Levi Sherwood wins Dubai Red Bull X-Fighter event
Levi Sherwood won the 2012 season opener of the $1 million World Tour on Friday evening with a brilliant performance in front of 20,000 spectators on the white sands of the Walk at JBR.
The New Zealander whitewashed Australian rival Rob Adelberg in the final.
Kicking off the six-month long season with its six stops on four continents, Dubai gave Sherwood his fourth career victory and first since triumphing in London in 2010. Adelberg was a surprise second while Javier Villegas of Chile got his first podium with third place.
It was a night filled with upsets as defending World Tour champion Dany Torres of Spain and Norway's Andre Villa, a leading title contender, were both knocked out in the quarter-finals, finishing eighth and fifth respectively.
Sherwood was clearly on top of his game in the sweltering heat, able to once again display his incomparable flexible and fluid style in the world's most prestigious Freestyle Motocross competition that will have a total purse of $1 million based on performances and appearance fees.
"It means a lot," said a beaming Sherwood, 20, after celebrating with the spirited crowd.
"I didn't have much confidence coming into it," he added.
Villegas was thrilled to get the first podium. "After years of sacrifice, I finally made it," he said. "I'm not going to stop here. I want to be on the podium all season."
Red Bull X-Fighters has become the biggest and most respected freestyle motocross tour on the planet since it was created in 2001 with the best FMX riders anywhere battling for championship points at six stops on four continents.