When photoshooting an event many years in a row, like I did the Red Bull X-Fighters, there are no huge changes nor innovations speaking in photographic terms. The location is predefined and Bullring hasn’t changed but the energy that spectators give and the new and almost impossible tricks and stunts that riders perform highly motivates me each time on this photographic adventure. Furthermore, this year was the 15th anniversary of Red Bull X-Fighters so the whole event was more glamour and spectacular.
Spanish fans witnessed runs loaded with special moves as the atmosphere was electric in the sold-out Las Ventas bullring, with more then 20,000 fans screaming for more after each rider finished making it yet another unforgettable night. All of the riders’ runs were loaded with special moves that made it like a best trick competition where every trick could have easily been the best.
France’s Thomas Pages carved his name into the record books with a spectacular fourth straight Red Bull X-Fighters win in Madrid, the spiritual home of freestyle motocross that celebrated its 15th anniversary in style in front of a full house. At the Las Ventas bullring Pages treated the crowd to his new Front Flip Flair, the first time ever the trick was performed in competition.
Pages won all five helmets from the judges in a clean sweep of the first three-way final in the history of the Red Bull X-Fighters, one of the many innovations added for the stop in Madrid. The 31-year-old Pages, who won the World Tour in 2013, mastered his Bike Flip, his Special Flip, his new Front Flip Flair and the Volt – amazing tricks that only a few years ago would have been enough on their own to win an event.
Clinton Moore, the 2015 World Tour champion, came in a close second after a flawless run in the final with his Bundy jump recorded to be 14 meters high by a new Intel high-tech device. Josh Sheehan had to settle for third despite nailing his signature double back flip. Levi Sherwood (NZL) finished fourth on an unforgettable night at the FMX extravaganza in the Spanish capital. No other riders have won Madrid more than twice.
ABOUT RED BULL X-FIGHTERS
Red Bull X-Fighters are freestyle motocross (FMX) motorbike stunt competitions contested in bullrings and similar venues around the world. Alongside the X Games, they are the most prestigious and most challenging freestyle motocross competitions.
Red Bull X-Fighters are invitation tournaments where the best FMX riders in the world come face to face. The competitions’ particular flair comes on one hand from the relatively restricted space in the bullfighting arenas (and therefore the close proximity of the crowd to the sporting spectacle) and, on the other hand, from the replication of a number of rituals from a typical “corrida”: for example, the riders are greeted by drum rolls and trumpet fanfares, and the public audience may honour the riders’ performances by waving white rags.
The idea for the Red Bull X-Fighters came from energy drink producer Red Bull. The first competition took place in 2001 in the Bullfighting arena in Valencia, Spain. The event moved to Madrid’s Las Ventas bullring for 2002, Spain’s biggest and most important bullfighting arena. With 23000 spectators, the competition in Madrid – held annually since 2002 – has become Europe’s greatest FMX event. Alongside Madrid, Valencia hosted the Red Bull X-Fighters for the second time in 2003. Since 2005, the competition has also been staged in Mexico, at the Monumental Plaza de Toros in Mexico City; the biggest bullring in the world, with a capacity of 43000 spectators.
In 2007, the Red Bull X-Fighters went on tour for the first time with three stops in Mexico, Ireland and Spain. The following season, in 2008, the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour was born, featuring events in the USA, Brazil, Mexico, Spain and Germany before ending with a grand finale in Poland. Last year, in 2009, the X-Fighters once again stepped it up a level with another mega World Tour including new locations, new riders and a whole bag of brand new tricks – among which the first ever Double Backflip performed during a freestyle competition – as the international FMX elite continued to push the sport forward.
Red Bull X-Fighters is a Professional Freestyle Motocross (FMX) tour, which can comprise all disciplines of FMX. These disciplines include, but are not limited to: Freestyle, Speed and Style, Step up, Quarterpipe, Parallel Freestyle.
Participation in a Red Bull X-Fighters competition is by invitation only, based on past year’s results, selection by Ranking Committee and Wild Card. The official invitations with all of the relevant information (date and type of competition, venue address, deadlines, preliminary schedule) will be sent out within 6 weeks of the event date.