After a slow start to the season, defending Red Bull X-Fighters Champion Thomas Pagès of France came back at Las Ventas in Madrid – with fury.
To defeat the most spectacular display of tricks ever seen in the World Tour, the Frenchman had to make history, and he did, pulling off the first Bike Flip in competition. Tom Pagès is a hot and cold kind of rider, and on Sunday he had to be downright “caliente” to claim first place at Red Bull X-Fighters’ 13th consecutive tour stop in Madrid.
In what was definitely the most progressive battle in the history of the world’s most prestigious freestyle motocross event series, Pagès was the best of the best, locking the top of the podium with the Bike Flip everyone’s been waiting for.
Second- and third-place finishers Josh Sheehan of Australia and Levi Sherwood of New Zealand were spectacular as well, delivering performances that would have won just about any other competition. Sheehan soared with rarely seen double-backflips three times that evening, and Sherwood introduced his new Rowedova Flip with his usual perfection.
And all three of the riders had to carry off the risky tricks in heat after heat to make it to the finals. The atmosphere was electric in the sold-out Las Ventas bullring, with 23,000 fans a screaming sea of white and red in attire that marked the beginning of the famed San Fermín festival, known for the running of the bulls.
Pagès tossed his gear into the audience, and Sheehan even threw himself into the crowd before a fireworks display ended the evening. As the riders clutched their trophies, Pagès said, “I’m so happy. The runs here were loaded with special moves that made it like a best trick competition where every trick could have been the best.”
With Sherwood, the 2012 overall champion, having won the first two events of the 2014 season, a comeback by 2013 world tour champ Pagès makes it anyone’s title to claim. And it’s far too soon to count out Sheehan, who has two second-place finishes under his belt.
The fireworks will continue in Munich, Germany on 19 July – where for the first time in FMX history – the full track will be floating on a lake.
Don’t forget that Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour hits Pretoria on August 23.