Photos: Red Bull Photofiles

While the event itself is a bit too Monster Truck, we can't help but be impressed by the skill and bravery of the freestyle motocross athletes competing in Red Bull X-Fighters. There's a video below of the action, but somehow these mid-flight shots better capture the action, isolating man and machine working as a whole, far from the garish spotlights and cheering crowds.

A sell-out crowd of 43,000 FMX fans packed Mexico City's famous Plaza
de Toros on 27.03.2009 to experience a true sensation at the first stop
of the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour 2009. Freestyle motocross riders
from eleven nations battled in the world's biggest bullfighting ring,
with the winner - 17 year-old debutant Levi Sherwood - completing a lap
of honor around the stadium carried on the fans' shoulders. Second
place went to a competitor almost twice his age, Japan's Eigo Sato.

For the fifth time since 2005, the world's best FMX riders defied
gravity and clashed horns in the legendary Plaza de Toros in Mexico
City. The bullfighting theme was present in all aspects of the event,
with riders greeted to the arena with drums and fanfares as is the
tradition at a corrida, and waving white handkerchiefs in the air to
show their satisfaction at the spectacular jumps performed.

New Zealand rookie Levi Sherwood was most successful in taming the
fearsome course comprising a range of kickers and huge landing hill.
The 17-year-old, competing in his first ever event on the international
FMX circuit, managed to come through the quarter and semi finals as
well as the final itself without picking up any injuries and brought
the capacity crowd in the Mexican capital to their feet with stunning

His opponent in the final, Eigo Sato from Japan, could do no more than
admit defeat and pay tribute to his slayer. The remaining riders simply
looked on with astonishment. "I'm better because, at my age, I am able
to put my body through even more. Winning here is the best day of my
life," commented "Rubber Kid" after securing a famous victory. Third
place went to Levi's "mentor", defending champion Mat Rebeaud, whom
Sherwood, his "apprentice", had beaten at the semi-final stage.

Red Bull X-Fighters

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