Australia’s Josh Sheehan performed a dazzling show jump in front of the 828-meter high Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the world’s tallest building, to kick off the new season for the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour. Alongside defending world champion Dany Torres (ESP), the world’s best Freestyle Motocross athletes will be chasing a total purse of $1 million.
The world's most prestigious Freestyle Motocross tour kicks off the 2012 season on April 13 on Jumeirah Beach in front of Dubai's breathtaking skyline. Dany Torres of Spain is the favorite going into the six-stop 2012 world tour, competing against a field of 11 of the world's best FMX riders who will be chasing $1 million in prize money and appearance fees this season but Andre Villa of Norway and Josh Sheehan of Australia both believe this will be their year to win the Red Bull X-Fighters championship after showing flashes of brilliance in 2011.
“It’s going to be a real battle for first place with a few riders capable of taking the crown,” said Red Bull X-Fighters sports director Tes Sewell. “Torres is the man to beat,” he added, but said Villa and Sheehan will be hot on his heels as will 2009/10 champion Nate Adams and Robbie Maddison (AUS) once they return from injuries. “This year could prove to have so many surprises with injuries and recoveries – and some young blood in the mix.”
Villa was in the thick of things in the championship hunt in 2011 until a late-season injury sidelined him for the final two races while Sheehan came out of nowhere to upset the favorites and win the season finale in Sydney. Adams of the United States, who finished a close second to Torres last year after winning the championship in 2009 and 2010, is still recovering from a shoulder injury and is not in the lineup for Dubai. Australian Blake Williams also has his eye on the top prize after several outstanding performances in 2011. Other top favorites returning to the action this year after being out with injuries are Levi Sherwood of New Zealand and Switzerland's Mat Rebeaud, the 2008 champion.
The athletes will be leaping up to 30 meters in distance and 15 meters high with their bikes on the course set up on the beach between the glittering lights of Dubai and the turquoise waters of the Persian Gulf.