A spectacular victory in Mexico City last season sent Thomas Pagès of France flying off on his way to win the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour but the fearless Frenchman knows that another season-opening triumph in front of 42,000 spectators in the high-altitude of the Mexican capital will be harder than ever before because so many in the field of talented rivals are eager to take FMX to the next level this season. Red Bull X-Fighters Sports Director Tes Sewell expects 2014 to be another thrilling season with a half a dozen riders pushing Pagès with exciting new tricks of their own in the world's most prestigious freestyle motocross competition, where the riders leap 15 meters high and 30 meters in distance with their motorcycles.
Dany Torres (ESP), Levi Sherwood (NZL), Rob Adelberg (AUS), Javier Villegas (CHI), Josh Sheehan (AUS), Adam Jones (USA) and the rest of the roster are expected to give Pagès a run for his money in the rarefied altitude in Mexico City, the first of five stops on four continents this season with what will be the biggest crowd of the season. Local hero Erick Ruiz (MEX) sent the huge crowd into fits of ecstasy last year and could surprise some of the favorites this year.
"The atmosphere in the Mexico City Plaza de Toros is just so intense," said Sewell. "The volume level is off the charts and the Mexican fans bring such passion to the celebration - they really appreciate what the riders are doing for them." Sewell said that he expects more riders to unveil new tricks and new combinations this season after Pagès romped to the title last year with five podiums even though there were four different riders in the five stops.
"Tom is obviously the target since he is the reigning Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour Champion, but more of the other riders have seen his plans and will have spent time with training to compete with that," he said, adding other riders will try some of Pagès three jaw-dropping trick this year: the Volt, the Flair and the Special Flip. "We know that there are already some riders who can do the Volt and for sure there are going to be at least 5 or 6 guys in Mexico City who have tried the Flair, but I 'm not too sure how many of them will have taken the risk to learn that Special Flip - it's a really tough trick to pull."
Sewell said it is hard to tell at this point who had the best training in the off season but the world will know more after Mexico City. "We know that Dany Torres is always working hard in his Spanish compound, but also Levi Sherwood who does not have the distraction of a ton of other people hanging around his riding area," Sewell said. "Levi has his place way down in New Zealand and of course his 'off season' is actually summer time down there, so he is not contending with winter weather."
Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour 2014: 14.3. Mexico City (Mexico) 25.5. Osaka (Japan), 27.6. Madrid (Spain) 19.7. Munich (Germany) 23.8. Pretoria (South Africa)
Riders List Red Bull X-Fighters Mexico City: Thomas Pagès (FRA), Dany Torres (ESP), Remi Bizouard (FRA), Levi Sherwood (NZL), Rob Adelberg (AUS), Javier Villegas (CHI), Josh Sheehan (AUS), Libor Podmol (CZE), Adam Jones (USA), Maikel Melero (ESP), Clinton Moore (AUS), Erick Ruiz (MEX)