Frenchman Thomas Pagès Clinches First X-Fighters World Title With Win in Madrid
He locked it up! With a win in Mexico City to start the season, a runner-up finish at Glen Helen and now a win in Madrid, Thomas Pagès is your 2013 Red Bull X-Fighters world champion. Riding in front of a raucous crowd at the iconic Las Ventas bullfighting ring, Pagès left no doubters that he was deserving of the title, with some of his most polished and dynamic runs of the year.
Heading into the Spain stop, word spread that the sixth and final stop of the X-Fighters season was likely not going to take place, so Madrid would serve as the season finale. Pagès was already sitting comfortably in a ratings lead, but would still need a solid showing to prevent the world champ trophy from ending up on someone else’s trophy case. For instance, that of his Oakley teammate and the crowd favorite, Dany Torres.
With the pressure a first X-Fighters world title hanging in the balance, Pagès acknowledged slightly scaling back his usual go-for-broke approach. Despite his strategic approach to his runs, he still pulled off most of his signature moves, including the volt body varial, special flip and 540 flair.
“I was really focused on the championship tonight so I wasn’t bringing every big trick tonight,” Pagès admitted. “But this is a dream come true.”
“It’s more than a dream, because we started the season without Eigo Sato, and we’ve been all trying hard and working hard to honor him every day,” Pagès continued, referring to his fallen friend and fellow rider. The Japanese rider died after a crash in February while training for the season. Pagès has competed all season in a jersey that pays tribute to Sato, and he and Taka Higashino waved a Japanese flag together after the final scores were announced.
Pagès’ winning run included a ruler flip combo as well as a 540 flair, no-hand Superman, volt body varial, special flip, and a new tsunami 540 flair variation, before closing with a flatliner Indian air.
With his fifth place finish in Madrid, Torres finishing as runner-up in the season standings behind Pages. Levi Sherwood finished fifth in the season standings.