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The Red Bull X-Fighters are licensed to thrill

Published:Friday | May 11, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Kwesi Mugisa, Staff Reporter

ONTARIO, California:

At first glance, one could mistake the area for one where mining had gone on for bauxite than an actual arena, that is until a motorcycle rider zips across one of the steep dunes, seeming to just about delay the rules of gravity, turns the vehicle upside down mid-air before landing 30 feet on the other side, and he is just getting warmed up.

Such is the world of the freestyle motorcross rider, and for the thousands of enthusiasts that follow the sport in this part of the world, it means one thing, the Red Bull X-fighters are in town and they are in for a treat. The second tournament of the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour, which takes the event to all parts of the globe, is scheduled to get under way at 2 p.m. (4 p.m. Jamaica time) tomorrow and the riders are all set to match gravity-defying outrageous skills in duels in the desert.

However, by any standard and even for the seasoned veterans, the track that has been hewed out at Glenn Helen, in Ontario, California, for tomorrow's spectacle is sweeping, large, steep and imposing.

"Definitely, the track is really huge and looks like a motorcross track and not just freestyle motorcross, so it going to be very tough for us this weekend," Maikel Meleroa a young rider from Spain, told The Gleaner. He, however, admits that he is still very much looking forward to the event.

Practising tricks

"I'm ready. I've been practising my tricks, the other riders are ready, so it is going to be a good show."

Well, there can be little doubting that it is a quality field, and if the warm-up is anything to go by, with the riders gaining mastery over their machines as they leap and twist high in the air, it should be quite a spectacle.

Still, there is always an element of danger, a dance with disaster where one badly placed step can lead to disastrous results. But that, as Melerosa explained, is part and parcel of a sport that broken bones and twisted limbs can be part for the course.

"It is scary. The jumps are very high. The first time I rode, it was something else. It was intimidating. You do get used to it, though, and I am just looking forward to this weekend,"he said.

"I love freestyle motorcross. I've always wanted to do it. Ever since I watched it in Madrid, I was hooked."

Today's competition will see riders face off in the qualifying rounds, which will determine the placing for tomorrow's finals where riders will face each other in one-on-one duels with the loser facing elimination.