High Fives - Jolene Van Vugt (the hot chick from Nitro Circus)

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I bet you didn’t know that Nitro Circus hottie Jolene Van Vugt comes from Londontown – we didn’t!
Well she does and she’s as mad as the rest of the crazy crew which includes the man himself Travis Pastrana.

“Yeah, I have a pretty cool job. I grew up with dirt bikes,” she said during a break in filming for the new season, which debuts Aug. 27.

Jolene, 28, grew up in east London in a family of dirt bike enthusiasts. After spending her formative years trailing her father and brother to motocross events every weekend, she caught the bug.

At 11, she began to pester her dad to teach her to ride.

“At first he was hesitant, he did not want to teach me. He said ‘no’ and it took a lot of convincing. Finally, he gave in,” she said. “I used to go to the track and just hang out and play in the dirt. There were not a lot of girls riding then.”

He may have been hesitant at the time but today, Bill Van Vugt, owner of the tool-and-die shop Tubend Machine and Tool, is nothing but proud.

“She has achieved a lot, It is great that she is living her dream,” said Bill, 64, who still spends weekends racing dirt bikes. “She knows what she is doing, but it is risky and dangerous. She does more freestyle than racing.”

Jolene still considers London her home, and returns when there’s a break in shooting — and goes with her dad to area tracks. She even races the local circuit until filming begins again.

“I have been around dirt bikes my whole life. They raced every weekend all over Ontario and as a family we would all go together,” she said.

Nitro Circus features a group of men, and Jolene, riding their motocross bikes and performing all kinds of stunts, including jumping out of planes — at one point without a parachute — a demolition derby driving massive recreational vehicles, and body-sliding down hills into pools of water — wiping out into trees and rocks along the way, to name just a little of the fun.

The Nitro Circus website www.nitrocircus.com offers a brief biography on the Londoner.

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“Jolene is one of the few girls that can handle her own in this testosterone-driven crew. She is a world-class motocross racer and is fearless. She is the only girl in the world to successfully back-flip a motorcycle over a gap. She adds an interesting element as she tries to compete with the boys while the boys will do anything to avoid getting beat by a cute girl,” it states.

As for Jolene, she worked regular 9-to-5 jobs while continuing to race but that all changed in 2005 when she was at the home of Travis Pastrana, champion dirt bike rider and the key figure on the Nitro Circus show. She did a back-flip on a dirt bike during her visit, the first woman to ever do it, and was soon welcomed into the crazy crew.

“After that Travis invited me to shoots and I was accepted into the family,” she said.

“They are like my brothers. I have known them a long time. We’ve been through a lot together. I never get sick of them. They treat me equally. I am here because I earned the right to be. I have done all the stunts.”

The stunts include riding on the back of a motorcycle into the Grand Canyon with a parachute.

“I love skydiving — it is so much fun,” she laughed. “Whenever we are on set and we have a jump, I get very excited.”

She was last in London about two weeks ago because she broke her wrist training for the X Games competition, one of only 10 women asked to join the games.

A graduate of John Paul II secondary school and Fanshawe College, she studied fashion merchandising, also graduated from Humber College in advertising and graphic design, and worked for a magazine in London, all while continuing to race.

“I did it because I love it, but there was not a lot of money in it. Finally, MTV came along — and life got easier.”

She credits her family with supporting her and making her success possible.

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“If it was not for them, I would not be where I am today.”

They have taken me and driven me all over the country,” she said.

Among her achievements, she cites helping create a women’s series for motocross riding as among those she’s most proud.

She was crowned the first women’s national Canadian champion in 2006 and finished second in 2007 and third in 2008.

“I won that the first year I was able to compete– it was very important to me,” she said.

She was the first Women’s Canadian Motocross National Champion, was the first female to back-flip a full-size dirt bike, holder of multiple Guinness world records, is featured in several motocross DVDs and holds multiple Ontario provincial championships.

“She really enjoys what she is doing,” said Bill.

  1. luke

    jolene your alsome and i like you very much so lets both stay safe ridding dirtbikes and whatelse

  2. Kerri Francis

    Dear Jolene,

    My name is kerri francis . And i am in love with motorcycles . I have been on a dirtbike since i was 10 years old . . And i would like to know where you get so much confidence from . Ever since i was little i wanted to learn how to jump . I have a 150 cc , honda. So if you could please help me , i don’t know how to jump . and i am very eager to learn.
    P.s. Nitro circus would be lost without you .

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