Motocross star flies high after heady win
JIMMY ELLINGHAM AND SIMON PLUMB
Palmerston North's latest millionaire Levi Sherwood returns home today after becoming the youngest ever winner of the Red-Bull X Fighters tour championship.
The 21-year-old claimed the world title and its $1.3 million prize money after winning the Sydney leg of the extreme motocross world series on Saturday in front of a huge global television audience.
Speaking from Australia, Sherwood told the Manawatu Standard his success came after plenty of practice and riding.
"It's no different to what I've done for years. I just kind of made it work this year," he said.
"For me, it's an accomplishment. It's something I worked towards for the last four years. I can tick it off - it's a relief."
Sherwood described the circuit as tough. At Sydney he was pushed right to the final hurdle.
Before the event, he was locked in a two-way race for the title with Thomas Page of France.
The pair both fought through a head-to-head knockout phase before squaring off in the final, where Page fell off his bike early in his routine.
Sherwood continued to produce daring stunts.
"I've been thinking a lot more about consistency than I used to. That's the major thing in our sport, it's hard to stay in one piece all season."
Sherwood knows this only too well after suffering serious injuries, including a broken left wrist and two fractured vertebrae, in Las Vegas last year.
His success has largely been self-made. As a youngster, he would practise on his Manawatu farm.
Now, his earnings are comparable to the likes of cross-code star Sonny Bill Williams, whose deal to play rugby in Japan is worth $1.7m.
This year has been a good one for Sherwood.
Before his Sydney success, he had competition wins in Madrid and Dubai to go with a silver medal in the X Games in Los Angeles.
He travels the world now. X-Fighter tour riders perform stunts in places like Moscow's Red Square and the Egyptian pyramids.
- © Fairfax NZ News