Tonight marks the beginning of the 2009 Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour, which promises to be better than ever before, with exciting new riders and new locations - Calgary and London. With Robbie Maddison and Jeremy Stenberg sitting out the Mexico City event due to injury, a 17-year-old Kiwi, Levi Sherwood, will have the chance to shine on the biggest FMX stage of all - the sold-out, 43,000-seat Monumental Plaza de Toros.
After Mexico City, the competition packs up and wanders north to Canada for the first time with the second stop of the season in Calgary (May 30) before heading down south to Texas for a return to the Ft. Worth Stockyards (June 27). The European leg of the tour starts with a double event in Madrid (July 16-17) and concludes in London (August 22).
The successful ‘Rookies against Heroes’ format used last year has been developed further this year, according to Tes Sewell, the Tour’s sporting director: “Instead of four top-seeded riders, we’ll have eight riders this year who will duel it out with local challengers and young rookies."
Proof of this new approach is the presence of 17-year-old Sherwood, with the New Zealand rookie chomping at the bit to make his first international FMX appearance. “Last year I trained with Robbie Maddison, but not in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that I would get the chance to compete in Mexico. It’s just unbelievable.”
The top eight riders* for the 2009 season are: last year’s champion Mat Rebeaud (SUI), Jeremy Stenberg (USA), Robbie Maddison (AUS), Dany Torres (ESP), Eigo Sato (JPN), Thomas Pagès (FRA) and Andre Villa (NOR), plus a rider to be named after Mexico City.
*As a tribute to FMX legend Jeremy Lusk, the field will be kept to 11 riders for the first event of the season in Mexico City. The start money Jeremy would have received will go to his widow, Lauren. From the second event (Canada) onwards, the full complement of the top-eight and 12 riders, total, will compete.
For more information, visit www.redbullxfighters.com.
MEXICO CITY RIDER LINE-UP AFTER QUALIFICATION SESSION:
Mat Rebeaud / Switzerland
Eigo Sato / Japan
Thomas Pages / France
Levi Sherwood / New Zealand
Andre Villa / Norway
Cameron Sinclair / Australia
Adam Jones / USA
Dany Torres / Spain
Petr Pilat / Czech Republic
Jeff Fehr / Canada
Johan Nungaray / Mexico