New Zealand Levi Sherwood admits that defending his Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour title will probably only be possible if Thomas Pages of France falters.
Levi Sherwood called his rival Thomas Pages unstoppable ahead of Friday's Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour stop in Dubai. The New Zealander said that the flying Frenchman has taken the sport of freestyle motocross to new heights with his breathtaking tricks and conceded he had no plans to even try to match Pages. Sherwood, the 2012 World Tour champion, said that the only chance he has to defend his crown this year would be to wait for the Frenchman to make a mistake or two. Pages won the first of six stops in Mexico City last month by nailing three of the most difficult FMX tricks ever created.
"Tom is the guy to beat at the moment," said Sherwood, who won the stop in Dubai last year in a sport where riders perform gravity-defying tricks with their bikes while leaping up to 15 meters high and 30 meters in distance. "I take my hat off to him because I'm not going to go out there and start doing body varials," Sherwood added, referring to the gravity-defying trick also called "the Volt" where the rider lets go of the bike in mid-air near the apogee of the jump and does a quick clock-wise turn before re-joining the bike just before landing.
Sherwood said he wasn't even going to try to match Pages' other tricks crowd-pleasing tricks: the Special Flip off the seat of his bike or the Flair -- turning 540 degrees in mid-air. He said his strategy would be to wait for Pages to make mistakes and in the meantime try to get on the podium as often as possible – as he did with third place in Mexico City. "I want to be there for when he does make a mistake," Sherwood said. "When you're out there doing tricks like that it's only a matter of time until something happens. I don't want to think bad for it or hope it happens. I just want to put myself in situation so that if it does I'll be ready to go."
Spain's Dany Torres, the 2011 World Tour winner, finished second in Mexico City after being beaten decisively 4-1 by Pages in the final. Torres said there is a better way to beat Pages than waiting for him to mess up: "We have to find new tricks," said Torres.
Pages, who has won two of the last two events going back to Munich in 2012, does not think he is unbeatable at all. "That's not true," he said. "I'm just different but I'm not better, for sure. We're not doing a 'best-trick contest'. We're doing freestyle runs. You've got to be constant and do good runs on every kind of track. You've got to be fast, you've got to be loved by the crowd. That's not just because of a few tricks. There are a lot of really, really good riders here."