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Frenchman upsets favorites in Glen Helen Qualifying

Tom Pages is happy after his qualifier win © C. Pondella -

Frenchman Thomas Pages was the surprise winner of Qualifying on Friday for the second stop of the $1 million Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour ahead of Saturday’s competition at 2 p.m. at the iconic Southern California venue with Eigo Sato of Japan taking second and American Todd Potter in third.

World Tour favorites Levi Sherwood and Dany Torres struggled to find their grove on the biggest Red Bull X-Fighters track ever built and were far behind the leaders in sixth and seventh place, respectively. Pages impressed the judges on a bright and sunny day with a scintillating body varial and strong ride with jumps of up to 30 meters in distance and 15 meters high. Sato and Potter scored points with their solid rides and courageous leaps up and down the 60-foot high step-up. Many of the top riders elected to avoid the most intimidating step-up ever built, which did not go down well with the judges.

“It’s a big surprise because I’m not a favorite and I didn’t think I was very good on a big course like this,” said Pages, who is coming back to the circuit after leaving following the 2009 season. “I just gave the judges what they wanted to see. I never listened before to what they wanted to see. This time it was like: ‘Okay, you want energy, flow and entertainment?’ Okay, I’ll give you that.”

Sato, who is suffering from a sore back and injured leg, was also surprised by his strong Qualifying result: “This is an American track and it’s so huge. I didn’t think I could do this well after crashing this morning in training. Everything went well.” American Wes Agee, one of only five riders to tackle the 60-foot-high step-up, was fourth behind a visibly annoyed Potter, who had hoped to do even better than third, and the third American in the field, Nick Dunne, took a solid eighth.


Red Bull X-Fighters Glen Helen (USA) Qualifier Result

1. Thomas Pages
2. Eigo Sato
3. Todd Potter
4. Wes Agee
5. Rob Adelberg
6. Levi Sherwood
7. Nick Dunne
8. Dany Torres
9. Javier Villegas
10. Maikel Melero
11. Martin Koren
12. Andre Villa



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