You’d be surprised at how graceful a 100kg bike can be. Under the guidance of the world’s greatest freestyle motocross riders, the snorting, petrol-powered beasts execute gravity-defying tricks that test the limits of man and machine.
Now in its 15th season, the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour is back with more globe-trotting, high-flying action. The most prestigious FMX event series on the planet has challeged 86 elite riders to perform in more than 50 events in 22 locations since 2001.
Every year, the competitors push the envelope and take freestyle motocross to stunning new heights. This year will be no different. With only the grand finale left, 2015 is shaping up to be the most dramatic year in Red Bull X-Fighters history.
Maxed Out Motocross
The inaugural Red Bull X-Fighters competition took place in 2001 in the bullfighting arena in Valencia, Spain. Following its success, the event became an international phenomenon. Hundreds of thousands of eager spectators now attend to watch the world’s best freestyle motocross riders perform mind-boggling feats of two-wheeled wizardry.
The competition begins with the top 12 freestyle riders in the sport. Each rides twice in a qualification round, after which the top seven automatically move through to the Quarter Final. The bottom five battle it out in a sudden death contest in Round One. One advances to the Quarter Final.
The remaining eight riders are paired up and take to the track as duos. Five judges evaluate them based on five factors: variety, execution, style, use of course, and the three Es (energy, excitement and entertainment). A rider must win three out of five to advance to the Semi Finals. Only one will come out the champion.
This year’s Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour has made four stops around the world so far. The competition kicked off in Mexico City, then travelled to Athens, Madrid and Pretoria. Seven months after the season opener, the grand finale finally approaches.
Adrenaline In Abu Dhabi
The spine-tingling action of 2015’s final will take place in Abu Dhabi. This will be the forth time the Red Bull X-Fighters are in the United Arab Emirates and the first time they take on the nation’s capital.
Abu Dhabi may not have the glitz and glam of Dubai, but it’s a metropolis in its own right. The city is home to large gardens and parks, green boulevards, sophisticated skyscrapers, luxury hotels and opulent shopping malls. Its relatively recent metamorphosis has made it a thoroughly contemporary, and shamelessly wealthy, modern petro-city.
A brand new track was built at the famous Corniche waterfront for the 2015 World Tour Final. The layout is a departure from tracks used earlier in the season, giving riders new challenges and fresh opportunities to show their full potential. The 12 courageous competitors will face four Kickers, two Super Kickers, two Quarter Pipes and plentiful options to hit them in various line choices.
A Clash Of Champions
After four stops and countless flips, tricks and jumps, it all comes down to this. Australian Clinton Moore and Frenchman Tom Pagès dominated the 2015 Red-Bull X-Fighters World Tour. As the season comes to a close in Abu Dhabi, they are the ones to watch.
Moore grabbed two wins early in the season, first in Mexico City and again in Athens. He began honing his craft at a young age, riding a dirtbike around his family’s farm on the east coast of Australia. The road to professional FMX wasn’t always smooth for Moore, but he wowed fans at his first Red Bull X-Fighters event in 2014 and has pulled out all the stops for this year’s competition.
Pagès came to the competitive FMX scene in 2007 and rose through the ranks in record time. He is known for his rich arsenal of tricks and innovative routines, which have made Pagès the first rider ever to land an FMX Bike Flip in competition. With 2015 victories in Madrid and Pretoria under his belt, and the championship title from 2013, Pagès will be fighting hard to claim his second X-Fighters title.
Moore and Pagès are in a dead heat as the showdown on October 30 approaches. The finale face-off in Abu Dhabi promises to the closest yet in the Red Bull X-Fighters competition.