Tom Pages of France won the 2013 Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour on Friday in front of a frenzied Madrid crowd of 23,000 with what was probably the most electrifying runs ever in the season finale. Japan’s Taka Hagashino finished second on a thrilling night of FMX in Madrid’s famous Las Ventas bullring with Javier Villegas of Chile taking third place. Pages took the World Tour Championship with 360 points with the 2011 champion, Dany Torres of Spain, in second with 260 points.
It was the most spectacular season in the 13-year-history of Red Bull X-Fighters as riders pushed the envelope with new tricks and there were four different winners in the five stops on three continents – Pages won the season opener in Mexico City (MEX), Dany Torres was on top in Dubai (UAE), Rob Adelberg got first in Glen Helen (USA), Taka Higashino won Osaka (JPN) before Pages won in Madrid (ESP) in spectacular fashion – with what was being called the best. Torres won the Swatch Best Move Award. Due to situations beyond the control of the Red Bull X-Fighters organizing team, the stop in Pretoria, South Africa scheduled for September was cancelled because the execution of a world-class sportive competition could not be guaranteed. That meant Madrid was turned into the season finale.
Pages took FMX to new heights in front of the big Madrid crowd, the most enthusiastic on the calendar each year. He dug deep into his big bag of tricks on the jumps that saw him flying up to 15 meters high and 30 meters in distance. Reflecting how close the world’s FMX elite has become, the Frenchman became the fourth different World Tour champion in the last four years. Pages epitomized consistency all season, getting on the podium in all five events. On Friday he gave what was probably his most brilliant performance ever in the final against Higashino, nailing his scintillating Flair (a 540-degree turn off a quarter-pipe), his Special Flip (a mid-air back-flip above his seat) and the Volt (a mid-air 360-degree spin off his bike) and then sending the crowd into ecstasy with his new trick, a Flair Tsunami - with his legs flying high into the moonlit night sky.
“This is more than a dream, it’s just amazing”, Pages said, clearly delighted to get his first victory in Madrid. “This is the best crowd in the world.” The 2012 champion, Levi Sherwood of New Zealand, was a disappointing fifth overall.
Madrid results: 1. Thomas Pages (FRA), 2. Taka Higashino (JPN), 3. J avier Villegas (CHL), 4. Maikel Melero (ESP), 5. Dany Torres (ESP), 6. Levi Sherwood (NZL), 7. Rob Adelberg (AUS), 8. Josh Sheehan (AUS), 9. David Rinaldo (FRA), 10. Clinton Moore (AUS).
Final 2013 Wold Tour standings: 1. Pages 360 points, 2. Torres 260, 3. Higashino 245, 4. Adelberg 240, 5. Sherwood 225, 6. Villegas 150, 7. Rinaldo 125, 8. Adam Jones (USA) 120, 9. Melero 115, 10. Sheehan 115
Pictures: Joerg Mitter, Daniel Grund, Flo Hagena