Thomas Pagès admitted he was feeling the pressure from Clinton Moore ahead of their Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour title showdown in Abu Dhabi on Friday after watching the Australian nail a breathtaking 120-foot jump in their freestyle motocross training.
France's Thomas Pagès, who is looking to win his second World Tour title, and his rival Clinton Moore from Australia are in a dead-heat with two wins apiece after four stops this year with the championship on the line to whoever comes out on top in the do-or-die season finale.
"I'm pretty stressed actually after seeing his new trick," said Pagès ahead of Qualifying on Thursday after watching Moore ace two long-distance Volts on the 120-foot dirt-to-dirt jump (37 meters) – a trick that had never been done before at that distance. Difficult as it is, there are only a small handful of riders who do the Volt - and the at most on a 75- or 90-foot jump. "The pressure is on my side. I'll have to do a perfect run against him."
Pagès is trying to become only the second rider to win three Red Bull X-Fighters tour stops in a row, after Mat Rebaud (SUI) did it in 2008, and to become only the second rider to win two World Tour titles, after Nate Adams (USA) accomplished that in 2009 and 2010. But the Frenchman, who won the 2013 World Tour, knows that it can all go wrong, as happened in 2012 when he was crashed in the Season Final and lost the title to Levi Sherwood (NZL).
Making Moore's trick even more spectacular in the 35°C heat in Abu Dhabi is that he is the only rider to do the Volt from the massive dirt jump set up in the center of the track that is just off the sparkling turquoise waters of the Arabian Gulf.
"In the first practice out there I hit the 120-foot jump and felt like I could do the Volt so I tried it the next time out and did it perfect," said Moore. " I'll use the Volt to put pressure on Tom if we meet in the final." Moore, appearing extremely relaxed at a press conference with Pagès, said he was pleased with his season no matter what happens on Friday.
"I said at the start of the year that if I'm in the top five at the end of the tour, I'll be happy with myself," he said. "Now I'm tied for first with Tom. As far as pressure goes, I'm not letting it get to me and just enjoying where I am and what I've been doing this year."
Watch Red Bull X-Fighters Abu Dhabi LIVE!
Broadcast: We will stream the entire competition LIVE on redbullxfighters.com and Red Bull TV will broadcast from the Quarter Finals on. Red Bull TV is available on connected TVs, gaming consoles, mobile devices and more. For a full list of supported devices visit about.redbull.tv.
Please note that the broadcast is geo-blocked in the USA, but will be shown exclusively on Fox Sports 1 on Sunday, November 9th at 7pm EST.
Start Times: 07:30 pm GST on redbullxfighters.com with exclusive Round 1 coverage | 08:00 pm GST on Red Bull TV
October 30: Europe: 04:30pm (CET) | Canada: 08:30am (PST) | Mexico: 09:30am (CST) | Brasil: 01:30pm (BRT) | | October 31: Japan: 00:30am (JST) | Australia: 02:30am (AEST) | New Zealand: 04.30am (NZST)
Video on Demand: The entire competition will be available as a VoD right after the event on redbullxfighters.com and Red Bull TV. In the US right after the event was aired on Fox Sport 1.
TV: The main event will also broadcast live on several TV stations around the globe. Please check local listings for details.
Live Results: For real-time results and standings visit redbullxfighters.com/results