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Man and machine dazzle by the Sphinx

The Great Sphinx of Giza may have witnessed some incredible sights over the 4500 years it’s been reclining there, but few are likely to compete with the stunning lunacy of Friday night’s freestyle motocross (FMX) jamboree.
The event brought together the world’s 12 best FMX athletes on their second stop of the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour 2010. Sailing 15 meters high and 30 meters in length, man and machine were seen suspended in astonishing poses against an ancient background of its own wonder.
The consistent gasps and “wows” of the 10,000 spectators throughout the two and a half hour event pierced the night, with stunt after stunt performed to a backdrop of blazing punk rock, heavy metal, and occasional pop.
“These guys are totally and utterly insane,” said one spectator after seeing a stunt that involved a rider letting go of his bike in midair for what seemed to be a very long two seconds, only hopping back onto it before what would have otherwise been a very nasty crash landing.
Though the event was injury-free, FMX is notorious for leaving its contestants with a history of broken bones. Nate Adams, who won last year’s world tour, was sporting a swollen hand the morning before the big event, after an accident during training and qualifications on Thursday.
“I broke my collar bone, several fingers and toes, my wrist, shoulder, left femur, and some of these several times over,” said 26-year-old Adams, half-amused, half-resigned to his fate. “I don’t think I was born to do anything else.”
Jones, who was raised in Phoenix, USA, finished third in last night’s competition, and began training for his FMX career at the age of eight. He says it isn’t fear or danger that are the most demanding in the sport, but rather the troubles of being on a world tour. “It’s really the jet lag, the exhaustion, and getting used to a bike that’s not your own that’s the real worry,” he said.
The winner of Friday’s competition was American Adam Jones, followed by Norwegian Andre Villa in second place.
By the time the event reached the finals, there was a sense of mounting repetition with the stunts. At that point, however, it did not matter as the mainly youthful spectators were buzzing on an excess of discounted Red Bull–which, along with Marlboro cigarettes–was decadently the only product within easy reach of purchase.
Organization was as lacking as any large event by the Pyramids, and tight security meant that each car was searched before parking–a process that for Al-Masry Al-Youm translated into over an hour to park.
All went smoothly once through the gates, augmented by Nile FM’s Safi delivering some lively and upbeat commentary.
Four more stops comprise the world tour, with the next event scheduled to take place on Moscow’s Red Square on 26 June, 2010.

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