The 2016 Red Bull X-Fighters World Series opened with a record-breaking night in Madrid as Tom Pagès turned FMX, and the laws of physics, on its head with another historic win inside the iconic Las Ventas bullring.
Not only did Pagès win a record fourth consecutive X-Fighters event in Madrid, the French rider made further history by landing (repeatedly) the first ever Front Flair in competition, taking FMX into a new era in the process.
Although his finals run was scrappy, by landing the Front Flair – along with his unique Bike Flip, and two Body Varials – Pagès did just enought beat an inspired defending X-Fighter champion Clinton Moore and Double Backflip king Josh Sheehan in the three-man final.
Despite pulling out the Front Flair as early as the first round during the revised format event, Pagès didn't have things his own way at all.
Sore and lacking fluidity in his riding after two heavy crashes during practice, a confident Moore beat him during that first round and Levi Sherwood put up an incredibly strong fight in the semi-final, which might have gone the New Zealander's way had Pagès not nailed his showcase trick.
With Sheehan landing the huge Double Backflip in both opening rounds and Moore able to land his Bundy body varial from the 120 foot ramp, and performing his other tricks with unbeatable precision, Pagès was up against it heading into the final.
First on course, Sheehan washed out the front end of his bike landing a Flair from the quarterpipe and crashed, putting himself out of contention, but Pagès had to land his Front Flair to be sure to beat Moore.
There were were more than a few heavy landings and dragged feet, but with that physics-defying world first Front Flair and Bike Flip nailed, even a milimetre perfect Moore couldn't deny Pagès his place in the history books.
Red Bull X-Fighters Madrid 2016 results
1. Tom Pagès (FRA)
2. Clinton Moore (AUS)
3. Josh Sheehan (AUS)
4. Levi Sherwood (NZL)
5. Maikel Melero (ESP)
6. Rob Adelberg (AUS)
7. Taka Higashino (JPN)
8. David Rinaldo (FRA)
9. Dany Torres (ESP)
10. Adam Jones (USA)
11. Tom Robinson (AUS)
12. Sebastian Westberg (FIN)