News 14 May 2012

Potter takes over Red Bull X-Fighters lead with Glen Helen victory

American Todd Potter was the winner of the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour round at Glen Helen in California over the weekend in the event's return to the U.S.

Todd Potter flies to victory at the Red Bull X-Fighters event in Southern California. Image: Joerg Mitter.

American Todd Potter was the winner of the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour round at Glen Helen in California over the weekend in the event’s return to the U.S.

Potter was the master of the 60-foot high step up that scared half of the field away from the biggest hill jump ever included in a Red Bull X-Fighters course to beat Frenchman Thomas Pagès in a thrilling duel.

Another American in Wes Agee also thrived on the hill-filled California-style track, getting a superb third place in his first-ever competition and winning the Swatch Best Move.

Potter, Pagès and Agee dazzled the afternoon crowd of 15,000 with their breathtaking flips and back flips up what all the riders agreed was the most intimidating step-up jump ever.

Many of the favourites, including defending champion Dany Torres of Spain and 2012 championship leader Levi Sherwood of New Zealand, opted to skip the awe-inspiring step-up and paid a heavy price for that with the judges, getting knocked out in early rounds against the bolder riders who were not afraid to tackle the beast.

It was a risky leap more than 60 feet up to the top of a cliff and anyone falling mere inches short of the landing on the rim could end up tumbling straight back down the steep hill.

“It’s a dream-come-true,” said Potter, who clearly had the crowd on his side throughout the three knock-out rounds with his flashy riding style and charismatic flirtations with the spectators.

Potter said the courage paid off for the winners in Glen Helen and challenged his rivals to learn how to jump on big step-ups if they want to win on tracks like Glen Helen.

“I think they need to suck it up and do it – that’s the bottom line,” he added. “You can’t just circle and hit a ramp and come back and hit another ramp. This takes you out of your element and puts you into the real world of FMX and its roots.”

Pagès had thrilled the crowd with body varial moves in the quarter-finals and semi-finals but made a mistake on the jump in the final and had to abort it.

“I was getting tired and just missed it,” he said. Torres ended up back in eighth place and Sherwood was seventh after the two pre-event favorites bowed out in early rounds without attempting the step-up.

Top Australian was Rob Adelberg in sixth, one position ahead of Kiwi favourite Sherwood.

Potter now leads the tour with 135 points ahead of Sherwood, who won the opening round in Dubai.

Chile’s Javier Villegas, riding with a separated shoulder, just missed the podium with fourth place and is in third overall with 120 points heading into the third 2012 stop in Istanbul, Turkey on 16 June.