Once again Red Bull XRAY, presented by Robbie Maddison, will go down as Australia’s greatest FMX event of the year with over 15,000 screaming fans lining the picturesque hills of Picton’s Razorback witnessing the incredible action and a queue of people snaking up the road hoping for a glimpse.
When hometown hero and event creator Maddison qualified first in the FMX sector of the event, it looked as though we’d see a repeat of last year’s run to the top.
But come finals time Maddison had some stiff competition from Japan’s Taka Higashino and the USA’s Brody Wilson, his recent wrist injury also causing him no end of aggravation.
In the end though, it came down to a battle between Taka and Maddo as they went head-to-head in the 1:30 final.
The mood was tense and competition fierce as the two threw down amazing runs, both with big flips tricks that we had not seen across the weekend.
Taka opened the exchange with a big seat-grab flip over the 120 foot tabletop chased down by another flip over the return jump.
Maddison knew what he had to do, gritted his teeth as best he could to deal with the pain of his wrist and attacked the course. With a tough call for the judges, it came down to an extra jump fit into his time and a solid score in the style department that saw Higashino snare the win from Maddison.
“I’m super happy,” said the likeable Japanese rider. “I’m so tired, we ride so much. Three days, but so much fun. Maddo gave me a good challenge today, but I’m super stoked for the win.”
Maddison was gracious in his defeat and thankful to get through that portion of the contest without hurting his wrist any further.
“I’ve been riding with Taka a lot the last year and I’m so stoked for him,” said Robbie. “Once again, this event has worked out so well and it’s unreal to so many of my hometown fans come out and cheer us on.
“My wrist has been giving me a bit of grief and when Taka stepped it up for the final run, I knew I just had to give it everything I could. I’m happy though and here to ride another day.”
Brody Wilson’s strong qualifying was no fluke as he rode strongly to finish in third place on his first attempt and edge out recent X Games gold medallist Cameron Sinclair.
Speed and Style brought with it plenty of anticipation. With a stacked field of both national level racers and international FMX stars the action was always going to be tight.
Last year’s podium getter Tye Simmonds looked strong early on, with blistering speed and inside-out whips, while Lewis Woods consistently clocked some of the fastest times of the event whilst still managing to throw in a few tricks.
With Robbie going through the first round, he made the shock decision to withdraw from the Speed and Style sector and chose next best qualifier Dan McCoy to fill his place.
The move ended up very profitable for McCoy as he continued through the draw and rode his way to a very solid third place, edging out Tye Simmonds in fourth along the way.
The final battle came down to FMX winner Taka Higashino and FMX/racer Robbie Marshall. Having driven through the night to make Saturday’s qualifying and riding on only two hours sleep, Marshall showed early on that his mix of FMX skills and polished race speed would be deadly for the competition.
In the end, Taka, even though he flipped multiple jumps, couldn’t match Marshall and the young Queenslander took the win and a cool $5000.
“Super stoked on winning speed and style,” said Marshall. “It was a great weekend and I had a ball with boys. The five grand is going to look pretty good in my bank account too!”
1. Taka Higashino
2. Robbie Maddison
3. Brody Wilson
4. Cameron Sinclair
5. Robbie Marshall
SPEED & STYLE RESULTS:
1. Robbie Marshall
2. Taka Higashino
3. Dan McCoy
4. Tye Simmonds
=5. Cameron Sinclair
=5. Lawson Bopping
=5. Luke Stykes
=5. Lewis Woods