New Zealand’s Levi Sherwood stormed to a surprise debut win at the first event of the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour in 2009. We caught up with him to discuss the biggest success of his young career and his expectations for his Mexico return.
How did it feel coming back to the Monumental Plaza de Toros for the first time since your victory last year?
Everything went through my head again. The feeling of winning in 2009 came back to me – it’s great to be back.
What are your expectations for Mexico City? Has anything here changed?
Apart from one ramp, everything is the same as it was before. The course here is fun, simple and really cool to ride. I’ve been training hard and have a few new ideas in my head that I will be looking to put into practice in the next few days.
Tell us about your new bike…
I’ve switched from a four-stroke to a two-stroke, which means I now have more power. The handling is fantastic and I feel really comfortable on the new KTM.
How was your winter?
I had to have a knee operation after [the final Red Bull X-Fighters event in] London. Then I flew back home to get fit as quickly as possible. All in all, I had to stay off the bike for six months. I’ve been riding again since February and can’t wait to perform for the crowd in the arena.
You are no longer a rookie on the scene - people expect top results from you now. How do you deal with that?
It was definitely an advantage going into the event here in 2009 as an underdog. As far as pressure goes: what pressure? I try to stay relaxed, then nothing can go wrong.
"The starting field is incredibly strong. You can’t beat guys like Nate Adams just like that." –Levi
Since you made your breakthrough here in Mexico City a year ago, what does the city mean to you?
Mexico City will always be important to me – it’s the place where I won my first major competition. That was a huge step for my FMX career. I really want to do well here again.
Do you get to see anything of the countries where you compete?
Of course; you tend to be very focused on the event, but I always try to see a bit of the places where I compete – that is important for me.
How do you get on with the other riders on the World Tour? Do they sometimes help you out when you have questions?
I don’t want to bother them too much with questions – I know how annoying that can be. But if I have questions, they are always really cool and help me out.
Are some of the riders you are going to compete against this year FMX heroes of yours?
Of course, especially guys like Nate Adams and Bilko [Blake Williams]. Loads of the Red Bull X-Fighters riders were my idols when I was growing up.
Who is going to win in Mexico City in 2010?
Me, of course! No, seriously… Dany Torres is definitely riding really well – everybody’s been saying that, and I’ve seen for myself that he’s in great form.
Who’s your favorite for the overall win on the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour 2010?
I want to win it! But the starting field is incredibly strong. You can’t beat guys like Nate Adams just like that. Everything has to be perfect, you can’t afford to make any mistakes or get injured. I'm sure that 2010 will be a pretty close year and that people are in for a sensational World Tour.
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