspen. This hybrid crossover model has been breaking new ground in the electric-powered arena, and Jacko’s impressions of it have been positive from the get-go.
“It put a smile on my face as soon as I got on it! I have to admit it’s really changed my opinion of what’s possible with electric technology – it’s a whole new world of fun,” enthuses Jacko. “When you look at the size of the engine it’s the size of a milk carton and produces real power, plus there’s no transmission – it’s definitely the future.”
For Jacko, this is just the beginning of what’s set to be a thrilling ride, with Harley-Davidson at the forefront. “It’s an exciting time in the motorcycle industry, whether it be dirt or street – the electric movement is definitely gong to take over in the next few years.”
While the new concepts are driving H-D® firmly into the future, Jacko’s passion for the brand is solidly embedded in the past, having had his first fix aged 13, on tour with the Crusty Demons freestyle motocross team. “I remember initially whizzing round on one backstage as a young pup, then later jumping on modified versions in the show,” he recalls. “I’m actually building a custom Softail® at the moment, using various dead bike parts. It’s got a twin-cam engine and open chain drive. It’s currently in the shed needing some TLC...I tend to take my time with these things!”
Such is Jacko’s affinity with the H-D brand that he was thrilled to be offered the chance to collaborate with them on the new EV concepts. “Harley is definitely a leader in the motorcycle industry. They’ve been there since the start, so when the opportunity arose to have a partnership around X Games, I jumped at the idea.” So taken has Jacko been by the new concept model, he’s already pressing Harley to come up with something he can use for work as well as play.
Photo: Brett Wilhelm
When not pushing the boundaries of freestyle motocross, Australia-based Jacko likes to spend his downtime on his farm, flying planes or heading out on road trips. “It’s a great part of the world to travel around. I really enjoy being out on the road and have ridden so many Harleys over the years on my adventures. I’m not a big fan of the coast rides; more the outback riding – it’s a different experience, in an area I grew up in and where I feel most at home.”
Naturally, after his success in Shanghai, Jacko isn’t resting on his laurels. With the summer X Games in Minneapolis just around the corner (August 1-4) he’s now back in competition mode and is training hard. However, humble as ever, he’s taking nothing for granted.
“It was great to win in Shanghai – I was extra hungry after spending so long on the couch after my injury [sustained in Aspen]! However, I’m not being overly confident; in fact, I always feel a little under-prepared before any competition. But once I get there the focus kicks in, so hopefully I can bring something back with me.” Considering his recent form, we’ve little doubt.