Local lad flips out over big win
Josh Sheehan of Australia performs during the finals of the fifth stage of the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour in Pretoria, South Africa on August 23, 2014. Picture: Tyrone Bradley/Red Bull Content Pool

Donnybrook boy Josh Sheehan had to plant a lot of apple trees to afford his first dirt bike - now, he gets paid a mint to ride them.

Picking and pruning the trees were his least favourite jobs, but the fruits of his labour have come to define him.

From humble beginnings on the family farm, Sheehan, 28, has reached the summit of world freestyle motocross.

On Saturday, he won the final and deciding event of the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour in South Africa, claiming his first world championship in front of 22,000 fans.

Possessing a signature move that no one else can reliably replicate, the man they call "Sheeny" double backflipped his way into the history books.

"Only three other riders have done the double backflip," he said.

"It's simple in the sense you're only rotating one way, but there's no pulling out - there's no halfway.

"If you don't rotate fast enough at the start, you're stuffed, and I think that risk is a bit much for some people." Sheehan won the lucrative title from his rival - Kiwi rider Levi Sherwood, 22, who failed to make it through Saturday's first round.

He said the experience still felt surreal.

"Nearly every time I go to Perth Airport, I have to pinch myself," Sheehan said.

"To be classed as a world champion now, I can't believe it. It's a childhood dream."

Sheehan will fly to France for an exhibition this week before returning to the family farm to work on some new tricks.

"In the months until Christmas I plan to spend a bit of time at home," he said.

"Thankfully apple season's done. I prefer this job."

The West Australian

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