Name: "Rowdy" Rodney Sargent
Location: (USA) Atlanta Georgia
Bikes: 2004 Kawi 636 & stoppie killer TBA soon (but its 160hp)
Years stuntriding: 10
StuntBums: Tell us about the AM Stoppie School.
Rodney Sargent: The AM Stoppie School started back in 2005 after my Anger Management teammate Jason Miskiewicz (NME) and myself started playing with long distance stoppies from a shorter, more controlled approach. Eventually got to where we could easily double and sometimes triple our approach. But distance wasn't all we were after. Being able to go pretty much anywhere on the front wheel was the goal. Pinpoint accuracy type of stuff. 400ft stoppie 180's to smash cans, carving stoppies left and right around cones, going around corners and even buildings. We just wanted to take it to the next level on the front wheel. In late 2006 we brought Jesse Toler on board and that's where it really took off. Jesse is not even human as most may already know. He transferred what input I was giving him almost instantly. Nowadays Jesse Toler can literally roll a stoppie with a 150ft approach and go well past 600ft. That's 4x the takeoff distance. Again... Not human lol. This year will be a big year for us as well. We will be attempting to break 2 Guinness World records. One for fastest speed on the front wheel and another record for longest distance.
StuntBums: What is a normal "class" like?
Rodney Sargent: Our normal stoppie school sessions vary depending on the day. Sometimes its target practice like carving or parking stoppies on objects, other days its distance from either short approach (150ft) or long approach (300ft +). The large stoppie school session at the end of the season is like no other. The majority of a 1300ft long riding space is sectioned off for only stoppies. We have 2 lanes available, one for beginning level riders rolling under 300ft & one for big distance 500ft and above. We also have a stall box as well as concrete loading docks to learn to park on. Its tons of nose coaster fun! This year we will have a few stoppie comps and a Most Improved Roller award. Most stuntriders that attend are here to have fun and learn, but some are after the infamous AM Stoppie School sticker. You cant buy them, they must be earned. 500ft stoppie or better gets you in the club with the cool kids! lol
As far as what "students" that attend the stoppie school session actually learn, I would say the most important thing is front brake control. How high the bike needs to be to achieve the desired rolling distance. As well as steering input to keep the tail in line when rolling. After the weekend session is over, we generally see most riders adding 100-150ft of distance to their stoppie game.
StuntBums: What is the "Golden Rule" of stoppies?
Rodney Sargent: Golden Rule hmmm... I would say to take baby steps when learning this trick. Stoppies are by far the most dangerous trick to try and master on a sportbike. A 420lb machine hitting you in the back at 65+mph can easily paralyze you or even take your life. We take as many precautions as possible when learning as well as teaching. Bike setup and proper safety gear is the things I would recommend most. A good steering damper, sticky front tire and steel braided lines are a MUST to attend these sessions. Plus a helmet, jacket, gloves are minimum riding attire. I even wear knee/shin gaurds & reinforced riding jeans & a back protector to be safe. We have a saying... "You mess with the bull, You get the horns!"
The #1 mistake I see riders making when learning to roll stoppies is steering input. The tail kicking out to the left or right in a stoppie is a quick sign of a rider needing some advice. Teaching the necessary corrections to be able to safely keep that tail in line will allow the next step in the process, getting to the rolling height. I remember helping you personally Leah here in Atlanta on one of the many Stuntbums adventures and could see a difference right away!
StuntBums: Where can people get more information on the classes?
Rodney Sargent: Anyone wanting to find out more info on the AM Stoppie School session or keep up with the AM Stoppie School crew as we travel the globe on the front wheel and break a few world records can find us on Facebook at Facebook.com/AMFreestyle