Foma Kalinin is probably the youngest participant ever to take part in motorcycle stunt riding. Born in St. Petersburg, Foma is a rising star in the stunt riding world, recently winning the European Street Freestyle Cup at the tender age of 16. We talked to Foma about his recent victory and his plans for the future.
Foma, you’re 16 years young and bursting with talent, but this is such a tough sport. How did you achieve this outstanding performance?
It all started when I was 3 years old. That’s when I first started riding small motorbikes. In my backyard at first, always just riding straight forwards, but later I moved to Motocross and started to learn how to do long wheelies and to balance the bike. As well as practising a lot, my father also has a history of stunt riding and he’s my personal coach. He has been a big help over the last 13 years, teaching me all the tricks of stunting, and he still does.
At what age are you allowed to take part in stunt riding championships?
The FIM regulation allows participants aged 16 and upwards, and there is no maximum age. But stunt riding is quite physically demanding. You don’t see many grandpas here (laughs)!
What kind of bike do you use to perform the stunts?
Currently I ride a Triumph 675 Street Triple. The regulations state that it must be more than 555 cubic inches. Crazy Iron supports me with all the specialist parts that the bike needs, such as crash bars, while Motul Russia is my preferred oil partner to keep the engine properly lubricated and the rest of the bike clean.
How are the winners chosen?
A jury of professionals awards points for a set of compulsory stunts that you need to perform. Then they judge the length, difficulty and originality of your free-style performance.
How ambitious are you in this sport?
I go to a normal school here in St. Petersburg. Performing and practising at this level is no walk in the park though. Because of my championship win, l’m doing a lot of travelling around Russia and Europe. I’m currently looking for a specialist sports school or a school where I can follow my classes on the internet.
And how about practising? Do you do that at an abandoned airport?
Well… not at all actually! I practise in an open parking lot close to the university. I’m quite lucky because the police leave me alone. In the winter we often practise in Sochi, where the weather is much milder. St Petersburg is mostly wet and cold in this period, not the ideal conditions for practice when you need all the grip you can get.
Where do the championships and events take place?
We’ve been all over Europe and our neighbouring countries: Germany, Poland, Hungary, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia - and Russia of course.
What’s your next goal in this sport?
As the European Champion, I’m training hard and my next goal is to become the next Russian stunt riding champion. That would be the perfect second step. The third and final step will be to make a full-time job out of it.