In preparation for the start of the new season of the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour, Josh Sheehan performed a demo in front of the Burj Khalifa, at 2,723 feet, the world’s tallest building, and defending series champ, Dany Torres, rode his bike on the heli pad of the seven-star Burj al Arab hotel.
The world’s most prestigious freestyle motocross tour kicks off the 2012 season on Friday, April 13 on Jumeirah Beach in front of Dubai’s breathtaking skyline. Torres of Spain is the favorite going into the six-stop 2012 world tour, competing against a field of 11 of the world’s best FMX riders who will be chasing $1 million in prize money and appearance fees this season but Andre Villa of Norway and Sheehan of Australia both believe this will be their year to win the Red Bull X-Fighters championship after showing flashes of brilliance in 2011. The athletes will be leaping their bikes on the course set up on the beach between the glittering lights of Dubai and the turquoise waters of the Persian Gulf.
“It’s going to be a real battle for first place with a few riders capable of taking the crown,” said Red Bull X-Fighters sports director Tes Sewell. “Torres is the man to beat,” he added, but said Villa and Sheehan will be hot on his heels as will 2009-10 champion Nate Adams and Robbie Maddison once they return from injuries. “This year could prove to have so many surprises with injuries and recoveries – and some young blood in the mix.”
Villa was in the thick of the championship hunt in 2011 until a late-season injury sidelined him for the final two events while Sheehan came out of nowhere to upset the favorites and win the season finale in Sydney. Adams, who finished a close second to Torres last year after winning the championship in 2009 and 2010, is still recovering from a shoulder injury and is not in the lineup for Dubai. Australian Blake Williams also has his eye on the top prize after several outstanding performances in 2011. Other top favorites returning to the action this year after being out with injuries are Levi Sherwood of New Zealand and Switzerland’s Mat Rebeaud, the 2008 champion.
The Red Bull X-Fighters Dubai event will be telecast on NBC Sports on Tuesday, April 24 at 12:30 a.m. ET as part of the Red Bull Signature Series, www.redbullsignatureseries.com.
The Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour makes a return to the United States when it visits Southern California on May 12. Tickets are available at www.redbullxfighters.com.
Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour 2012:
Dubai (UAE) April 13
Glen Helen (USA) May 12
Istanbul (TUR) June 16
Madrid (ESP) July 20
Munich (GER) Aug. 11
Sydney (AUS) Oct 6