Close to 20,000 excited fans watched one of the closest FMX competitions the legendary spanish bullfighting ring ever witnessed. But Levi Sherwood (NZL) set the bars for his competitors higher than ever before by including not one, but two Double Backflip combos in a single run. His last win at Red Bull X-Fighters in Madrid was in 2012, so he was released to be on top again: "The biggest weight is off my shoulders now. This win feels so sweet! It is true, what they say: a win here counts more than any other and to feel that again is amazing.“
For a few years Josh Sheehan (AUS) was the only rider to constantly perform Double Backflips, but during the qualification in the morning, he faced three riders doing this trick. undoubtetly Sheehan deserved second place with a big variety of tricks, including a Double Seatgrab Flip and Indy Flair, beating Taka Higashino (JPN) in the finals. "Levi was riding really strong and it was tough to beat him. It is crazy what he came up with, two Double Flip combos that would win any Best Trick competition a few years ago.“
Taka impressed the judges with perfect execution of highly technical tricks as Rock Solid Backflip, that he started his runs with off the 30 meter ramp. His signature California Roll, a Flair and more big extended tricks earned him his way onto the podium. "I am happy about my result. I feel that some many guys are stepping it up and I did not show a new trick and landed on the podium. Maybe I was just lucky!
The biggest surprise of the day surely was Clinton Moore (AUS). The former Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour Champion finished second in the qualification after successfully landing his first ever Alley-Oop Flair in a competition. In his first run he did a rarely seen mistake, when he got stuck on his foot-hook while going into his signature Bundy body varial, causing him to do a "Dead Sailor“. This was the end of his night as Adam Jones (USA) and Dany Torres (ESP) advanced to the next round in his group.
Adam Jones just missed the podium by barely getting beaten in the head-to-head semifinals by Taka. Adams scored two of the five judges helmets by perfectly executing his highly technical tricks as a huge Deadbody Backflip or his very own "Nohand Barhop to Mc Metz to Nohand Landing“ combo.
German rising star Luc Ackermann (GER) was the last minute replacement for Tom Pagès, who did not heal up quickly enough after an shoulder surgery. But Ackermann proved his worth by reaching the semi finals again, after his stunning Red Bull X-Fighters debut in Munich, when he placed in 4th position. After not being happy with his qualification result, the 19-year old German was all smiles about his 5th place and showed big excitement about the great atmosphere created by the enthusiastic fans.
Local hero Dany Torres entered this years Red Bull X-Fighters with a four-week lack of practice after braking his nose and suffering a deep flesh wound on his hip caused by a crash in practice. After advancing from the first round the former winner of Las Ventas rode better and better, even including his nemesis-trick, the Flair, into his runs and just got stopped by eventual winner Sherwood.
After his bad luck Clinton Moore, who was hoping to fight for the win, was very disappointed, but set his goals already to next years competition.
Maikel Melero (ESP) might be the unsung hero of Madrid after landing the first ever Frontflip in the epic arena in the qualification and upping that by landing a perfect Nohand Frontflip in his first run. Unfortunately the 4th placed qualifier had a little crash on a Nacnac Flair just before attempting the new trick, ending his night and leaving the local hero disappointed.
Spanish wild child Christian Meyer (ESP), the Novillero chosen by the Red Bull X-Fighters sports committee, stunned his fellow competitors by successfully landing a Double Backflip during qualification. Unfortunately he crashed the same trick on his first jump in the nights competition. First examinations in the hospital showed that he is stable without pain and a thoracic trauma on the left side.
Rob Adelberg (AUS) is also coming back from an injury and had to overcome 8 months off the bike after surgery on his left wrist. The Australian impressed with great extensions, but missed advancing to the semifinals by only 0.2 points against Torres.
Harry Bink (AUS) was not happy with his tricks as he planned to perform Rock Solid Flips and Front Flips, which he has done before. But nagging injuries kept him from showing his full potential. He enjoyed to ride in front of such an amazing atmosphere, claiming he experienced the best and loudest fans he has ever been riding for.
Fred Kyrilos (BRA) not only won the fans hearts during the Novilleros voting, he also delivered solid runs that deserve a spot at a Red Bull X-Fighters event. He said riding in the Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas was a dream come true.
- Levi Sherwood (NZL)
- Josh Sheehan (AUS)
- Taka Higashino (JPN)
- Adam Jones (USA)
- Luc Ackermann (GER)
- Dany Torres (ESP)
- Clinton Moore (AUS)
- Maikel Melero (ESP)
- Christian Meyer (ESP)
- Rob Adelberg (AUS)
- Harry Bink (AUS)
- Fred Kyrillos (BRA)