Red Bull X-Fighters Mexico City 2006Saturday, April 1, 2006 | 1:17 PM
First Victory for Mat (ador) Rebeaud
SANTA MONICA, CALIF. (April 1, 2006) Mat Rebeaud of Switzerland adds his name to a distinguished list of motoreros as he claimed victory at Red Bull X-Fighters in Mexico City on March 31, 2006.
The 23-year-old from Payerne in Switzerland pulled out his entire bag of tricks at the international freestyle motocross competition and experienced "the most beautiful day of my (his) life" winning his first big international competition. However this was a hard won battle, fitting for the world's largest bullfighting ring.
A sold-out crowd of 42,000 at the Monumental Plaza de Toros was ready with handkerchiefs and passion as the velvet night made a perfect backdrop for the dramatic competition. As early as the first round, top favorite Travis Pastrana and surprise Norwegian challenger Andre Villa came out hard. Meanwhile Rebeaud's rise to glory began slowly in fifth place after the
first round where he managed a meager 70 points.
The top five riders advanced to the semi-finals where the three places for the final were determined -- one of which, for Andre Villa, seemed be secured. But a fall for Villa and a disappointing second round for Spaniard Dani Torres ended their nights early.
The final round began with a breathtaking run by last year's winner, Ronnie Renner, and then topped by Rebeaud, who showcased a trick he just recently mastered which looks like an under backflip. These two riders set a huge standard for final rider Pastrana. Known for his imaginative riding, the favorite was forced to push himself even more than usual. This evening though his limits were found: the 22-year-old American experienced a severe fall after using two obstacles on the course as a step-up jump. With the crowd chanting the legend's name, Pastrana was able to walk off the course with assistance and wave once last time to the audience he inspired with his abilities.
This inspiration was reciprocated as the crowd also inspired the riders: "I have fallen in love with these fans", raved Travis Pastrana after round one. Last year's winner Ronnie Renner thanked the fans with the "largest whip of my (his) life", and the Mexican local matador, Johan Nungaray, spoke after his run of the "best and most exciting two minutes, I have ever experienced".
Red Bull X-Fighters Mexico City 2006
1. Mat Rebeaud (SUI)
2. Ronnie Renner (USA)
3. Travis Pastrana (USA)
4. Dani Torres (ESP)
5. Andre Villa (NOR)
6. Robbie Maddison (AUS)
7. Nate Adams (USA)
8. Eigo Sato (JPN)
9. Sebastian Mejia (COL)
10. Johan Nungaray (MEX)