The second stop of the 2013 Red Bull X-Fighters world tour turned into a battle of champions Friday night in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, with 2011 champ Dany Torres beating out 2012 champ Levi Sherwood in finals.
"I'm really happy with the victory here: it was really hard to win here because the level is really high," Torres said, in a podium interview after the competition. "I'm really happy with the first place."
The Spanish rider beat out French rider David Rinaldo in head-to-head quarterfinals and Australian rider Rob Adelberg in semifinals on his way to the match-up with New Zealand rider Sherwood, and his win puts him on top in the overall X-Fighters standings as the series heads to Glen Helen Raceway on May 11 in San Bernardino, Calif.
"Now when I leave to my home I want to practice really hard for the next installment at Glen Helen, because there the track will be different," Torres said. The course at Glen Helen favors freeriding specialists comfortable with massive jumps, and could pose podium shakeups and some surprises in the overall standings, as it did when U.S. rider Todd Potter won there last year.
The course in Dubai favored more technical riding, however, and the biggest surprise of the day was a crash from French rider and technical master Tom Pagès, who won the X-Fighters opener in Mexico City last month and came into Dubai as the overall tour leader.
Pagès took a long break from backflip tricks after an injury in 2009 to focus on innovative body varials and other new tricks, establishing himself as the one guy who could win major events without getting his bike upside down. But he has been dabbling with them again recently and crashed after a Hart Attack backflip attempt near the end of his semifinals matchup with Sherwood in a run that featured his signature Special Flip and a Volt Body Varial. He might have otherwise been unbeatable, especially because he'd planned to unveil a new flair Superman combo if he'd made it to finals.
"I was really scared but I did good," Pagès said, nursing a scraped-up arm but otherwise OK after the crash. "I've got confidence and I'll be back. I don't really know what went wrong … you've just got to go for it and stop thinking." Prior to Saturday's contest Pagès acknowledged he's less concerned about winning than about pushing himself, progressing his sport, and bringing new tricks.
Torres, Pagès, and Sherwood now hold the top three spots in the overall series rankings, with four stops remaining on the tour. After Glen Helen the X-Fighters head to Osaka, Japan, on June 1, Madrid, Spain on July 19 and Pretoria, South Africa on Sept. 7. First up, however, is the new X Games Foz Do Iguaçu event in Brazil, April 18-21, where Torres will be among the favorites to win.
Red Bull X-Fighters results: Dubai, United Arab Emirates, April 12, 2013
|1||Dany Torres (ESP)|
|2||Levi Sherwood (NZL)|
|3||Thomas Pagès (FRA)|
|4||Rob Adelberg (AUS)|
|5||David Rinaldo (FRA)|
|6||Libor Podmol (CZE)|
|7||Mat Rebeaud (SUI)|
|8||Maikel Melero (ESP)|
|9||Josh Sheehan (AUS)|
|10||Daice Suzuki (JPN)|
|11||Todd Potter (USA)|
Red Bull X-Fighters standings through April 12, 2013
|1||Dany Torres (ESP)||180|
|2||Thomas Pagès (FRA)||165|
|3||Levi Sherwood (NZL)||145|
|4||Rob Adelberg (AUS)||110|
|5||Josh Sheehan (AUS)||65|
|6||Maikel Melero (ESP)||60|