On Friday, Red Bull X-Fighters will mark the tenth anniversary of its first appearance in Mexico City. Yet, with four former world champions and three quarterpipes in the mix, this year's outcome remains totally unpredictable. One thing seems certain: the capacity crowd of 38,000 will thrill to amazing new tricks.
Now that initial training for Friday night's Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour opener has concluded, it's clear that the competition at the Monumental Plaza de Toros will give a special meaning to the word "tricky." In front of 38,000 screaming fans, twelve of the world's best, most innovative freestyle motocross riders will kickstart their battle for the championship title, with many showing off electrifying new tricks.
Two riders pegged as frontrunners for the event, France's Thomas Pagès and New Zealand's Levi Sherwood, have been practicing maneuvers never before seen in FMX competition. Pagès has already landed his mind-boggling new Alley-Oop Flair on the dirt here. If Pagès can dial it in during competition, it could give him the kind of momentum he generated in 2013, when his win at the season opener foreshadowed his championship at year's end. Sherwood, a technical perfectionist who was the 2012 World Tour champion, has created a ramp-to-dirt Transfer Flip.
Meanwhile, several contenders in the world's most prestigious freestyle motocross series have tricks that are new to their personal repertoires, including Switzerland's Mat Rebeaud, the 2008 titleholder. "I won my first Red Bull X-Fighters in Mexico City when I was the youngest rider, and now I'm the oldest, but I'm still going for the win," says the 32-year-old. He's keen to perform his new California Roll, a rarely seen body varial.
If it feels right, the youngest competitors would love to debut new tricks, too. At 19, Mexico City's own Erick Ruiz, who last year became the first Latin American to land a Volt, has been learning additional body varials. Australia's Harry Bink, 20, is looking to launch the latest grab-style flips he's mastered.
Other riders also have new surprises in their bag of tricks. If they can execute under pressure, the glory might be theirs. If they falter, Friday may belong to Spain's Dany Torres, who has been energized by returning to a lighter, two-stroke bike. With seven Red Bull X-Fighters wins, the 2011 World Tour champion is one of the sport's most consistent riders, always a threat for the top of the podium.
Watch Red Bull X-Fighters Mexico LIVE!
Tickets: Ticketmaster Mexico
Webcast: 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
Start Times: 9:00 pm CST on redbullxfighters.com with exclusive Round 1 coverage | 9:30 pm CST on Red Bull TV
March 6: Canada: 10:00 pm EST || March 7: Brasil: 12:00 am BRT | UK: 3:00 am GMT | Europe: 4:00 am CET | UAE: 7:00 am GST | Japan: 12:00 pm JST | Australia: 2:00 pm AEST | New Zealand: 4.00 pm 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 event will broadcast LIVE on TV Azteca in Mexico. For more TV stations around the globe please check your local listings.
Live Results: For real-time results and standings visit redbullxfighters/results