FMX: Red Bull X-Fighters Madrid

3 weeks ago | Words: Red Bull X-Fighters | Photos: Joerg Mitter, Predrag Vuckovic/Red Bull Content Pool

New Zealand’s Levi Sherwood has claimed first place at the 16th edition of the Red Bull X-Fighters, held in Madrid’s Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas. Pulling off two Double Backflip combos within his final run Levi set the level of riding to new heights, beating Australia’s Josh Sheehan and Japan’s Taka Higashino.

Close to 20,000 excited fans watched one of the closest FMX competitions the legendary Spanish bullfighting ring has ever witnessed. 

For the last few years Josh Sheehan was the only rider to constantly perform Double Backflips, but during the qualification in the morning, he faced three riders doing this trick. Undoubtedly Sheehan deserved second place with a big variety of tricks, including a Double Seatgrab Flip and Indy Flair, beating Taka Higashino in the finals. “Levi was riding really strong and it was tough to beat him. It is crazy what he came up with, two double flip combos that would win any best trick competition a few years ago.” Said Sheehan. 

Taka impressed the judges with perfect execution of highly technical tricks, like the Rock Solid Backflip, he started his runs with off on the massive 100ft booter. His signature trick the California Roll, a Flair and more big extended tricks earned him third place. “I am happy about my result. I feel that some many guys are stepping it up and I did not show a new trick and landed on the podium. Maybe I was just lucky!”, said Taka. 

The biggest surprise of the day surely was Australia’s Clinton Moore. The former Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour Champion finished second in the qualification after successfully landing his first ever Alley-Oop Flair. In his first run, made an uncharacteristic crucial mistake, hooking his foot up while going into his signature Bundy body varial, causing him to do a “Dead Sailor”. This was the end of his night as Adam Jones (USA) and Dany Torres (ESP) advanced to the next round in his group.

USA’s Adam Jones just missed the podium, getting beaten in the head-to-head semifinals by Taka. Adams scored two of the five judges helmets by perfectly executing his highly technical tricks as a huge Deadbody Backflip.

German rising star Luc Ackermann (GER) was the last minute replacement for France’s Tom Pagès, who couldn’t compete due to an shoulder surgery. Ackermann proved his worth, reaching the semi finals with a fifth place at the end of the night.

Local hero Spaniard Dany Torres entered this years Red Bull X-Fighters with a four-week lack of practice after braking his nose and suffering a deep flesh wound on his hip caused by a crash in practice. After advancing from the first round the former winner of Las Ventas rode better and better, even including his nemesis-trick, the Flair, into his runs and just got stopped by eventual winner Sherwood.

Maikel Melero (ESP) might be the unsung hero of Madrid after landing the first ever Frontflip in the epic arena in the qualification and upping that by landing a perfect Nohand Frontflip in his first run. Unfortunately the fourth placed qualifier had a little crash on a Nacnac Flair just before attempting the new trick, ending his night and leaving the local hero disappointed.

Spanish wild child Christian Meyer, the Novillero chosen by the Red Bull X-Fighters sports committee, stunned his fellow competitors by successfully landing a Double Backflip during qualification. Unfortunately he crashed the same trick on his first jump in the nights competition. First examinations in the hospital showed that he is stable without pain and a thoracic trauma on the left side.

Australia’s Rob Adelberg is also coming back from an injury and had to overcome 8-months off the bike after surgery on his left wrist. The Australian impressed with great extensions, but missed advancing to the semifinals by only 0.2 points against Torres. 

Fellow Aussie Harry Bink was not happy with his tricks as he planned to perform Rock Solid Flips and Front Flips. But nagging injuries kept him from competing at full potential. 

Fred Kyrilos from Brazil not only won the fans hearts during the Novilleros voting, he also delivered solid runs that deserve a spot at a Red Bull X-Fighters event. He said riding in the Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas was a dream come true.


  1. Levi Sherwood (NZL)
  2. Josh Sheehan (AUS)
  3. Taka Higashino (JPN)
  4. Adam Jones (USA)
  5. Luc Ackermann (GER)
  6. Dany Torres (ESP)
  7. Clinton Moore (AUS)
  8. Maikel Melero (ESP)
  9. Christian Meyer (ESP)
  10. Rob Adelberg (AUS)
  11. Harry Bink (AUS)
  12. Fred Kyrillos (BRA)

Catch up on all the action by watching the highlights below.

Got time to kill? Watch the full live reply of the 2017 Red Bull X-Fighters event below.

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