Adelberg wins wind-shortened X-Fighters

Australian rider Rob Adelberg dominated the qualifying round at the Red Bull X-Fighters event at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, Calif., on Saturday, beating out Tom Pagès and Taka Higashino. Heavy winds forced the cancellation of subsequent rounds, leaving Adelberg on top to claim his first X-Fighters win but disappointing a sold-out crowd of 15,000 spectators.

"It's been windy the past couple days and we had to miss practice all day yesterday, and then we luckily got in some qualifying this morning," Adelberg said, after the main event was called off. "I'd like to go up there fair and square and go through the whole way, head-to-head, and do it legitimate, but we all knew this morning at qualifying that it was going to be tough with the wind. We all made sure we did our best runs, and it just so happened I won it. A win is a win, so I'm pumped."

Sebastian Marko/Red Bull Content Pool

Rob Adelberg competes Saturday during the qualifying round of Red Bull X-Fighters in Glene Helen, Calif.

Tes Sewell, sport director for Red Bull X-Fighters, said the decision to call off quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals was collectively made by the riders.

"The athletes tell us what really is the safe level of wind for them to ride in: we don't dictate that to them," he said, noting that persistent winds had been punctuated with unpredictable gusts over the course of the day. "Sometimes it's picking up so bad things are actually flying around out here, and for freestyle motocross it's just not safe."

Sewell confirmed that X-Fighters rules call for awarding individual contest points and overall X-Fighters tour points in the event of weather cancellations based on qualifying results. Adelberg's win bumps him up one spot to third place in the overall tour rankings and puts Pagès back in the top spot, following a win at the 2013 X-Fighters opener in Mexico City in March and a third-place finish behind Dany Torres and Levi Sherwood last month in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

"I don't know if I deserve this result but it's just the the way it is," Pagès said after the decision had been made, noting that the expansive course at Glen Helen -- billed as the biggest in X-Fighters history -- and its massive step-up jump feature would likely have favored other riders.

Sewell said everyone was disappointed, but emphasized that rider safety has to come first in such situations. "It's really frustrating for all of us here on the X-Fighters crew and, obviously, for these athletes who came out to do their best and compete in this tour and really put on a great show for the fans," he said. "It's not the way we wanted to do it, but Mother Nature's just not playing ball with us here at Glen Helen."

The 2013 Red Bull X-Fighters tour continues June 1 in Osaka, Japan, for the fourth of six stops, followed by events in Madrid, Spain (July 19) and Pretoria, South Africa (Sept. 7).

Red Bull X-Fighters results: Glen Helen, Calif., May 11, 2013 (based on qualifying round)

Place Name
1 Rob Adelberg (AUS)
2 Thomas Pagès (FRA)
3 Taka Higashino (JPN)
4 Javier Villegas (CHL)
5 Adam Junes (USA)
6 David Rinaldo (FRA)
7 Dany Torres (ESP)
8 Josh Sheehan (NZL)
9 Wes Agee (USA)
10 Brody Wilson (USA)
11 Todd Potter (USA)

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