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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 tricks.

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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