Levi Sherwood of New Zealand won the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour on Saturday with a thrilling victory in the final round of the 2012 season in Australia over his hard-charging rival Thomas Pages of France. Australia’s Josh Sheehan salvaged an injury-shortened season with a series of brilliant runs to take third place in the soggy conditions on Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour. Pages has turned the sport of freestyle motocross on its head in the second half of the season ever with a breathtaking array of new tricks and finished second overall in the World Tour standings after five competitions on four continents with 2011 champion Dany Torres of Spain taking third.
Sherwood was the dominant force during the entire seven-month 2012 season with three wins, getting clear victories in the season opener in Dubai and then in the mid-summer classic in Madrid. But he was beaten decisively in Glen Helen, California by American Todd Potter, who held the championship lead through the middle of the season. Sherwood then opened a big lead after his win in Madrid but was beaten in Munich by red-hot Pages. Sherwood was finally able to shake off his pesky French rival Pages, getting the clutch triumph he needed in the dramatic showdown battle to win the closest finish in the 12-year history of Red Bull X-Fighters.
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“There were a lot of ups and downs during the whole season,” said Sherwood after being pushed to his limits by Pages. Pages dazzled the crowd in Sydney with breathtaking moves such as the flair or the volt. The flair is a mind-boggling 540 degree mid-air turn, the volt leaves him spinning in mid-air above his bike. Sherwood had to first beat hometown hero Sheehan in the semi-final. Sheehan, who won on Cockatoo Island last year, had a great run with a double backflip but suffered two minor crashes, allowing Sherwood to squeak by into the final. It was the battle the world had been waiting for and the New Zealander prevailed with another flawless run under pressure to win his first Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour Title. The best FMX Athletes in the world brought an explosion of tricks like never seen before in a Freestyle-Motocross-Event.
Results Sydney 2012: 1. Levi Sherwood (NZL) , 2. Thomas Pages (FRA), 3. Josh Sheehan (AUS), 4. Jackson Strong (AUS), 5. Eigo Sato (JPN), 6. Taka Higashino (JPN), 7. Dany Torres (ESP) , 8. Cameron Sinclair (AUS), 9. Blake Williams (AUS), 10. Javier Villegas (CHL), 11. Todd Potter (USA)
Results World Tour 2012: 1. Sherwood 335 points, 2. Pages 315, 3. Torres 215, 4. Villegas 190, 5. Sato 190, 6. Potter 155;
Pictures: Sebastian Marko, Andy Schaad, Andy Langreiter, Mark Watson