Report: Red Bull X-Fighters 2013 - Mexico
It's three years since the tour last visited the Plaza de Toros Monumental in Mexico City, Mexico. And a sell-out crowd of 38,000 fans packed into the stadium to watch the 2013 Red Bull X-Fighters season opener.
Of course the main focus of the night was for Eigo Sato who sadly died last week while training at his compound in Japan.
Riders gathered together to pay tribute and Ronnie Renner talked to Thomas Pages about Eigo – Thomas said: "We lost our brother [and] best friend. But we're doing freestyle motocross because we love it – it's what we love. I'm sure Eigo wants us to keep going - we're gonna do it for him"
To help support Eigo's family the riders have created a website www.saveabrother.com were fans can go and make a donation and show their love for Eigo.
Back to the night's competition and local boy, Erik Ruiz kicked the tour off with a nice Rock Solid in round one and finished his 60 second run with a nailed Heart Attack.
The young Mexican was up against Australian, Truman Carroll who opened with huge whip followed by a Rock Solid, Kiss of Death and Cliffhanger. He finished with a great Double Grab Heart Attack, which was enough to win over the judges.
Carroll progressed to make it three Australians in the Quarter Finals but he would be matched up against Thomas Pages - the number two from the 2012 tour.
The first Quarter Final had two Aussies facing off with Rob Adelberg getting his 75 seconds run first. And it didn't start off so great when a sidesaddle lander got away from him. But he regained his composure to nail a Cordova Backflip and the rest of his run was equally as good.
Josh Sheehan didn't have the ramp or the room for his signature trick, the Double Backflip so he had to stay consistent through his run to have a shot at the Semi Finals.
Josh started with a big Flatliner and followed up with more well executed tricks including a huge 360. But surprisingly the judges put Adelberg through to the Semi Finals despite the mistake he made on his first trick.
Maikel Melero (Spain) faced Levi Sherwood for the second Quarter Final. Sherwood, the defending Champion had his first tour win in Mexico back in 2009 when he burst onto the scene as a rookie FMXer. And he was one of the favourites coming into the 2013 tour.
Melero was riding with a broken finger but it didn't show – starting his run with an Oxecutioner. Levi started with a Backflip Superman and followed it up very quickly with a Holy Grab.
The judges scored Sherwood higher on all five categories: Energy, Execution, Style, Course and Variety and he comfortably moved into the Semis.
The best Quarter Final of the night had Truman Carroll going head-to-head with Thomas Pages.
Carroll was so unlucky to come up against a really stoked Frenchman. Pages was wearing Eigo Sato's top as his way of honouring his fallen comrade and he sure would have made Sato proud – blowing the crowd away right from the start with his amazing signature trick, the Special Flip.
In the last Quarter Final Dany Torres (Spain) took on Todd Potter (USA) and it was Torres that moved to the Semi Finals.
The first Semi Final head-to-head brought together two tour Champions – Dany Torres and Levi Sherwood. And last year's Champion was always going to have his hands full to get past Torres who just loves the Bull Ring stadium layouts.
Torres took the Variety, Execution, Course and Energy categories with Sherwood just edging out on Style – putting Torres comfortably through into the night's final.
That left Rob Adelberg and Thomas Pages to fight it out for the last spot in the Final.
Adelberg nailed the sidesaddle lander that he so badly messed up in the Quarter's but with the mood Pages was in he just didn't have much of a chance.
Pages grabbed four out of the five categories from the judges and he joined Torres in the Final.
Dany Torres laid down an almost faultless run including his signature trick, the Oxecutioner Flip but against Thomas Pages it just wasn't enough. The Frenchman didn't need to up his game – he just needed to bring the amazing run he first showed the crowd in the Quarter Final.
Once again Pages started with his signature, the Special Flip – following it with a 360. Pages went into the tunnel and came out with another Special Flip but this time with a fist pump – quickly following that up with a Flair off the halfpipe. A few more well executed tricks and a turndown with zero seconds to spare and the win belonged to Thomas Pages.
Pages said: "I don’t know if this will be my year or not. I’ll keep practicing and try to learn new tricks."
A great night for the opening round of the Red Bull X-Fighters 2013 tour with a lot of sadness for the missing Eigo Sato. But all the riders handled the difficult night well and offered some moving tributes to the nicest guy in the pits.
Round two of the tour is on April 12 in the city of Dubai. A very different feel to this one – held Downtown Dubai at the Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard.
By: Andrew HillPictures: Red Bull Content Pool
Published Date: 9 March 2013
Section: Motocross News