X-Fighters take flight in Canadian debut
In about one month’s time, the top cowboys in the world will descend on the Calgary Stampede grounds for the world’s “greatest show on Earth.” And while there’s no denying that strapping yourself to a bull or wrestling a steer to the ground is dangerous, on Saturday night the grounds played host to a different type of daredevil.
The Red Bull X-Fighters international freestyle motocross competition enthralled the thousands in attendance with flips, whips and seat grabs. It was the first-ever stop for the series on Canadian soil and after nearly three thrilling hours of showdown motocross action, Australia’s Robbie Maddison came out on top.
“You guys rule!” the Aussie exclaimed as he was presented with his first-place chuckwagon wheel trophy.
Maddison, who set world records last year for longest ramp jump and highest jump onto a building took on 30-year-old Eigo Sato from Japan in the final round. Sato seemed to generate more cheers from the crowd, however it was Maddison’s flawless execution that wowed the judging panel, which included Calgary Flames defenceman Dion Phaneuf. Mat Rebeaud, last year’s Red Bull X-Fighters Global Series champion, placed third.
“I was very happy to come here because the people seem so friendly, the Swiss rider Rebeaud said after the competition. “It’s really cool to be apart of the first big event like this in Canada.”
Benoit Milot, one of two Canadian riders in the field, echoed Rebeaud’s sentiment.
“This was awesome, it’s very good for Canadian motocross in general. We had two Canadian riders in the show and the fans really kept us going,” said Milot who, like fellow countryman Jeff Fehr, failed to make it out of the qualifying round.
The 26-year-old, first hopped onto a motorbike at age 10, said it was a pleasure just be apart of the field for the Calgary competition.
For a photo gallery from the event click here.
“Just to watch these guys ride teaches you so much. They are some of the best riders in the world and they are constantly pushing the limit and doing new tricks,” Milot said.
Milot was also excited by the number of young fans that packed into the Stampede grounds for the event.
“They are the future of motocross. If we can get kids involved in the sport now then we ensure that Canadian motocross will continue to grow and advance in the future,” he said.
Milot next heads to a demonstration show in Mexico. Meanwhile, the Red Bull series will journey to Fort Worth, Texas for the next tour stop on June 27.
For more on the Red Bull X-Fighters click here.