Thriller in Africa finale as Josh Sheehan challenges Levi Sherwood
Levi Sherwood is clinging to a shrinking 5-point lead over Josh Sheehan heading into the final showdown at the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour finale in Pretoria, in front of South Africa’s famous Union Buildings where the tour celebrates its 50th event since it was created in 2001.
Levi Sherwood of New Zealand and Australia’s Josh Sheehan will square off in what is shaping up to be an epic battle to win the Red Bull X-Fighters when the 14th season concludes with its first World Tour final in Africa on August 23. The 2014 season finale also marks the 50th event since 2001 and will be staged in front of the iconic Union Buildings in Pretoria that house the offices of the President of South Africa, famed as the place where Nelson Mandela was inaugurated in 1994.
Red-hot Sheehan became the third different winner in the four previous stops with a sensational victory in Munich last month to cut Sherwood’s shrinking lead to just 5 points. Sheehan, who is pressing to become the first overall champion from Australia, won over the hearts of the crowds in Munich and Madrid, where he was second to defending champion Thomas Pagès of France, by nailing his heart-stopping Double Backflip along with a Flair and a Double Grab Flip.
Sherwood, the 2012 World Tour champion and with the most wins (8) in Red Bull X-Fighters history, got off to a brilliant start this season with victories in the first two stops in Mexico City and Osaka, Japan, but he failed to make the last two finals with two back-to-back third places. Sherwood has 265 points to Sheehan’s 260 and will have to finish in front of his Australian rival to win the title. “Five point isn’t exactly the biggest lead going into the final,” said Sherwood. “Sheeny has really brought on the heat this year.”
Sherwood is attempting to become only the second rider to win the world tour twice after Nate Adams of the United States accomplished the feat in 2009 and 2010. In Red Bull X-Fighters, the world’s most prestigious FMX tour, riders perform their tricks off their bikes that fly as high as 15 meters and as far as 30 meters. With the finale in South Africa, there are five stops on four continents this year. Since its debut in Valencia, Spain in 2001, there have been 21 different locations in 16 countries on 6 continents for the 50 Red Bull X-Fighters stops.
World Tour Standings: 1. Levi Sherwood (NZL) 265 points, 2. Josh Sheehan (AUS) 260, 3. Thomas Pagès (FRA) 190, 4. Dany Torres (ESP) 185, 5. Taka Higashino (JPN) 150, 6. Rob Adelberg (AUS) 120, 7. Rémi Bizouard (FRA) 110, 8. Adam Jones (USA) 75, 9. Mat Rebeaud (SUI) 70, 10. Maikel Melero (ESP) 60