Taking South African action and motorsport to another level – By Brian Capper
If you weren’t one of the fans who turned out for the World Tour Finale of the 50th Red Bull X-Fighters event in Pretoria, then you missed out. Not only did this historical event kick up some dust for the first time ever on South African soil but the venue at the Union Buildings was a marvel to behold.
As a South African, being able to see some of the best riders in the world, pulling off some of the sickest tricks in the book against the backdrop of the Union Buildings; it made me incredibly proud. It just showed that South Africa is more than capable of hosting a World Class motorsport event, and to see something like X-Fighters mixed in with the heritage of sunny South Africa… It was simply spectacular!
The crowd was insane! 22,000 people pulled in to watch the world’s top action sports riders do what they do best. Wow, it was incredible!
I chatted to a number of people in the crowd and most of them weren’t even motorsport fans. This is huge for South African motorsport. An event like X-Fighters will always help to pull in new fans that can then develop the sport locally once the tour has moved on.
I mean it’s hard to turn around and say, “Well that was a waste of time,” when you’ve just seen Josh Sheehan pull off a series of double backflips in consistent runs. Incredible! It was so special to see such a master-class live and it seemed like everyone had such a great time. I doubt that any of those 22,000 will miss the next one.
Look, it’s not confirmed that X-Fighters will be returning to South Africa, but after such a roaring success I don’t see any reason why the tour won’t be touching down on SA soil again. From the venue to the crowd to the unique motorbike engine trophy, we really put on a good show.
It’s obvious that we’re getting some traction here, there’s no doubt about that. With Nitro Circus earlier on in the year and the recent X-Fighters event it’s helping to get SA fans hooked on motorsport and giving our industry a massive boost in terms of revenue generation and new potential sponsors.
Whether the crowd will be returning to catch my Red Bull teammate Giniel de Villiers and I tearing up the X-Fighters course in the Dakar spec Toyota Hilux, I can’t be sure. It was definitely a highlight for me and I think that the cheer from the crowd after we hit one of the jumps was an indication that they may have enjoyed it too.
All-in-all, X-Fighters was a massive leap forward for South African action and motorsport. I was asked if I thought that this event would inspire young South African riders to reach for the stars, so that one day we might have one of our own riding in this inspiring event.
It’s hard to say seeing as it is such a fast progressing, technical sport, but then again we’ve all seen the resilience and determination from South African athletes many times before.
There is no doubt that X-Fighters has seriously galvanised the youngsters and I’m hoping that it will inspire them to take the sport seriously. There are currently no young prospects on the horizon but that can all change. Youngsters learn quickly, so hopefully if the sport continues to gain momentum with regular events like X-Fighters we’ll have a young South African throwing air punches in front of the Union Buildings after a killer run sooner rather than later.
Only time will tell. But for the moment, we’re heading in the right direction.
#xfighters #50timesWOW #BrianCapper