Spectacular new tricks and a thrilling World Tour Championship battle that wasn't decided until the last day at the final stop in South Africa made the 2014 Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour one of the most unforgettable season in the 14-year-history of the world's most prestigious FMX series.
The 2014 edition of the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour will be remembered not only for Australian Josh Sheehan's come-from-behind victory for the title against Levi Sherwood of New Zealand but also for the evolution of epic new tricks that the world's best freestyle motocross riders brought to the battle at five events on four continents. Capping its 14th season with its 50th event ever that was held in South Africa for the first time, the world's most prestigious FMX series also moved to next level in course design with some of the most challenging and exciting tracks ever seen. In Munich, the riders took off and landed on ramps constructed on a floating track set up for the first time in the middle of a lake while in Pretoria, South Africa they performed their dazzling mid-air tricks in front of the iconic Union Building that houses the office of the President of South Africa, famed as the place where Nelson Mandela was inaugurated in 1994.
From a sporting point of view, Sheehan showed the world that he is the undisputed king of the Double Backflip, an awe-inspiring jump that he mastered with chilling regularity in the final three rounds to bolster his stunning late-season rally that saw him come from behind to beat Sherwood with back-to-back victories in the final two stops in Munich and Pretoria. Sherwood, 2012 champion, looked unbeatable early in the season when he opened an enormous lead with stirring victories in front of a huge crowd in Mexico City and then in Osaka, Japan in the action-packed sport where the riders perform tricks off their bikes while leaping up to 15 meters high and flying for distances of up to 30 meters. Sherwood, one of the smoothest riders the sport has ever seen, tried to rise to the challenge of newer and bolder tricks with some new jumps of his own. But the New Zealander saw his championship lead melt away in the summer heat of Europe when he ended up third in Madrid and Munich. He was nevertheless still five points ahead of Sheehan going into the final showdown in front of the historic Union Building in Pretoria, South Africa - the first time that the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour Final was held in Africa. But he got injured in Qualifying and ended up in 12th place to fall to second overall with 270 points while Sheehan collected another 100 points for the win to take his season total of 360 points.
"To win in front of such an awesome crowd and at this magnificent location is amazing," said Sheehan, who also had the perfectly executed Flair and Double Grab Backflip in his bag of tricks for his winning runs. "It's a dream-come-true. Now I'm keen to go home, learn new tricks and come back with something new." France's Tom Pagès, 2013 World Tour Champion who is famous for pushing the envelope for new tricks in FMX, managed to beat Sheehan in one of the most dazzling finals in the 14-year-history of the Red Bull X-Fighters at the midway point of the season in the third round in Madrid when he aced the first Bike Flip in front of another ecstatic Spanish crowd on top of his now standard but always impressive jumps: Flair, Special Flip and Volt.
Dany Torres from Spain, the 2011 World Tour winner, ended up third overall with 265 points thanks to his consistency with three podiums, including a second place in Pretoria.
2014 World Tour Final Standings
1. Josh Sheehan (AUS) 360 points
2. Levi Sherwood (NZL) 270
3. Dany Torres (ESP) 265
4. Thomas Pagès (FRA) 235
5. Taka Higashino (JPN) 180
6. Rémi Bizouard (FRA) 165
7. Adam Jones (USA) 140
8. Rob Adelberg (AUS) 120
9. Clinton Moore (AUS) 90
10. Maikel Melero (ESP) 85
Live Results: To get results and standings in real-time, hit redbullxfighters.com/results
You missed the show? No Problem, watch the Video on Demand HERE!