"The best day of my life!"

Mat Rebeaud wins the Red Bull X-Fighters in Mexico City

42,000 enthusiastic fans in the world�'s largest bull fighting arena, Live-TV transmissions in Mexico, Guatemala and Venezuela: Mexico City celebrated at the Red Bull X-Fighters an exhilarating Freestyle Motocross night. The end of the evening came shortly before midnight, when the jury passed their final judgment after three rounds and altogether 18 fantastic rides: The 23-year-old Swiss rider, Mat Rebeaud, is the winner of the Red Bull X-Fighters 2006 in the Mexican 20-million-metropolis.

The first surprise that the fans experienced in the Monumental Plaza de Toros, which had already been sold-out for weeks, was at the start: Not as previously announced, there were not nine but rather ten riders at the start - Andre Villa, the Norwegian, who was originally planned as the substitute rider, rode so convincingly in the final days of training that he was hastily called up as a permanent starter.

How correct the decision was, the 23-year-old, who lives in Spain, was already able to prove in round one: He crammed breath-taking difficulties into his first ride; only Travis Pastrana was awarded more points from the five-member jury, which included Mexico�'s most popular bull fighter, Eulalio Lopez Zotoluco. This was the matador�'s jury debut at an FMX event, where he was given the responsibility of rating the "Voice of spectators", that is, the enthusiasm of the public, by scoring this into points. The later winner Rebeaud had just barely slid his way into round two, by the way: With 70 points, he had placed fifth - the sixth-place Australian, Robbie Maddison, was eliminated with 69 points.

In the semi-finals with the five best riders, Travis Pastrana also made his mark in the opening run: The American "Wunderkind" inspired the crowd and jury with a great ride accompanied by Jerry Lee Lewis�' "Great Balls Fire". Andre Villa had bad luck: The Norwegian who was promoted as Pastrana�'s big challenger fell in his last jump and thereby missed the seemingly secured entry into the finals. For him, the workday ended just as it did for the Spaniard, Dani Torres, who remained 1.5 points behind Ronnie Renner with 74.5 points.

In the third and final round, the crowd cheered as the Freestyle Motocross show got unleashed - first by public favorite and last year�'s winner, Renner, then by Rebeaud. The Swiss KTM pilot laid down a brilliant and unbelievably precise run, riddled with tall-order difficulties. He thus forced Pastrana to take greater risks - and the best FMX rider of the world then risked too much this time. Just after halfway through his 120-second run, he had a heavy crash, but thankfully was able to leave the arena however on his own two legs.

"That is what our sport is all about", said Rebeaud after the victory which he celebrated with a Mexican Sombrero on his head. "I risked it and won. This is an unbelievable victory. It is probably the best day of my life."


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)

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