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THE bATTLE BEGINS! flying into 2012 with the world’s biggest fmx competition

www.redbullxfighters.com


ready to rumble!

RED BULL X-FIGHTERS world TOUR 2012

Survival of the

quickest.

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Cover Photography: Balazs Gardi/Red Bull X-Fighters; Photography: Denis Klero/Red Bull X-Fighters

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R

ed Bull X-Fighters is back! For over a decade, the world’s biggest Freestyle Motocross competition has been taking the sport’s biggesttricking riders to some of the planet’s most jaw-dropping locations in a bid to establish just which one has what it takes to be crowned as the king of the air, and 2012 is shaping up to be the wildest World Tour yet. Starting amid the glittering towers of Dubai, the World Tour will take the biggest stars in FMX on a sixmonth trek around the world. From the hills of Southern California to the ancient ruins of Istanbul and from the bullring birthplace of the series in Madrid to Munich’s huge Olympic Stadium, the competition will get more intense, the tricks

bigger and the crowds crazier until finally, in Sydney, Australia a new ruler of the skies will be crowned. Last year, a staggering quarter of a million spectators followed Dany Torres’ progress to World Tour victory, but now the reset button has been hit. There’s a new crown to battle for, a new set of tricks to master and a whole world of wildness to explore. So saddle up, start your engines and prepare for the ride of your life.

Contents 04 flying lessons Last year’s Red Bull X-Fighters was thrilling but what do the best moments from 2011 tell us about what to expect from this year’s duels in the dirt / 16 wild world The 2012 World Tour has it all – ancient monuments, massive arenas, wide open spaces and the bullrings for which Red Bull X-Fighters is famous. Here’s where and when the riders will throw down this year / 18 Return of the spanish flyer Last year, Dany Torres battled to improbable victories, shrugged off injury and overcame huge pressure to take overall World Tour victory. So what has DT got in store for us this year? / 24 Flying high and fighting fit Each year, the top six riders from the previous year’s final standings get an automatic invitation to each round. Meet this year’s ultimate flying squad / 28 the flight crew Introducing some of the other major stars who’ll be battling for honours on the 2012 World Tour / 30 sliCk triCks Your guide to the tricks to look out for this year / 36 sheeny shining Josh Sheehan might have come to FMX late but the Double Back-Flipping Aussie is shaping up to be one of the sport’s brightest stars in the future. As he embarks on his first full World Tour he explains what he’s hoping to bring to the party 42 open season Red Bull X-Fighters Sporting Director Tes Sewell reveals how this year’s updated rules will make the competition even better / 46 lowdown on the showdown We look at how Red Bull X-Fighters aims to find the best all-round rider in the world


RED BULL X-FIGHTERS world TOUR 2012

The old adage says that ‘those who fail to learn the lessons of the past are doomed to repeat it’. Red Bull X-Fighters is no different and a look through the biggest and best moments from last year’s World Tour offers plenty of clues as to how the 2012 World Tour could shape up...

Location  Dubai, UAE subject  Dany Torres Defending World Tour champion Dany Torres is the man to beat in 2012, but that was far from apparent at the start of last year. A bad qualifying at the opening round in Dubai left him with an uphill task if he was to make it through the crucial head-to-head rounds. Torres is made of stern stuff, however, and dragged out some truly majestic tricks to win through from Round One. He then simply decimated the opposition in the head-to-heads, beating 2010 champ Nate Adams in the semi-final and form rider Andre Villa in the competition decider. Torres’ huge moves and massive determination in Dubai were the shape of things to come, as he then went on to win take the World Tour title, defeating Adams at the final round in Sydney. The lesson is clear: you underestimate DT at your peril. He’ll surely be a major player again in 2012.

Photography: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull X-Fighters

FLYING LESSONS!


RED BULL X-FIGHTERS world TOUR 2012

Red Bull X-Fighters has always been renowned for its great locations but last year’s event in Brasilia set a whole new standard. Located in the heart of the architectural masterpiece that is the Brazilian capital, round two of last year’s World Tour saw a staggering 100,000 crazed fans flooding the city centre to catch the high-flying action. This year the series will try to repeat the spectacle. With the course in Glen Helen, Southern California, shaping up to be the largest the series has ever seen and with the Munich round set for the vast Olympic Stadium and designed as Red Bull X-Fighters’ first competition in the round, massive crowds and eye-popping locations will once again be on the menu!

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Photography: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull X-Fighters

Location  brasilia, brazil subject  huge crowds, massive locations


RED BULL X-FIGHTERS world TOUR 2012

Location  dubai, uae subject  blake williams

Photography: Jorge Ferrari/Red Bull X-Fighters

Prior to 2011, Blake Williams had endured a couple of injury-hit years in which he struggled to find the kind of form that had earned him victory in the Freestyle competition and second in the Best Trick category at X Games 15 in 2009. Last year, however, Bilko bounced back, and with two fourths (in Dubai and Rome) and a superb second to Dany Torres in Madrid, he secured fifth in the overall standings. That achievement has earned him an invitation to every round of this year and there’s every sign that in 2012 Bilko could be a serious contender for major honours.

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RED BULL X-FIGHTERS world TOUR 2012

Location  Rome, Italy subject  andre villa If there’s one rider who should have an overall World Tour title win in his trophy cabinet, it’s Andre Villa. The Norwegian lost out to Nate Adams in 2010 by just five points and last year was leading the Tour standings before the penultimate round in Poznan, Poland. But, as so often happens in FMX, bad luck bit Villa and he crashed out of his qualifying run at the City Stadium. The accident left him with a broken femur and ruled him out of the final two rounds. Who knows whether he would have gone on to win the title had he stayed fit, but one thing’s for sure: there is a Tour title somewhere with Villa’s name written on it. Consistently one of the biggest scorers on Tour – he’s third in the list for most points scored in a single season – and always one of Red Bull X-Fighters’ most stylish competitors, Villa is fighting fit for 2012. Can he at last make it to the finish line in first place?

Last year, Nate Adams was bucking for a third consecutive overall Red Bull X-Fighters Tour win. That he was beaten to the title punch by Dany Torres masks Adams’ 2011 achievements to some degree. The Destroyer took three huge wins in 2011 – in Brazil, Italy and Poland – and was only knocked off the top rung at the final round in Sydney, where injury prevented him from riding. Adams, always ultra-prepared and technically almost perfect, remains FMX’s most complete rider and 2012 should see him right back in the mix for the World Tour title. Make no mistake, he’s still a highly destructive force.

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Photography: Daniel Grund/Red Bull X-Fighters

Photography: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull X-Fighters

Location  Brasilia, brazil subject  Nate Adams


Location  Sydney, Australia subject  Dany Torres RED BULL X-FIGHTERS world TOUR 2012

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Photography: balazs gardi/Red Bull X-Fighters

Every so often a rider comes along who just lights up FMX, and Red Bull X-Fighters is often the platform from which such stellar careers are launched. It happened with Levi Sherwood in 2009 and last year it was the turn of breakthrough Aussie flyer Josh Sheehan. Having made his debut in Rome in 2010 and finished eighth, Sheeny was invited back in 2011 and scored podiums in Madrid and Rome. But it was at home in Sydney that he really came of age. Matched against Dany Torres in the semis he unleashed an unbeatable Double Back Flip to bypass the eventual Tour champ. That he brought the trick out again in the very next round to steal victory from Sherwood showed that he has what it takes to be a major star in the future. Already tipped as a possible 2012 champion, Sheehan reckons he’s added even more to his trick bag and is riding better than ever. It could very well be his year.

Photography: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull X-Fighters

Location  Sydney, Australia subject  Josh Sheehan

He signalled his intentions with a backfrom-the-brink win at the 2011 World Tour opener in Dubai, battled back from injury to take a massive win at home in Madrid and shook off incredible pressure from Nate Adams to eventually lift the title, so what more has Dany Torres to offer in 2012? The answer is simple: confidence. The Spaniard now knows he has what it takes to compete with the best and win through under any circumstances and, in 2012, that will make him a truly formidable opponent.


RED BULL X-FIGHTERS world TOUR 2012

Location  poznan, poland subject  maikel melero

Photography: Lukas Nazdraczew/Red Bull X-Fighters

While Dany Torres was taking all the headlines with his 2011 tour title win, a little further back in the standings another young Spaniard was beginning to make waves. Maikel Melero notched 10th place overall from his four visits to Red Bull X-Fighters last year but it was his progression over the course of those competitions that marked out the rider from Albacete as one to watch. Tenth in Rome was followed by fourth place at home in Madrid, fifth in Poznan and seventh in Sydney. Those results point to a rider on a constant curve of improvement and, when you add in the fact that he has recently been training with Torres, it looks like Melero could well be battling for podium positions this year.

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Wild World RED BULL X-FIGHTERS world TOUR 2012

Red Bull X-Fighters has a reputation for seeking out the biggest, best and craziest locations in which to host FMX battles, and 2012 is no exception. From the glamour of Dubai to the hills of Southern California and from the dungeons of ancient Istanbul to a prison island in Sydney, this year’s tour is shaping up to be an incredible spectacle

No Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour would be complete without a visit to the Plaza de Toros de las Ventas in Madrid. This amazing bullring has been on the calendar for over decade and it has witnessed some truly titanic head-to-head battles in its time. From Robbie Maddison showing off the spectacular Volt Body Varial that earned him victory in 2010 to Dany Torres throwing down an incredible sequence of gravity defying moves to rock his home crowd last year, the competition in Madrid has intensified with each passing year. Perhaps it’s the tight confines that put the always fired-up crowd right at the heart of the frenzied action, or maybe it’s bullring’s tradition as a home of gladiatorial combat but Madrid often sees some of the best action of the whole year.

April 13

For the second year in a row the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour kicks off in the high-glamour surrounds of Dubai’s Jumeirah Beach. With the ocean on one side and the skyscrapers of Jumeirah Walk on the other, the beachfront is transformed into a high-flying playground for the world’s finest FMX riders. Last year Dany Torres announced his Tour title intentions by claiming a stunning victory. The Spanish ace’s triumph was made all the more impressive by the fact that he had to do it after a poor qualifying round saw forced him to battle through the Round One shoot-out. Torres is back in Dubai to begin his defence but with a stellar crew of rivals assembling to take to the dirt and sand, anything can happen.

#2 Glen Helen, USA

#5 Munich,

Germany

May 12

From the ultra-futurism of Dubai, the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour goes back to FMX’s roots for the second tour stop in Glen Helen, USA. The series is returning to the US after a two-year break and where better to put on the biggest competition in FMX than one of the country’s most iconic motocross venues. Glen Helen became famous in 1985 with several sand drag and motocross events and has also been a regular stop for the US Pro Motocross Championship since. The event will feature a massive course, the biggest in the series’ history, and with the unique landscape of Southern California as a backdrop it’s sure to be one of the most mind-blowing stops on the 2012 World Tour.

#3 Istanbul, Turkey

August 11

Red Bull X-Fighters has been hankering for a return to Germany for several years and what better place to do it than at Munich’s massive Olympic Stadium. Dripping with sporting history it’s going to be an incredible venue, especially as the plan is to have the crowd at the centre of the action, in the middle of a huge course designed to bring out the riders’ biggest and baddest tricks. Mat Rebeaud won out when the World Tour last visited Germany in 2008 and Air Mat is back in the saddle again this year. Can he be the master of Munich this around? Time will tell.

#6 Sydney, Australia October 6

June 16

If there’s one thing Red Bull X-Fighters is renowned for it’s the Tour’s penchant for converting historical monuments into ramp-filled courses that bring out the spectacular best in FMX’s brightest stars. After previously riding out at the Pyramids in Egypt, Red Square in Russia and the architectural wonder that is Brasilia, 2012 will see the World Tour head for Istanbul and the forbidding Yedikule Dungeons for Round Three. A castle dating from both the Byzantine and Ottoman empires it’s got everything Red Bull X-Fighters seeks in a venue: it’s ancient, beautiful and big enough to fill with the tonnes of dirt the riders need to get their game on. It should be awesome. 16 

July 20

After six hard months of big-tricking mayhem, Red Bull X-Fighters will reach its finale as it did last year – on Sydney’s incredible Cockatoo Island. Smack in the middle of what is surely the world’s most beautiful harbour, the former imperial prison and shipyard provides a fittingly industrial backdrop for the final round. Last year, Aussie newcomer Josh Sheehan scored his first Red Bull X-Fighters victory by launching a series of eye-popping Double Back Flips to dismiss eventual Tour champion Dany Torres and Levi Sherwood. So what’s going to happen this year? Who knows, but this UNESCO World Heritage site is the only place to be in October.

PhotographyJoerg Mitter/Red Bull X-Fighters (3), imago/Arco Images (1), picturedesk.com (2)

#1 Dubai, UAE

#4 Madrid, Spain


RED BULL X-FIGHTERS world TOUR 2012

Return of

the Spanish flyer

Photography: Balazs Gardi/Red Bull X-Fighters

Dany Torres is back to defend his World Tour title and reckons that while the competition is going to be fierce, it’s his ever-expanding book of tricks that will help keep him on top

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RED BULL X-FIGHTERS world TOUR 2012

f

reestyle motocross riders are often asked to define what they do in a single word. In a sport that rewards bravery, focus and showmanship it’s a tough challenge, but if you were to ask reigning champion Dany Torres the Spaniard would likely say ‘adventure’. In truth, Torres would probably be as hardpressed as any to deliver an answer to the question but when you watch DT ride it’s that single word ‘adventure’ that regularly springs to mind. It’s encapsulated in his pursuit of the biggest, most stylish extensions, in his never-ending quest to expand his repertoire of tricks and in a real desire to always push the envelope and find something in his bike and in himself that pleases him, and by extension the crowd and the judges. It’s been that way since Torres entered the FMX arena aged 15. That was in 2003, back in the infancy of Red Bull X-Fighters, when the young rider from Arahal near Seville was intently watching the likes of local hero Edgar Torronteras take on and beat the already legendary Travis Pastrana. And in a way it’s a combination of those two styles that have informed Torres’ riding since: Spanish flair and an almost casual Mediterranean style melded with the ferocity of Pastrana’s will to win and extreme competitive edge. However, Torres’ road to pre-eminence was no overnight sensation. Dany made his Red Bull X-Fighters debut in 2004 in Madrid and took a solid seventh place.

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The following season he’d moved up to fifth and made the same progression a year later, finishing fourth in the rounds in Madrid and Mexico City. It all pointed to a rider exploring his craft, each time thoughtfully adding more firepower to his expanding arsenal of tricks, so much so that Pastrana himself was left to marvel at Torres’ repertoire. “Dany’s trick list is up to here,” he said. “I’m really impressed!” By 2007, ‘impressive’ was no longer enough for Torres. He wanted to add the word ‘winner’ to any description of his skills. Victory finally came in a venue that he still holds dear, the Plaza de Toros in Mexico City. The world’s biggest bullring brought out the showman in Torres and he nailed an almost perfect sequence of runs to reach a final-round showdown, where he beat another rising star, Nate Adams. The Mexico City win should have been the springboard Torres needed but the joy of winning his first Red Bull X-Fighters event turned to misery as the following two seasons were marred by injury. He bounced back in 2009, however, and took a massively popular home win in Madrid. This time it was the catalyst for success and after a good 2010 campaign, Dany was in prime form last year, even though it started badly. Poor qualifying runs in Dubai meant he had to battle hard to make it out of round one, but showing a new determination, he pulled off some amazing flip tricks to make

Photography: Predrag Vuckovic/Red Bull X-Fighters

“I think I am capable of doing it again,” says Dany Torres of his chances of taking a second Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour title.


Photography: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull X-Fighters, Andreas Schaad for Red Bull X-Fighters

RED BULL X-FIGHTERS world TOUR 2012

Torres believes it’s his vast repertoire of tricks and the ability to learn new variations quickly that have made him one of the world’s biggest FMX stars.

it through to a final-round head-to-head with Andre Villa and even though the Norwegian looked in unstoppable form, Torres nailed his run to take the win. A training accident prevented him from riding in Brasilia but thereafter he matched arch-rival Nate Adams trick for trick and when the Destroyer turned up in Australia nursing an injury, Torres, just 40 points behind in the Tour standings saw his big chance. The pressure was on though. He’d need fourth or better to take the title. Again showing a new resilience, Torres aced his runs and did enough to progress to the semi-finals where he eventually gave best to a fired-up Double Back-Flipping Josh Sheehan. For Torres, the relief was palpable. He’d broken through the pain barrier of his season-long struggle with the injury and dealt with the mounting pressure of being the man chasing the seemingly unstoppable Adams. “Last year for me, I think it was really hard,” he says now. “Leading up to Dubai I had a big crash and after that I wanted to try and 22 

ride in Brasilia, but I couldn’t make it there. Finally we worked hard and now I am really happy.” For Torres, the time since his triumph in Sydney has been all about recovery and reflection. The foot injury was dealt with at the start of the year when he underwent surgery to correct the problems he’d carried all the way through 2011 and the time at home has also given him the chance to process his Tour title win. It hasn’t, he says, been a big problem.

Dany Torres awaits the judges decision prior to victory in Madrid last year. It was his second win of the season on his way to the 2011 World Tour title.

“After that it was just about resting. My foot was not better and it was the same injury that I’d been carrying since before Brazil. It was bothering me during the whole season that is why I decided to have surgery. “To be honest it is very difficult to stay fit in this sport,” he adds. “We perform on the limit due to the fierce competition in the championship. When you spend a whole season performing at such level the probability of suffering an injury is very

  Red Bull X-Fighters is the championship where only the best riders in the world take part. We don’t hold back.” “To be honest things haven’t changed much,” he says of life after being crowned champion. “I’ve had many more interviews with different media but my life is still the same. When I arrived from Australia I had a great welcoming party from my neighbours in my hometown of Arahal and that was a very emotional moment.

high. Red Bull X-Fighters is the championship where only the best riders in the world take part. We all want to win, so generally we don’t hold back, we give our all on each ride.” And Dany reckons that the only place to maintain that fitness is on the bike. While other riders opt for intense training

programmes, the laid back Spaniard believes that there’s no substitute for riding time. “I normally go cycling, do a bit of weight lifting, stretching, but that’s it,” he says of his preparation for the season. “I mostly just spend as much time as possible on my bike.” Preparation time is now over, however, and Torres is facing into a new Red Bull X-Fighters Tour in which he says there are a number of riders who could challenge him for his crown. “It’s very open,” he says. “I said recently that I thought Nate, Josh Sheehan and Levi Sherwood would be the big contenders this year and I still think that. Without a doubt! I think Nate is a big rival, he’s always competitive, is incredibly serious about the sport and always rides well. Josh has great tricks, like the 360º and the Double Back-Flip and Levi just has impossible extensions. “But I have to add André Villa. He’s probably the most delicate rider on Tour, the one with the most style. In this

championship all of the contenders are incredibly talented and any one of them could spring a surprise.” Torres, though, has a skill set all his own, though he is characteristically modest about his abilities. “Ha! It’s difficult to speak of myself,” he smiles, “but I think I have the ability to learn new tricks well and probably I am the rider with more tricks facing up and facing down.” Red Bull X-Fighters Sporting Director Tes Sewell begs to differ. Last year he believes we saw a different Torres, a rider who came of age in 2011. “I think with Dany that in the past he would get frustrated with things and he would give up on himself,” he says. “Last year was different. He became much more of his own man. He’s much more mature, much more commanding in the way he carries himself. Torres is outstanding because he does hold tricks a beat longer than other people.” And now is the time for Torres to prove it and it’s perhaps fortunate that the World

Tour is again kicking off in Dubai, a venue that Torres believes gave him one of his finest Red Bull X-Fighters Tour wins. “I like the fact that there are new stops but I miss places which I love like Mexico,” he says of a schedule that will see Red Bull X-Fighters visit Munich, Germany, Glen Helen in the US and Istanbul, Turkey. “But you know, I also have great memories of Dubai because I think it was my most complicated victory and I had to work really hard for it.” And the Spanish flyer is convinced that having landed one Tour title, a second is more than possible. “I do think I am capable of doing it again and winning any of the events that will take place, but it’s one thing is to see yourself capable but it’s a very different thing to achieve it. “You have to have faith in yourself,” he concludes. “That is why I think I can win but it will be complicated due to the high level of competition. On the other hand I hope that all of us will be able to keep injury free…”


RED BULL X-FIGHTERS world TOUR 2012

Dany Torres

current position:

1

st

390 current points:

Nickname DT Nationality Spain Date of Birth March 10, 1987 Bike KTM 250SX You could say that with championship victory in 2011, Dany Torres came of age. The Spanish flyer had always been one of the Tour’s most gifted practitioners but had never been able to achieve consistency, mostly through injury. He wasn’t without his troubles in 2011 either. A pre-season foot injury would plague him all year but from the moment he battled back from a bad qualifying to win the Dubai round, it was plainly obvious that DT was going to fight to the finish. And he did just that. The win in Dubai was followed by another in Spain, and then a second and third in the final rounds. With chief rival Adams injuring himself in Australia, Torres had done enough to claim his first title. One of the most stylish and flamboyant riders on tour, Dany, should be equally impressive this year. results 2011 Dubai (UAE) 1st / Brasilia (Brazil) - / Rome (Italy) 5th / Madrid (Spain) 1st / Poznań (Poland) 2nd / Sydney (Australia) 3rd

current position:

2

nd

375

Nate Adams

flying high and fighting fit

The top six finishers from the final standings in 2011 get an automatic invitation to every round of this year’s world tour. But can they hold on to their best of the best status? Let’s see how this formidable flying squad is shaping up...

Nickname Nationality Date of Birth Bike

The Destroyer USA March 29, 1984 Yamaha YZ250

The Destroyer needs little introduction. Over the past few years the American has been one of the most fearsome competitors in Red Bull X-Fighters. Last year, he went into the Tour seeking a third consecutive title and if not for an injury that ruled him out of the main event in Sydney he might have won it. Instead, Adams had to watch from the sidelines as Spaniard Dany Torres finished third and stole the crown from his grasp. The Destroyer won’t be happy about that and is sure to come back this year seeking revenge. As perhaps the Tour’s best prepared and most determined rider Torres might just have a major battle on his hands. results 2011 Dubai (UAE) 3rd / Brasilia (Brazil) 1st / Rome (Italy) 1st / Madrid (Spain) - / Poznań (Poland) 1st / Sydney (Australia) 11th

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Photography: Daniel Grund/Red Bull X-Fighters, Lukas Nazdraczew/Red Bull X-Fighters (2)

current points:


RED BULL X-FIGHTERS world TOUR 2012

current position:

3

Andre Villa Nickname Nationality Date of Birth Bike

rd

270

current points:

current position:

4

th

Josh sheehan

230 current points:

Nickname Nationality Date of Birth Bike

None Norway April 27, 1982 Yamaha YZ250

Sheeny Australia February 27, 1986 Honda CRF450R

It was another case of so near and yet so far for Andre in 2011. The Norwegian has been one of the most consistent performers on Tour over the past few years, racking up podium after podium, but while he’s been on the verge of championship victory twice now it’s never quite happened. Last year it was a cruel accident at the penultimate round in Poland that robbed Villa of a shot at the title. The broken femur he sustained meant he missed out on the final round and spent the winter working hard to regain his fitness. He’s done that and now this most elegant of riders will be hoping that he gets another crack at the Tour title and that’s it’s third time lucky.

After a few years of steady improvement, Josh exploded onto the world stage last year with three stunning performances at Red Bull X-Fighters rounds. The farm boy from south of Perth rocked up to just his second Tour event in Rome as a wildcard entry and tricked his way to a third-place podium finish. To show it was no fluke he repeated the feat in the next round in Rome. However, Sheeny really came of age at his home round in Sydney at the end of the 2011 Tour. The hugely talented rider stuck a couple of Double Back Flips to seal his first Tour win. With that kind of form, the sky is genuinely the limit for Sheehan in 2012.

results 2011 Dubai (UAE) 2nd / Brasilia (Brazil) 3rd / Rome (Italy) 2nd / Madrid (Spain) 5th / Poznań (Poland) 8th / Sydney (Australia) -

results 2011 Dubai (UAE) - / Brasilia (Brazil) - / Rome (Italy) 3rd / Madrid (Spain) 3rd / Poznań (Poland) - / Sydney (Australia) 1st

current position:

5

th

215

current points:

Blake Williams Bilko Australia April 4, 1985 Honda CRF250R

185

current points:

EIGO SATO

One the Tour’s most popular riders ‘Bilko’ enjoyed a great 2011 campaign and could have contended for the title had he not missed out on the final two rounds. As it was, he took two fourths – in Dubai and Rome – and a spectacular second place in Madrid, where he was only just edged out by eventual champion Dany Torres. Bilko’s back for more this year and if he can make it to all the rounds and stay upright, he could be a serious contender for major honours.

Nickname Nationality Date of Birth Bike

results 2011 Dubai (UAE) 5th / Brasilia (Brazil) 8th / Rome (Italy) 5th / Madrid (Spain) 2nd / Poznań (Poland) - / Sydney (Australia) -

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6

th

Photography: Red Bull X-Fighters

Nickname Nationality Date of Birth Bike

current position:

None Japan October 30, 1978 Yamaha YZ250

After a tricky 2010, Eigo came back with a big season in 2011, scoring some of his best ever results and bringing a whole new aggression to his riding. Unfortunately, it became a little too wild at the final round in Sydney and Sato under-rotated a Seatgrab Underflip and crashed heavily damaging his ankle badly enough to need surgery. He’s back to full fitness now, however, and raring to go for the 2012 season.

results 2011 Dubai (UAE) 6th / Brasilia (Brazil) 5th / Rome (Italy) 6th / Madrid (Spain) 12th / Poznań (Poland) 3rd / Sydney (Australia) -


RED BULL X-FIGHTERS world TOUR 2012

THE

Meet some of the other major stars who’ll be battling for honours this year

Todd POTTER

Nickname Nationality Date of Birth Bike

Maikel MELERO

Nickname Nationality Date of Birth Bike 28 

none Spain January 27, 1988 Yamaha YZ 250

Nickname Nationality Date of Birth Bike

Nickname Nationality Date of Birth Bike

Air Mat Switzerland July 29, 1982 KTM 250 SX

Javier VILLEGAS

Nickname Nationality Date of Birth Bike

Astroboy Chile 8th December 1983 Yamaha YZ 250

Nickname Nationality Date of Birth Bike

Mike Mason

Mat REBEAUD

None USA August 9, 1984 Honda CR 250

Robbie MADDISON

Rubber Kid New Zealand October 22, 1991 KTM 250 SX

Nickname Nationality Date of Birth Bike

Rob ADELBERG Nickname Nationality Date of Birth Bike

Aldy, Adels Australia November 7, 1988 Yamaha YZ250

Maddo Australia July 14, 1981 Yamaha YZ250

Remi Bizouard

mase usa august 27, 1981 Yamaha YZ 250

Nickname Nationality Date of Birth Bike

Adam Jones Nickname Nationality Date of Birth Bike

none USA july 23, 1984 Yamaha YZ250

none france june 11, 1986 Yamaha YZ 250

Photography: Red Bull X-Fighters

fLIGHT CREw

Levi SHERWOOD


RED BULL X-FIGHTERS world TOUR 2012

WHIP/5

Slick Tricks

A relatively simple trick, demonstrated here by Levi Sherwood. The rider kicks the bike sideways in the air, so that the machine comes to at least a 90° angle before being straightened out for the landing. Whip-based tricks will feature heavily in Round One this year.

ROCK SOLID/6

A variation on the Superman Double Grab. In this trick, the rider extends his legs out behind the bike to resemble the super hero in flight. For the Rock Solid – shown here by Mat Rebeaud – the rider releases his hands, totally detaching himself from the bike. He then catches the bike and uses the grab holes to pull himself back onto the saddle.

Red Bull X-Fighters brings the world’s best riders to the planet’s hottest locations. as for the riders, Well, they just have to bring the sickest tricks imaginable! Here’s your guide to the sport’s baddest moves…

Ratings 1-3 4-6 7-9 10

Tricks your mother could do

Tricks a fmx star’s mom could do

Tricks for real muthas

The mother of all tricks

RULER/5

A move that takes both strength and great balance. The rider – in this case Josh Sheehan – comes off the ramp and throws his feet up towards the sky, while also pushing the rear of the bike down. The name comes from the angle between rider and bike that looks like the hands of a clock pointing to 12 and 6. The flipped variation of this carries an extra few difficulty points and is one of the hardest tricks to get right.

LAZY FLIP/9

DOUBLE HART ATTACK /5 The origin of this trick is the Hart Attack, invented by FMX star Carey Hart. The rider holds the bike at the front and rear, kicking his legs outward. The Double Hart Attack adds an element of a Superman Double Grab, where the rider – in this case Levi Sherwood – performs the Hart Attack, but uses just the rear grip holes, which enables him to extend his legs much further away from the bike. 30 

KISS OF DEATH INDY FLIP/9

The basic Kiss of Death trick involves doing a handstand on the bike, while stretching down to kiss the front fender. It takes some skill, but to do it upside down and with an added Indy variation, where the rider scissors his legs out at angle, takes things to another level. Mat Rebeaud shows how it’s done.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Red bull content pool

A Backflip in which the rider – here it’s Dany Torres – lies back, flat on the seat, with his arms extended during the rotation. While he’s upside down, his body is parallel to the bike. Hardcore!


HART ATTACK INDY FLIP/10

RED BULL X-FIGHTERS world TOUR 2012

Why stop at an upright Hart Attack? Why not flip it, as Levi Sherwood shows? Plus, hoping for more points, the New Zealander adds an Indy variation, just because he can! Technically difficult and requiring great extension this is a massive trick to pull off.

DEAD BODY FLIP/9

For the Dead Body, the rider leans over the front of the bike, while holding the bars and keeping his body horizontal with the bike. Now try that while flipping, like Levi Sherwood. Another huge trick to drag out when the pressure’s really on.

TSUNAMI/7

The key to the Tsunami is to perform a handstand in the air, over the front of the handlebars, while keeping the bike as horizontal as possible, like Andre Villa.

DOUBLE GRAB INDY/4

CORDOVA FLIP/7

With his hands on the grips, the rider brings his feet up underneath the bars, presses his knees to his chest, and then arches his back so that he is looking out over the back fender. All this while pulling a Back Flip! Adam Jones was the first rider to land a Cordova in competition. This is Remi Bizouard’s spectacular take on the trick. 32 

SUPERMAN INDIAN/4

An upright trick that again should feature heavily in the technique-oriented first round. The rider releases his feet from the pegs and extends his legs back, like Superman in flight. Mat Rebeaud adds an Indy variation for style.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Red bull content pool

The standard Double Grab is straightforward enough: Dany Torres grabs the back of the motorcycle with both hands and extends his body off the back of the bike. An added Indy scissor kick lends a bit of flair to what is a classic trick. Another Round One speciality this season.


RED BULL X-FIGHTERS world TOUR 2012

whipped Nine O’Clock /7

Robbie Maddison pulls off a big extension of this trick, in which the rider holds the bike just by the handlebars. He aims to get his body to the nine o’clock position in relation to the bike. Robbie adds a whip too, kicking the bike out for added difficulty.

VOLT/10

Body Varial tricks are increasingly appearing as FMX’s show-stopping moves. And it’s no surprise. These are the toughest tricks in the book. The rider, in this case Robbie Maddison, dismounts and pirouettes his body through 360º, before climbing on board again. Technically extremely difficult, the Volt definitely represents the future for FMX’s big-tricking superstars.

STRIPPER FLIP/8 While performing a Back Flip, the rider puts one leg over the handlebars, while locking the other one behind the bars, as in a Cordova. Again, extension is the key here, and no one does extensions better than New Zealand’s Levi Sherwood.

Tsunami FLIP/8

Levi Sherwood performs a handstand on the handlebars while keeping the bike level. Sounds simple, right? But how about doing it upside down?

As Josh Sheehan demonstrates, the rider’s aim here is to lift himself off the bike and extend his body at the 9 o’clock position. Requires good upper body strength.

CHRIST AIR/5 34 

Similar to a Cliff Hanger – in which the rider hooks his feet under the handlebars and extends his body straight up from the bike – the Christ Air, courtesy here of Robbie Maddison, adds the element of extending the arms out in a redeemer-like pose.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Red bull content pool

NINE O’CLOCK INDY/7


Sheeny shining Josh Sheehan may have come to FMX late but he’s made up for lost time in the best way possible – by winning. Now, the rider who double-flipped to victory in Sydney last year reckons he’s ready for the next step – a Tour title challenge

36 

Photography: Balazs Gardi/Red Bull X-Fighters

RED BULL X-FIGHTERS world TOUR 2012


RED BULL X-FIGHTERS world TOUR 2012

You learned the back flip pretty early on didn’t you? I guess so. I decided I wanted to learn how to flip a mini-bike. So I flipped a pushbike into water to see what that was like. Then I made a little step-up ramp at home and learned to flip the mini-bike on that. It was just obvious to take it to the big bike. The back of our property turns into a sand quarry. It’s pretty open and has big piles of 38 

sand where the loaders drag sand out. I pushed the ramp right up against that and thought it was high enough and soft enough. I figured I wouldn’t get hurt, so I gave it a shot and it worked. I just kept working at it and it got bigger and bigger until I’d taken it up to 23 metres, which is the standard these days. Then a competition came up south of

Was the attraction of FMX that you were learning something new all the time? That’s part of it, but to be honest, the main thing for me was showing off! Jumping is almost like the way I express myself. I think I love the extreme nature of it, the adrenaline rush and just showing off. I definitely feed off the energy of the people watching as well. You go from

Josh Sheehan’s mastery of the Double Back Flip has catapulted him to the forefront of the international field in FMX.

  Jumping is the way I express myself. I love the extreme nature of it, the adrenaline rush, and just showing off.” where I’m from, in Donnybrook, and I just thought ‘why not’. I only had the Back Flip, but I went along, learned a few extra tricks on the day and that was it. I loved racing, I really did, but this was just something new. It felt right. It fitted in with everything I wanted to do. It was about showing off; it was about learning something knew and there was a hell of a lot to learn. I crashed out of that event but they had another event at the end of the year. I trained hard, learned a few new tricks, went back and finished third against a couple of well-known Aussies. That was in 2007. That was the start of it really. Did you realise then that it might be possible to take it further and forge a career in Freestyle Motocross? Not at all! I always thought that a career in FMX was just so far away. I’d started quite late. In some ways I think that gave me the drive and motivation I needed to become what I am today. Having to work to buy the bike and starting late I think gave me even more drive. And after getting that third place, a friend of mine rang some people in the east who did shows and just told them I’d learned the Back Flip. Not many people were doing it then. So, we drove from Perth to Melbourne to do a couple of shows. It was a huge learning curve but I got my name out there and I just couldn’t wait for next competition. It was just such a buzz, it was a whole new world to me and I loved it.

being a kid and just saying ‘look at me, look at me’ to being a little bit older and going out in front of 10,000 people. Being able to amaze them is what this is all about. It’s great to make other people happy. I think that’s the thing really – entertaining people. Having reached that level, the obvious next step would have been to go the US, but you didn’t do that did you? The problem with the sport in Australia is that everyone thinks you have to be in America to do well. But there is a big European market too. I don’t know why but I just naturally turned towards Europe. I went and did some Night of the Jumps events. My manager had some good contacts there and it just seemed the way to go. Everything just opened up for me. Other than X Games, I have very little on in America. It’s just worked out well for me in Europe. My major international debut was in IFMXF events. Someone pulled out of a couple of events and I was asked to fill in. They were happy to have me and I was happy to take the opportunity. Everything kind of grew from there. Then the IFMXF people invited me back for a full season. That was a big thing for me. So, what was your first Red Bull X-Fighters event? That would have been Rome in 2010. It was a bit like how I got involved with the Night of the Jumps. Someone pulled out and I got invited. That was huge for me. Red Bull X-Fighters was a really big

Photography: Balazs Gardi/Red Bull X-Fighters

A

lot of freestyle riders started out on bikes as little kids but your FMX background is a bit different isn’t it? Yeah. A lot kids are racing at 10-years-old but it wasn’t like that for me. I didn’t get my first proper bike until I was 14. My family comes from a small town about two hours south of Perth, in Australia. It’s a small town of about 2,000 people, a small farming area. We have a 200-acre farm near a lot of bushland. We had a fairly quiet life out there in the country. It was a good upbringing. I’d always watched the Crusty Demons movies. I learned to ride a farm bike when my dad allowed us to, we had a quad, and I used to buy the movies and read the magazines. I worked hard and bought my first bike, built a couple of small jumps and started trying out some tricks. I don’t know what it was: I just always loved showing off. My brother’s the same – anything to get a bit attention. It was all just guesswork. We built a small dirt jump and I learned a few basic tricks. The magazines helped a lot. They’d do reports on suspension and handling techniques and how to set a bike up. I’d read those and try different things on the bike. My brother helped me a lot with the mechanical side. We just learned by experimenting, pulling apart small bikes when we were young. I think I have a mindset geared towards that. I don’t like not knowing what’s going on. I’d pull everything apart to see how it all worked. When I got my driving licence and could go places, some friends and I started racing, doing motocross. On the weekends we’d just learn tricks for fun.


RED BULL X-FIGHTERS world TOUR 2012

sheehan rising 2011

1 st 4th 1 st 3rd 3rd 1 st 40 

New Zealand Farm Jam Red Bull X-Fighters, Overall Red Bull X-Fighters, Sydney, Australia X-Games 17, Best Trick Los Angels, USA Red Bull X-Fighters, Madrid, Spain Night of the Jumps, Penza, Russia

charting Josh’s fmx journey

3rd 1 st 1 st 1 st

Red Bull X-Fighters, Rome, Italy Night of the Jumps, Munich, Germany Night of the Jumps, Hamburg, Germany Night of the Jumps, Basel, Switzerland

2010

8th

2009

2nd

Narrogin Revheads, Australia

2008

1 3rd 2nd st

AFMX Contest Brisbane, Australia Narrogin Revheads, Australia South OZ FMX Champs, Australia

2007 Red Bull X-Fighters, Rome, Italy

3rd

Narrogin Revheads, Australia

You did three rounds last year and you really seemed to step up a notch. Did you feel that you had made a major step forward? Yes and no. I didn’t really feel a conscious improvement. I was trying to learn these new tricks, like the 360º. It was something I’d tried the year before but hadn’t really nailed but eventually it came together. Then, when I came back and won a bunch of IFMXF events and got a third at Red

that standard for myself but I think it needed to be done. I went to Cam Sinclair’s house in the weeks leading up to the round in Sydney and we both practiced the Double Back Flip, so I went into it well prepared. But it wasn’t until I came up against Dany Torres that I knew I’d have to do it. At the start of the day I had included it in my run but it was incredibly stressful. I knew I could win it if I could do the Double Flip but it was always there almost as a last resort. But I told myself ‘I’m not leaving here without a win’. I was really nervous all day thinking about it. I put it in at the end of the run because I wanted the big finish but then I was worried that I’d run out of time not get it in. But then, against Dany, I nearly crashed and my mind totally cleared then. I knew I

 Even without the Double Back Flip, I’ve now got the Ruler Flip and the 360º plus some good variations. I think I’ve got good variety. And I know that with practice I can get in a few bigger tricks as well.” Bull X-Fighters in Rome, I suddenly thought, ‘hang on a minute, I’m doing 360ºs, Ruler Flips and all these trick variations that I haven’t done before’ and it began to sink in that I was actually right up there with all these guys. I can see that now, but there’s still something in the back of my mind that says I’m not quite there yet, that I still need to train hard and get better. But that’s good. It’s great motivation for me and keeps me driven. Then there was Sydney. That was something quite special, bringing the Double Back Flip to your runs. Yeah, Sydney was huge. I did my first Double Back Flip at X Games, so I guess I just set that limit for myself in Sydney. The expectation was high from everyone so it had to be done. It worked all right at X Games and I was pretty confident with it. So, coming into Sydney I knew I had a good range of tricks and I knew that if I added the Double Back Flip to that list I would be pretty much invincible. I put a lot of pressure on myself in setting

had to do it to redeem myself and after that I was totally relaxed about it and it worked – really well! So what about this year? You’ve proved you can mix it with the best, so what are your hopes for 2012? It’s a tough one. I know that I have one round I can’t do, which is the event at Glen Helen in the US, because I’ve signed up to do Nitro Circus Live in Australia. It’s great to do that event but a bit of a shame

in terms of Red Bull X-Fighters because Glen Helen is definitely one the biggest rounds and I would have loved to do that one. But I’ll be at all the other rounds, so I’ll just have to be really focused for those five events. In terms of the World Tour itself, I know that even without the Double Back Flip, I’ve now got the Ruler Flip and the 360º and some good flip variations. I think I’ve got good variety. And I know that with practice I can get in a few bigger tricks as well. The thing with Red Bull X-Fighters is that it’s all about consistency. Obviously, you want to win every competition you enter, but if I can stay up there and get some good results then I think I be there or thereabouts at the end of the year. So you’re feeling good about this season’s campaign? Yeah, definitely I’m feeling good. I’ve got to say, it’s been a bit of a slow start to the year because I had some shoulder reconstruction but it’s going great now and strangely that’s given me a lot of motivation. I’ve been riding tracks and I feel like I’m ready to go. I’ve got a few weeks before we kick off in Dubai so it’s just about training now and getting in the best shape I can. After that, who knows, but I’ll give it my best shot.

Photography: Andreas Schaad/Red Bull X-Fighters

Photography: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull X-Fighters

experience and massively exciting. I was so keen to do well and really wanted to make a big impression on everyone there. I did alright but I think I was a little bit reserved. I didn’t want to push too hard, stuff it up and hurt myself. I got it done, qualified OK and finished in eighth. It helped me a lot coming into 2011.


RED BULL X-FIGHTERS world TOUR 2012

Open

 The way the riders will impress the judges is by really extending these tricks, by showing great technique and by holding the tricks just a beat longer.”

Season With updated rules putting the focus on supreme technique and inspired riding, this year’s Red Bull X-Fighters World tour is shaping up to be a classic, says Sporting Director Tes Sewell

42 

the foundations of the sport. In a way, we want to get back to that. What that change will do for the spectators is really emphasise those ‘classic’ tricks and the technique of the riders. The spectators will get a real appreciation of what the riders are doing. The way the riders will impress the judges is by really extending these tricks, by showing great technique and by holding the tricks just a beat longer. Was it also done to build excitement through the event, so that we start with quite simple tricks and progress to the really big stuff? Not really. You can still pull the big guns out in Round Two, so it’s not like we’re limiting riders. What you have to remember is that in Round One it’s the bottom six riders who compete. They’re earning the right to ride in the head-to-head rounds. So it’s all about perfect technique. In Round Two and beyond you’ll see a lot of the bigger tricks but by then the spectators will understand what they’re looking at. Was it also a way of limiting the risk, stopping riders reaching for their

Photography: Balazs Gardi/Red Bull X-Fighters

I

t’s a new-look Red Bull X-Fighters this year and you’ve made some fairly fundamental updates to the rules of the opening rounds in the main event. Can you explain what those changes are and the reasoning behind them? It kind of started last year. What we did then was change some of the time lines in each round because we were trying to mix things up and put a little bit more strategy into the game. Last year when we came into round two it was 90 seconds and then when we went into the semi-finals that was a 75-second run. The reason for that was that in the past we saw that a lot of guys would come in, practice one run and then they would just keep to that run the whole way through the competition. Those changes last year worked well. So what we’ve done now is take the concept a step further. Now, the riders really have to strategise, because, not only do you have a different time limits, but we’ve also changed the formats. That’s a big change. In round one we’ve decided to forbid the riders doing the Back Flips and 360ºs etc and what we’ll see is what are typically regarded as the older generation of tricks,


biggest and perhaps most dangerous tricks all night? Honestly, I think that may be a positive side effect, in that it may result in guys not doing Double Back Flips four times a night, but it wasn’t done for that reason. Look at it this way: in Round One it’s rare to have one of the really top riders competing because they normally qualify

Now, the second round is much more relaxed in terms of time, and limiting it to six tricks means that the riders will have plenty of time to get the trick done, and once they have done it there’s more opportunity to have some fun and pump the audience up. And hopefully that interaction will lead the riders to go bigger. It feeds off itself in that regard.

  If you give the Red Bull X-Fighters riders a chance to interact with the crowd, they will go for it. It’s Freestyle Motocross – these guys just love showing off.” well. Or at least that’s the presumption. We learned in Dubai last year that it doesn’t always work that way: Dany Torres ended up having to fight through Round One and he won the competition. But what you’ll mostly get is either guys like Torres, who’ll have to go back to their roots and find the tricks that they might have shelved because they’ve been trying to pull huge back flips or 360ºs, and you’ll also have up-and-comers who might have fantastic extension on the bike but who might not be super strong in other areas. This will give them a chance to get out of the first round and play with the big boys. It just mixes things up a little bit. The ultimate justification for it, though, is that Red Bull X-Fighters should show us the all-round best Freestyle Motocross rider. If you look deep into the judging criteria that’s what we’re always looking for and that’s what we should really reveal. Moving on to Round Two, which you’re calling Six Sick Tricks. Why are you limiting the number of tricks a rider can perform in this round? The idea stems from the event we had in Egypt in 2010. What we learned there was that if you give the guys a chance to interact with the crowd, they will go for it. It’s Freestyle Motocross – these guys just love showing off. But what we did in the past was give them a time limit for the run, which didn’t work. They fixate on trying to get as many tricks in as possible within that time limit. The crowd interaction goes down and it’s not as much of a spectacle. 44 

The other thing we’ve done this year is that now it’s entirely a purse-based event. No one gets paid any fees and the total season-long purse is more than a million dollars, which is a pretty big deal for the world of Freestyle Motocross. Looking beyond the rules and turning the attention to the riders. It seems that some of the big stars, such as Nate Adams and Robbie Maddison, are now being regularly challenged by a new breed of riders. Are we seeing a changing of the guard, as perhaps happened when guys like Nate and Mat Rebeaud took the fight to the first generation of superstar riders like Travis Pastrana? The younger guys are really starting to develop – the likes of Robbie Adelberg and Levi Sherwood. The difficulty is that they’ve been really challenged with injuries over the past couple of years. Think about Levi in Moscow back in 2010: he was unstoppable. Then he got injured and we didn’t see much from him last season. I think his real comeback will definitely be 2012. Robbie Adelberg was the same last year. He was riding exceptionally well and then crashed out in Australia. He had a definite podium shot in Sydney but it didn’t happen. So now it’s a question of: how do these guys come into this season? Are they fully fit and ready to go. In terms of the challenge they pose to the established stars is that I think what we’re actually heading for is an era in which

you’re never quite sure who’s going to win on any given day. I think that is a much more interesting scenario than a changing of the guard. If you look at any round this year, it could be Dany Torres, it could be Nate Adams, but it could equally be Robbie Adelberg or Josh Sheehan or Sherwood or even Javier Villegas. That’s six, and that’s not counting ‘Bilko’ Williams. There is a big group of guys who are all operating at the same level. Plus, there are new stories like Todd Potter, who reaffirmed his focus on the sport at the end of last year, and who has really been putting time in on the bike. He’s one of the most naturally gifted riders we have. And who knows what else they’ve been growing in the petri dishes in Australia! I have to say, though, that for a lot of the young guys it’s very difficult. Without having big backyard courses or efficient foam pits, it’s tough for those guys to get the polish they need. That’s where Robbie Adelberg came good last year. His change in focus was pretty marked last year. Levi was the same in a way. He now knows the very serious downside of the sport. He hadn’t really seen it before. He’d just dance around on his bike and have a good old time. I definitely think that’s changed now. Does it require better focus now? Has the sport got to that stage of its development where it’s no longer the preserve of showmen but now requires a top sportsman’s approach? You have to be focused and committed. There’s so much depth to the sport. Nowadays, it’s not enough to have these right-side tricks, it’s not enough to just have your Back Flip combo tricks. Now, you have to have a 360º in your repertoire. A lot of riders are now learning Body Varial tricks because having that in your repertoire is that important. But to get to that point, you have to stay healthy. You can’t just go out there, ride your bike and hope you’ll come out on top. You have to focus on staying fit, you have to concentrate on what do you need to do off the bike: training, nutrition, mental preparation – everything.

Photography: Balazs Gardi for Red Bull X-Fighters

RED BULL X-FIGHTERS world TOUR 2012

“I would say that my dark horse for this year is Josh Sheehan,” says Sewell.

So who do you see as the contenders for this year’s Tour title? I would say that my dark horse for this year is Josh Sheehan. After seeing his progress over the course of last year and then seeing his ability to shake off problems in Australia, that kid really does have it all. He has so much Pastrana in him. It’s amazing. Prior to last year he didn’t have the maturity level he needed. He’d never really done big events before but then he started coming out of doing IFMXF events, where he won six in a row, and I think he simply blossomed at the right point. It seemed to click in his mind. When you deal with Josh he’s just an awesome, humble, easygoing guy. You will him to be successful. Do you think that Nate Adams and Dany Torres will feature among the winners this year? Both were in really impressive form last season. Obviously you’ve got the Nate and Dany scenario but both of those guys are coming back from injury, so we don’t really know what to expect from them. Alternatively, if Levi Sherwood comes back with everything together and really

mentally attacks the season then I’ve got a feeling he could light it up again, but only if he stays upright and wheels down for the whole season. He needs to come back fresh and fit. When he’s happy and positive and not over-thinking everything then his riding is just spellbinding. That’s the Levi we all hope will show up. We’ve also got some pretty different locations this year. What attracted you to this set? Istanbul for example? Istanbul will be fantastic. It’s a castle in the middle of the city. It’s just one of those cool sites you would not expect to have anything like a Red Bull X-Fighters event in. You just wouldn’t conceive of doing something like this there, which makes it absolutely perfect for us! We also have Munich, and that’s a chance for us to go back to Germany, which we’ve wanted to do for a while. It’s also a chance for us to build a big course in a big central venue. It’ll be unique in that, for the first time, we’ll be able to have spectators inside the course. It’s a bit like Rome last year, at the Stadio Olimpico. You’ve got this great space but you want to bring

 I have no clue who’s going to win it, or who’ll win any of the stops. That’s the best thing you can say about any series.”

people closer to the action. We went with that concept for the Munich stop. The US round is really an opportunity to again go back to the roots of the sport. It’s been a couple of years since we went the US as well. It’s riding in the desert and riding in the hills. The great thing about Glen Helen is that it has fabulous terrain. That’s what motocross guys know it for. We’ll build a course that’s more of a freeride course because we’ll incorporate the hills into the course. It will be quite different. And it will be the biggest course we’ve ever had. So, we have some new rules, new venues and the possibility of a new rider pecking order. Is that the recipe for a good Tour? New venues always make it good and this Tour is great in that regard. From the biggest course we’ve done, in the US, to another of those crazy ancient sites that just fit so well with what we do, it will be really good. But I think the fundamental thing with this year’s World Tour is that I have no clue who’s going to win it, or indeed who might win any of the stops, and that’s the best thing you can say about any competition. In the past couple of years Nate was the guy to beat but I don’t think that’s necessarily true anymore.


RED BULL X-FIGHTERS world TOUR 2012

The Riders

Lowdown on the Showdown Qualifying

CHOOSING THE DIRTY DOZEN

By Digging deep into the riders’ reserves of bravery, showman­s hip and dazzling skill, Red Bull X-Fighters aims to find the all-round best FMX rider on the planet. Here’s how it works…

Six of the 12 slots are filled by the top six riders from the previous year’s Tour. Thus, the top six finishers of 2011 are given an automatic invitation to each round of the 2012 Tour.

The Battle Begins

The Qualifying round takes place the day before the main event and each of the 12 riders is permitted two 90-second runs. The competitors ride in order of tour ranking, with the previous year’s finishing positions being used at the Tour’s first event in Dubai. If there are riders without a Tour ranking then those riders will be handed a start order by random draw, where the first rider drawn will be the first to ride and each successive unranked rider will start in order until all unranked riders have started. Official results will be distributed after the completion of the session. Qualifying is ranked according to the riders best run score, where the highest rider’s score will be ranked as #1.

01

02

03

04

05

06

The six riders ranked highest in Qualifying automatically progress to Round Two of the main competition.

07

09

08

10

11

12

Fight for Your ride

Four places are available to Open Category riders. If an one of these riders finishes in the top six at any event, he is automatically be invited to compete at the next round.

Round two

six sick tricks

vs.

04

Winner Heat 1 The main event begins with a face-off involving the six bottom-ranked riders from Qualifying. The riders take to the course in order of qualification, starting with the lowest ranked. Each rider has one 60-second run in which to impress the judges. The two highest scoring riders from this round will win a place in the head-to-head rounds, where they will compete as seeds #7 and #8.

1st

Two Wild Card riders are selected for each event, based on the belief that they will bring something special to the round.

A revision to this round for 2012 means the riders are now restricted to just six tricks, cranking up the tension and the showmanship as the riders begin to pull out the big guns in this head-to-head round. Riders take to the course in a series of heats organised by ranking order, with the lowest ranked – the rider who received with the second highest score in round one – meeting the top ranked rider from qualifying. After each run, the rider goes a pre-designated position to watch his replays on the big screen. The rider waiting to perform will wait at the Hot Spot, remove his helmet and watch the other rider’s run. After the second rider’s run, both wait at a predesignated position for the judges’ decision.

05

The bottom six then battle it out in Round One for the right to compete in the head-to-head rounds.

round One

The field at a Red Bull X-Fighters event is limited to 12 riders. At certain Tour stops riders may be invited to a pre-qualifying event, where ‘open’ spots in the field of 12 will be filled. Red Bull X-Fighters rules apply for all pre-qualifying events. Should one or more riders be injured during training or qualifying sessions and are unable to compete, the organisation reserves the right to invite replacement riders into the competition.

06

vs.

03

07

Winner Heat 2

vs. Winner Heat 3

08

vs.

2nd Winner Heat 4

No inverted rotational tricks In Round One, riders are forbidden from using inverted tricks such as Back Flips, Front Flips, 360ºs or Body Varials. The emphasis here is on pure technique. Great extensions, style and showmanship are what counts. 46 

semi-finals

02

01


RED BULL X-FIGHTERS world TOUR 2012

semi-finals 01

vs.

Winner

The fantastic four

04

Here, the winner of Heat One in Round Two faces the winner of Heat Four and the winner of Heat Two faces the winner of Heat Three. Each rider gets a 90-second run and the lower-seeded rider of each pair rides first. As in Round Two the first rider of a pair goes a predesignated position to watch his replays on the big screen.

02

Loser

vs.

Winner

03 Loser

What’s the Score? At each Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour stop, 100 points are awarded for first place, 80 for second, 65 for third, down to 5 points for 12th place. As the tour heads toward the final round, riders have the chance to discard their lowest single Tour-stop score under the Throw Out Rule. This rule applies to all riders who compete in all Tour competitions prior to the final stop. A rider’s lowest Tour stop score can be thrown out and the remaining stops are then totalled to give an adjusted points score prior to the start of the final round. If a rider misses one stop prior to the final event due to medical or personal issues that are considered legitimate in the opinion of the Tour Sport Director then that one stop can be counted as that rider’s Throw Out.

02

Third Place run-off

100 points 80 points

The Best of the Rest

finals

01

48 

04

The two beaten semi-finalists meet in a head-to-head run-off to determine which rider takes home the prize for third place. The lowest-seeded rider kicks off the battle and each rider gets 90 seconds in which to convince the judges that he deserves the final podium spot. In the event that the run-off cannot be held due to time constraints, third place will be awarded to the highest qualified loser from the semi-finals.

55 points

07

There can be only one

The big one. With a major cash prize and 100 ranking points at stake, the two victorious semifinalists each get 120 seconds to bring out their wildest tricks and biggest crowd-pleasing moves. After the second rider’s run, both wait at a pre-designated position for the judges’ decision. With the adjudicators looking for a perfect blend of trickery, technique and talent the winning rider will have to deliver a near flawless couple of minutes of high-octane action. However, by the end of the event, the king of the dirty dozen will have been found.

vs.

02

03

vs.

30 points

04

10 Winner

01

Loser

15 points

3

t

rd

2

nd

1

st

03 65 points

05 45 points

08 25 points

11 10 points

06 35 points

09 20 points

12 5 points

he small print In the event of a Tour points tie, the highest number of first place finishes during the season will break the tie, working down the order of placings until all are exhausted. In the event a tie still exists, the highest number of second place finishes will break the tie. This process will continue until all finish places have been exhausted. The maximum number of riders from any one country at an individual event is limited to four. The only exception to this rule is if a fifth rider from a specific country is awarded the final Wild Card entry at an event.

An updated Tour ranking list will be posted online at www.redbullxfighters.com

Running the Rule How the Judging works

Each Red Bull X-Fighters event is presided over by five judges, who will each mark the riders in one of five categories. These are:

1

2

3

Variety

Challenge & Execution

Form & Flow

4

5

Use of course

Energy, Excitement & Entertainment

Head Judge

The Head Judge is solely responsible for indicating when time expires on a run. If, in the mind of the Head Judge, a rider is considered to be ‘on approach’ to a jump when the time clock reaches zero, then that jump (or series of jumps in a doubledouble or six-pack) will count towards the rider’s final score. The Head Judge will also have the ability to change any single score or group of scores and makes the final decision in any tie-breaker situations. Qualifying and Round one In Qualifying and Round One the judging panel features the five judges, plus one Head Judge. They award each rider a score from 1-100 points. The final score is then based on an average of all five judges’ marks. Round two to Final – Head-to-Head rounds In the head-to-head rounds each judge will award each of the paired riders a score out of 100 points. The rider of the pair with the highest score from a single judge will win that judge’s vote. Whoever gets three or more judges’ votes out of five will win the match-up.


RED BULL X-FIGHTERS world TOUR 2012

2012 Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour Dates

DUBAI uae / 13 April Glen Helen USA / 12 may Istanbul turkey / 16 june MADRID spain / 20 july Munich Germany / 11 August SYDNEY Australia / 6 October

Photography: Lukas Nazdraczew/Red Bull X-Fighters

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publication RED BULL X-FIGHTERS MAGAZINE #1 / 2012 / rome publisher Red Bull GmbH, Am Brunnen 1, A-5330 Fuschl am See produced by Red Bulletin Corporate Publishing, Heinrich-Collin-Str 1, A-1140 Vienna, www.redbulletin.com printed by R.R. Donnelley Europe Sp. z o.o.

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Red Bull X-Fighters Mag 2012 - Dubai