Levi Sherwood won the 2012 season opener of the $1 million Red Bull X-Fighters world tour on Friday with a brilliant performance in front of 20,000 spectators on a stunning dirt track set up on the white sands of Dubai’s Jumeirah Beach between the city’s glittering skyscrapers and the Gulf’s turquoise water.

Kicking off the six-month long season with its six stops on four continents, Dubai gave Sherwood his fourth career victory and first since triumphing in London in 2010. Australia’s Rob Adelberg was a surprise second while Javier Villegas of Chile got his first podium with third place.

It was a night filled with upsets as defending champion Dany Torres of Spain and Norway’s Andre Villa, a leading title contender, were both knocked out in the quarter-finals, finishing eighth and fifth. Villa had earlier wept with tears of joy after taking second in qualifying, overcome with emotions that he was able to ride well again after suffering a bad leg injury last season.


Sherwood was clearly on top of his game in the sweltering heat of Dubai, able to once again display his incomparable flexible and fluid style in the world’s most prestigious freestyle motocross competition that will have a total purse of $1 million based on performances and appearance fees.

Villegas was thrilled to get his first podium. “After years of sacrifice I finally made it!” he says. “I’m not going to stop here. I want to be on the podium all season.”


1 Levi Sherwood (NZL)

2 Rob Adelberg (AUS)

3 Javier Villega (CHL)

4 Josh Sheehan (AUS)

5 Andre Villa (NOR)

6 Todd Potter (USA)

7 Edgar Torronteras (ESP)

8 Dany Torres (ESP)

9 Matt Rebeaud (SUI)

10 Eigo Sato (JPN)