Michael "Maxx Air" Gent – United States
Michael "Maxx Air" Gent was born December 30th, 1969 in Salt Lake City, Utah and was first introduced to jumping by seeing Evel Knievel on television at a very young age. Mike got his first bicycle , a Western Flyer at a local Texas shopping center and on his first day out, he was jumping speed bumps and had his first injury! Sixteen stitches later, he was bound and determined to become a major jumper. As time went on, Mike got better bikes and started racing BMX at 9 years old in Scottsdale, Arizona. He found that he loved jumping more than racing though and was always showing off during his motos. Then came an abrupt move back to Salt Lake City at age 10 and that began his professional career.
Mike went to the Winter Super Series (indoors) and went crazy into racing. Blazing all the indoor tracks in the area Mike was top 10 in the Intermediate class for the year. At age 12, he was in contention for the State Championship and was racing so well indoors that he was doing tricks in his main events. One time, he even 360'd the tabletop jump while leading the race!
At age 12, he was the Winter Series Champion for 1983 doing tricks all along the way. Then, one race, he and a couple of other Pros (including Tim "FUZZY" Hall, were jumping from a dirt jump to the tabletop jump, ( a thirty five foot gap!) and a guy in a very nice suit grabbed Michael in the pits and asked if he could meet with him. Next day, at the Pepsi Cola local distributorship, he met with Rob Mateus, Regional Director for promotions and he asked him to get a team together to do a show at a local five star hotel.
He built two ramps, a 6 foot tall 1/4 pipe and a wedge launch ramp and brought four guys to the hotel a week later and performed his first professional show for the unveiling of the Mountain Dew BMX commercial to the National Pepsi Convention. Strobe lights flashing, hundreds of people looking on at his tricks... It got in his blood!!
From there, as the Captain of the Mountain Dew Trick Team, he toured the US at age 14 and did over 200 shows on his BMX bike that year. After the tour, he bought a Yamaha YZ and began learning what it took to jump motorcycles, although the ramp to ramp aspect at this point was cinder blocks and 2x12 planks, he was pulling distances of 40 feet with ease. But the lure of the money kept him doing BMX shows and he went into the performance direction of BMX rather than the competition side. Taking a lot of guff from other riders for not competing, he always wowed the crowds no matter what, which is what Michael "Maxx Air" Gent is all about, PURE EXCITEMENT ENTERTAINMENT!
In 1989, he suffered a major crash doing a show where he almost broke his neck, and it took him out of commission for about 6 months. At this point, the BMX shows reached a decline as the sport faded and Mike turned his attention to promoting more and riding less, but bought new motorcycle equipment and went riding on the weekends and racing every other week to keep up his skills.
In 1999 Mike bought a new CR 250 and got into the FMX craze, and was continuing to promote BMX shows as well. He performed his first motorcycle jump as MAXX AIR in front of a crowd of 5,000 and cleared a distance of 120 feet while pulling tricks as well. In 2001 MAXX AIR performed at a County Fair in front of 8,000 people in an arena setting where he jumped two custom motor coaches for a total distance of 155 feet. This was extremely tricky as his entrance was through an 8 foot wide space then hitting his ramp starting in the entryway, landing and riding out through another 8 foot exit. He pulled it off with ease!
In September 2001, he suffered a career ending injury, compound fracturing his right ankle and left it hanging by a thread, doctors took 13 hours of surgery and put it all back together an in 6 weeks, he was walking again, and then booted up and began riding at 110% to catch up to the rest of the industry. He climbed aboard his CR250 in 2003 and broke several unofficial records, breaking the 300 foot mark and taking it further and further, always a step behind the guys vying for the top. In 2007 he was to jump a self promoted and self designed jump in Las Vegas over an entire football field, but a head on collision caused by a 16 year old driver that fell asleep at the wheel put him out for a year in recovery, and out of the running for jumping.
The above biography and photos courtesy of Mike Gent.