The world’s most prestigious Freestyle Motocross event celebrates its 15th anniversary in Spain’s capital this month and the pressure will be squarely on Tom Pages’ slender shoulders at the Red Bull X-Fighters extravaganza at the Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas when the fabulous Frenchman will attempt to win in Madrid for a record fourth straight year.
Pages, who already carved his name into the record books with his third consecutive win at the world’s most competitive event in the Spanish capital last year, will be back in town on June 24 trying to win the 2016 Red Bull X-Fighters title at Madrid’s 15 years anniversary with the leaps of up to 30 meters in distance and 15 meters high on his two-stroke Yamaha once again after recording stylish victories in front of the frenzied and knowledgeable crowds in the bullring in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
“For sure, I am feeling the pressure and the excitement at the same time because the people in Madrid are waiting for me,”Pages said. “I want to win for the fourth time. It’s positive pressure. It’s amazing. It’s surreal. To win once was amazing, twice was unbelievable but three times in a row was totally insane. I am so ready for a fourth title.
“Madrid is the oldest and most mythical competition in our sport. It’s part of FMX history. Winning three times was totally exceptional. That streak has to keep going now.”
But Pages, who just claimed the gold medal during X Games’ Best Quarterpipe competition will be in for the fight of his life against the reigning champion – Clinton Moore.
The Australian ace will be back in action in Madrid after a brilliant 2015 season, in which he won three of the five stops. Moore also came out on top of Pages in their pressure-packed showdown for the 2015 championship at the season finale in Abu Dhabi.
The sport’s two aces, along with ten other top riders, will have plenty of new tricks up their sleeves for the eagerly awaited Red Bull X-Fighters event in Madrid, which has traditionally been the venue for the world’s most breathtaking FMX stop for 15 straight years. Madrid has been the stop where riders have introduced pioneering new gravity-defying tricks. Pages said he has developed a new Front Flip Flair especially for Madrid.
Spain’s Torres, who won Madrid twice in 2009 and 2011, and Sherwood of New Zealand, who is also duly proud of his one victory in Madrid in 2012, will also be in the field attempting to stop the Frenchman and claim the victory. Also competing will be Australia’s Rob Adelberg and Japan’s Taka Higashino – both of whom have won stops in the past and are capable of winning in Madrid.
Spain’s Maikel Melero and David Rinaldo of France will round out the field along with two Novilleros, or aspiring young guns, who have been picked by fans and a Red Bull X-Fighters sport committee after submitting videos of their best tricks.
Sebastian Westberg, the first rider from Finland to compete in a Red Bull X-Fighters event, received the most fan votes for his video while Tom Robinson of Australia impressed the sports committee that included sports director Tes Sewell, Torres and Sherwood. “Novilleros” is a term for young bullfighters in Spain who get their first taste of the action.
“I’ve been watching Madrid live on the redbullxfighters.com website for years and I was planning to go watch it in Madrid this year anyhow,” said Westberg, admitting he was thrilled to get picked by fans in the first-time vote but vowed he would not be daunted by the crowd of 20,000 in Madrid – twice as big as any crowd he has ever performed before.
Robinson has more experience in front of large crowds in Australia but has also only seen the Madrid spectacle on TV before. “My excitement definitely outweighs the nerves,” said Robinson, who has trained a lot with Adelberg and sees his compatriot as the favourite to win. “I’ll be a little nervous when I get there but I love riding in front of huge crowds.”
Riders List: Clinton Moore (AUS), Tom Pagès (FRA), Dany Torres (ESP), Levi Sherwood (NZL), Maikel Melero (ESP), Rob Adelberg (AUS), Taka Higashino (JPN), David Rinaldo (FRA), Josh Sheehan (AUS), Adam Jones (USA), Sebastian Westberg (FIN), Tom Robinson (AUS)
Judges List: Alvaro Dal Farra (ITA), Alexey Kolesnikov (RUS), Todd Potter (USA), Edgar Torronteras (ESP), Ronnie Renner (USA), Drake McElroy (USA)
Watch it live!
Red Bull X-Fighters Madrid will broadcast live on redbullxfighters.com and Red Bull TV on June 24 at 10pm CET. Red Bull TV is available on connected TVs, gaming consoles, mobile devices and more. For a full list of supported devices, visit about.redbull.tv.