Sherwood executes flawless final run to claim Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour in Sydney
New Zealand’s Levi Sherwood earned the title of 2012 Red Bull X-Fighters World Champion with a dominant sweep of today’s final on Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour.
Sherwood entered the event tied on points with French rider Thomas Pages, so it was fitting that the pair would eventually meet in a winner-takes-all battle.
The title contenders held their own in the quarter and semi-finals, displacing their opponents despite the wet and windy conditions.
Contrasting styles meant crowds were treated to a freestyle motocross masterclass for each rider’s two-minute run.
Pages entered the ring first and seemed en route to another consistent performance before crashing his signature volt move, a mishap which would ultimately cost him the chance at a maiden Red Bull X-Fighters crown.
Sherwood left nothing on the table despite his opponent’s misfortune, showing off the incredible flexibility and extension that has already earned him two event wins this year.
The final scores were close but Sherwood would prove too tough, earning wins in all five judging categories and sealing the title in emphatic style.
“It was a pretty tough and long day, I was nervous because I knew just how big the challenge would be,” said Sherwood.
“I definitely expected Thomas to be there in the final, I knew he was going to take it all the way and he has brought some very different tricks to the table which I knew I had to beat.
“The conditions weren’t the best today but I just had to block them out – there was a lot more on the line than just an event win.
“It’s awesome to finally get it done after four years of trying, it’s a great feeling.”
Sherwood’s win makes him the youngest Red Bull X-Fighters champion in the history of the competition.
He finished the World Tour on 335 points, 20 clear of his French rival.
Pages was left disappointed after a what has been a breakthrough season and rued the missed opportunity following his crash in the finals.
“It’s weird because I came second at Glen Helen and I was really happy,” said Pages. “Here there was more to be taken and it’s just not the same.
“I’ve been working so hard to show people I could be strong with new tricks, here the crash happened which is unfortunate because I had other strong tricks to do.
“I’ve never crashed on the volt, I am still not sure what happened.
“I can be happy looking back because I was able to finish second and Levi was too good.”
Australian riders Josh Sheehan and Jackson Strong both made it through to the semi-finals but would miss out by narrow margins to Sherwood and Pages respectively.
Sheehan, the 2011 event winner, claimed third place on the podium, a solid result considering his battle with injury this year.
Spain’s Dany Torres was able to maintain third place on the standings with 215 points to his name despite being eliminated in the first quarter-final.
The leading Australian in the Red Bull X-Fighters title race was Rob Adelberg, who finished the season in seventh place with 145 points.