UPDATE: October 6 Sydney — Going into the final stop of the Red Bull X-Fighters 2012 World Tour, freestyle motocross rider Levi Sherwood (NZ) needed a dominant performance to follow his season-opening wins and grab the 2012 championship title. Neck and neck with his formidable rival, Thomas Pagès (FR), who won big in Munich, Sherwood blew the judges and the packed grandstands away with a jaw-dropping freestyle run loaded with big-air tricks executed with scientific precision.
“There were a lot of ups and downs during the whole season,” said Sherwood after the end of a fiercely competitive final run with Thomas Pages. With first place wins in Dubai and Madrid, Sherwood was an early favorite for the podium in Sydney. However, setbacks in California and Munich made for an edge-of-your-seat playoff fight for the championship title that included double backflips, flairs, volts, and even a one-handed front flip. Throughout the X-Fighters World Tour, an unmatched perspective of these incredible motocross acrobatics was given to a lucky few fans at each stop along the way. Riding ringsid, the MINI John Cooper Works Roadster was undeniably the best seat in the house.
Dany Torres (ESP) proves you don't need wings to fly.
At the end of the day, Levi Sherwood took first place in Sydney, with Thomas Pagès in second and local favorite Josh Sheehan (AUS), whose run was plagued by two minor crashes, in third. The final overall standings nearly mirrored the podium in Sydney, with Sherwood in first place with 335 points; followed by Pagès in second with 315 and defending 2011 champion Dany Torres in third with 215 points.
The Podium: Thomas Pages (FRA), Levi Sherwood (NZL), Josh Sheehan (AUS)
Never before in X-Fighters competition history has the race for the championship been as tight as it was in Sydney – an appropriate conclusion after months of exciting and unexpected changes at the top of the standings. Now it’s time to look forward to 2013, when Levi Sherwood, the youngest overall champion to date, will return to defend his title from Pagès and the rest of the X-Fighters lineup.
For complete standings, videos, photos and more, head on over to the official competition page here.
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UPDATE: August 11 Munich — Munich's enormous Olympic Stadium was the setting for the penultimate tour of the Red Bull X-Fighters world tour, but those freestyle motorheads didn't have any trouble filling the space - or entertaining the 30,000 thrill-seekers there for the show. As the top 12 riders in the world rolled in to do battle, it was clear that reigning legends Levi Sherwood and Dany Torres would have their work cut out defending their turf. Flying Frenchman Thomas Pages hit the dirt track with a whole new host of mind-blowing tricks, including the Special Flip, the Bolt, and finally the Flare - not seen on a dirt bike since 2009. Despite not doing a single back flip - a trick he has steadfastly avoided for three years - Pages nailed a spectacular victory on the night, edging out semi-finalist Dany Torres and placing himself firmly in the game for the final battle in Sydney this September.
UPDATE: July 20-22 Madrid — More than 20,000 turned up over the weekend to witness the likes of world-class adrenaline junkies Levi Sherwood, Taka Higashino and Maikel Melero tame the mighty motocross dunes with no shortage of Spanish bravado. A fully kitted out MINI JOHN COOPER WORKS WRC also made a cameo appearance, dropping in to the X-Fighters course for a quick run piloted by none other than Spanish rally veteran Dani Sordo.
In the end, it was the fluid, fearless performance and unmatchable agility of Sherwood, the aptly named "Rubber Kid" which stole the show and took home the event's crown. Stay tuned for more from the tour's next stop, August 11th in Munich.
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More About the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour
Extreme sports are all about innovation – and few sports are evolving faster than freestyle motocross. Fueled by the glory that comes with landing the most explosive big air trick, freestyle riders are constantly pushing their physical and creative limits in an attempt to wow spectators and one-up their opponents. With growing legions of thrill-seeking fans around the globe, freestyle motocross has risen to a new level where jaw-dropping records are being broken again and again, and MINI John Cooper Works couldn’t resist getting in on the action.
When it comes to freestyle motocross, no arena is bigger than the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour, and MINI John Cooper Works is proud to be stationed ringside as an official partner. No stranger to high-horsepower thrills, the sporting MINI John Cooper Works sub-brand will be providing an extra boost of adrenaline to the festivities. Past X-Fighters World Tours have taken the world’s best freestyle riders to iconic international locations including the world’s largest bullfighting arena in Mexico City, the Red Square in Moscow, overlooking the pyramids at Giza and London’s Battersea Power Station.
The 2012 Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour will see the world’s most impressive freestyle motocross riders compete for prized points for the championship title in six incredible arenas on four continents.
The 2012 season kicked off on April 13 in front of thousands of motocross freestyle fans on the idyllic waterside sands of Dubai on The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence. In the shadow of the world’s tallest building and the impressive Burj Al Arab, motocross heroes like Andre Villa, Todd Potter and X-Fighters defending champion Dany Torres squared off to launch the six-stop World Tour.
For its second stop, the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour visited the U.S. for the first time in two years. The May 12 return of the sport to the home of motocross in Southern California was held on the largest course in X-Fighters World Tour history: the grounds of the historic Glen Helen Raceway. As early as 1985, Glen Helen played an important role in the development of freestyle motocross as a professional sport. The course first hosted the United States World Championship Motocross in 1991 and still ranks among the most challenging freestyle courses in the world.
The next stop of the World Tour will take the X-Fighters on their first trip to Istanbul on June 16. Beneath the imposing fortress walls of the Yedikule Dungeons, freestyle motocross fans in Turkey will host the third leg of the 2012 season in an arena fit for gladiators. Situated on the banks of the Marmara Sea, where Europe meets Asia, the grounds next to the fortress will be converted into a palatial motocross freestyle stadium, where MINI John Cooper Works will be an honored front row guest. And the growl of the MINI John Cooper Works engines will surely provide some inspiration for the athletes.
Riders are evaluated in all rounds of the competition by five judges, with each one assessing different criteria ranging from the variety of tricks performed, overall execution, style, the use of the course, and the real kicker: energy and entertainment. This five-member panel determines the fates of the riders in the qualifying rounds, and the four caught with the lowest scores face elimination from the rest of the day’s competition.
After the first rounds of the contest, the surviving riders go on to battle their opponents in head to head elimination rounds. Riders are judged in pairs, with one rider from each pair facing sudden death elimination. Last man standing is declared victorious, and the rider with the most points at the close of the six-leg World Tour will be crowned 2012 Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour champion.
The top of the current rider standings is a close toss-up between several of the world’s biggest names in freestyle motocross and there are still four more Tour stops to go. As past X-Fighters World Tours have proven, the unpredictability of this extreme sport means there are always multiple riders in contention for the championship titles.
New heights have already been reached in the first two legs of this season’s competition and fans around the world are preparing to have their minds blown again by their motocross heroes in the months to come. “Red Bull and the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour 2012 are the perfect fit for the John Cooper Works brand,” says Ralf Schepull, Head of MINI Brand Communication. “After all, both partners pride themselves on being unconventional and uproarious, power-packed and action-packed. Together they make an impressive team.” Who knows what new tricks and surprise twists will emerge by the time the Tour continues on to the final legs later this season? We’ll let the roar of those engines be the judges of that.
The Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour Schedule: July 20: Madrid Aug. 11: Munich Oct. 6: Sydney
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