2008 Red Bull X-Fighters champion Mat Rebeaud will make a sensational comeback in Moscow on Saturday night, just a few months after being ruled out of the World Tour’s opening events following a crash.
The Swiss star suffered a heavy smash in pre-season, breaking his arm and sustaining a punctured lung, forcing him to miss the opening round of this year’s World Tour in Mexico City. Rebeaud has been back in the saddle for some weeks now and will make his Tour comeback tonight.
“I’m feeling pretty all right,” he said earlier today. “Every day is getting better. I’m pretty happy with how my arm is doing and it’s pretty cool that I can come back for Moscow. I don’t think I will be 100 percent but I will do my best and try to ignore any pain I feel and really ride well.”
Rebeaud’s recovery was so rapid that he had contemplated riding at the second tour stop in Egypt last month, but in the end decided that Moscow would make a better location for his return to action.
"It’s better to go well prepared than to go to an event without practice and get a shitty result." –Mat Rebeaud
“I really wanted to come back for the round in Egypt but it was just too soon,” he admitted. “I had a meeting with my doctor in the week before the round at Giza to check if my arm was strong enough to ride there, and after a long discussion we took the decision to not take the risk.
“It was pretty hard to say no, but in the end I think it was pretty smart as I would have competed there without any practice. Now I have had a month to prepare for Moscow, which I think is better. It’s better to go well prepared than to go to an event without practice and get a shitty result.”
Mat has spent the time since his accident recuperating at home in Switzerland; he made it back on the bike mid-way through May.
“I’ve been back in Switzerland for a while,” he said. “It’s been pretty cool. The weather has been pretty good and I’ve been able to practice a lot. I’ve just been staying with my parents and preparing myself for the Moscow competition. I started to ride in May and jumped a lot in the foam pit because the landing is softer; I really started to get all my tricks back."
“I went back onto dirt at the beginning of June and that gave me two weeks on dirt before going to Moscow,” he added. “It’s not the best preparation you can have but I’ll just do the best with what I have.” He’s itching to get back to the heat of the competition, having been forced to experience the first two rounds from his living room.
“It’s pretty hard to watch the events on the TV and not be there, especially with Mexico, but that’s the nature of this sport; sometimes you just don’t get to do all the things you want.”
Rebeaud has been surprised with how the race for the Red Bull X-Fighters title has shaped up so far.
“I was very surprised about the judging,” he confessed. “It’s a new system and it’s bound to take some time for everyone to get comfortable with it, but I’d watch a run and then see the result and it was totally not what I expected!
“This year I was really expecting that Dany (Torres) would be the man to beat but he has had a problem with his arm like me. I think Villa is in really good shape and Nate, too. It’s pretty hard to know because I wasn’t there. When you watch on TV you don’t know if it’s windy or how the conditions are. We’ll see…”
For now, though, it’s all about getting back into Red Bull X-Fighters competition in 2010. Rebeaud insists that he’ll ride with just one aim in mind – to enjoy himself. “I’m not thinking about the result,” he said. “I just want to try my best; I’m hugely motivated to come back to the series. I think if I can ride well, that will be a win for me.
“It’s going to be good enough just getting to Moscow. I’ve never been there and it’s really exciting to get the chance to ride there. It’s a great place for me to ride again. The place will be just crazy. I hope the crowd will be good and they help me forget about what happened and help me ride well.”
Follow Mat and all the other Red Bull X-Fighters live from Moscow on Red Bull Web TV on Saturday, June 26th, starting at 1:15 p.m. ET.