The opening round of the 2014 Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour featured an epic freestyle motocross battle that set up the rivalries for a season that will span four continents.
Levi Sherwood, of New Zealand, the 2012 World Tour champion, was the winner, with up-and-comer Josh Sheehan, of Australia, in second place and 2011 World Tour champion Dany Torres, of Spain, claiming third. In a shock to fans and riders alike, 2013 overall champion Thomas Pagès, of France, was eliminated in the quarter finals.
Facing a sold-out crowd of 38,000 in the Monumental Plaza de Toros bullring – and taking on the tightest course of the series decorated with murals of the snake god Quetzalcoatl – the best FMX riders on the planet threw down the tricks they’ve been working on all through the off-season, soaring 15 metres into the sky.
But the battle was close, with Josh Sheehan top in two of the five categories. “I was really trying not to focus on who I was riding against and to just do my best,” said Sherwood. “As the season goes on I’ll continue to push and take my own way.”
“The crowd in Mexico City makes you feel so good and so pumped up," added Sheehan. "This is epic – words can’t describe it.”
Crowd favourite Dany Torres gave a stellar performance despite a nagging ankle injury. Tom Pagès, meanwhile, finished fifth despite a slip in his usually perfect Flair 540 that put a hiccup in the flow of his run.
Red Bull X-Fighters Mexico Results
1. Levi Sherwood (NZL)
2. Josh Sheehan (AUS)
3. Dany Torres (ESP)
4. Adam Jones (USA)
5. Thomas Pagès (FRA)
6. Rob Adelberg (AUS)
7. Javier Villegas (CHI)
8. Maikel Melero (ESP)
9. Libor Podmol (CZE)
10. Remi Bizouard (FRA)
11. Erick Ruiz (MEX)
The riders’ next chance to change their place in the standings will come on May 25, when the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour moves to Osaka, Japan.