Levi Sherwood may leap in a new direction

BEN STANLEY
Last updated 10:05 23/09/2012

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Kiwi star Levi Sherwood may sit on the cusp of motocross glory, but the high-flying youngster admits his future beyond this year remains uncertain.

Sherwood sits atop the Red Bull X-Fighters rankings with 235 points, heading into the circuit's final round at Sydney's Cockatoo Island on October 6.

The Palmerston North 20-year-old shares the competition lead with French rider Thomas Pages, who claimed the last X-Fighters round in Munich in August.

Even if he can't claim eventual victory in Sydney, finishing ahead of Pages should secure Sherwood X-Fighters glory - the first time a Kiwi would have won the six-round Red Bull-sponsored competition since its first season in 2001.

Yet despite his success in 2012, Sherwood said he is still deciding what road to go down, competition-wise, in 2013.

"I'll have a bit more options of what I want to do," he told Sunday News from his farm near Sanson, in the Manawatu.

"I still don't know what I want to do next year, but I know that I'll still be riding, and competing, no matter want. I just need to figure out where I'll be competing next year."

Another crack at the X-Fighters circuit, Sherwood's fifth, remains possible, as does involvement in an expanded X-Games series, which would see him compete in not only Los Angeles, but the likes of events in Asia and Europe as well.

This year has been marked by an impressive return to form for Sherwood, who had his 2011 season devastated by a horrific crash last June when in practice with Travis Pastrana's Nitro Circus in Las Vegas.

The Kiwi badly injured his left wrist, liver, lung, kidney and back, ruling him out of the X-Fighters season, which he would have to spend back in New Zealand recovering. Though claiming a second at the final Sydney last season, Sherwood said his confidence was low heading into 2012.

Winning the first event in Dubai was crucial in getting back into the right frame of mind, he said.

"The biggest moment was in Dubai," the two-time X-Games silver medallist said. "Winning that first one. [Coming into it] I wasn't sure whether I'd missed my shot or not, or I could still do it. So it was pretty good to get that done.

"I was always trying to get the whole season down, then have a crack at it. But it definitely helped and gave me a bit more motivation to win that first one."

Sherwood went on to win in Madrid in July, though his poor finish in Munich meant Sydney will be a "winner takes all" shoot-out.

"It would be pretty awesome," he said of a series title. "It would just be a relief, to be honest. It would be good to get that done, then I'll be able to come home and just relax for the rest of the year."

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The lifestyle of a motocross superstar may look like a glamorous one to outsiders, but Sherwood still sees himself as a typical Kiwi lad.

"Obviously, there's a lot of travel and that, but it all depends on the person," he said.

"A lot of riders choose to ride events outside X-Fighters but I pretty much don't. It's good fun but when I get home I live no different to my friends. I'm just the same old person, and do the same old stuff."

- Sunday News

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