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Interview with Mat Rebeaud
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After missing out on the first two stops of the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour 2010 as a result of injuries sustained following a heavy crash in California during pre-season training, Red Bull X-Fighters Champion 2008 finally returns for the mega-event on Moscow’s Red Square on 26 June 2010. In an interview the Swiss FMX superstar talks about crashes, fear and riding through the pain barrier.

Mat, first and foremost welcome back to the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour 2010! How does it feel to finally return after such a long time out?
I am so excited to be back. I missed the first two stops of the season, and it was so tough sitting at home on the couch and watching the Red Bull X-Fighters on TV. Now I’m here and hoping to do well.

Having not ridden any competitions this year, how are you feeling about your chances here in Moscow?
To be honest, I am not all that confident because my arm is still painful. I am not back to 100% yet and I haven’t had much chance to practise. I will try to do my very best here and not really think of the result. Moscow will be my first competition since crashing and I just want to see where I am, what I have to work on and what level the other riders are at. Of course I am natural competitor and want to do well, but I am not stupid. The main thing is to enjoy it and see what I have to work on for next time.

Tell us about the road to recovery since your crash.
I crashed back in March and tried to ride on the flat about month later, but it was really painful and I knew I had to wait. I have been riding the foampit for around four weeks now. Two weeks ago I started hitting dirt kickers. I am still really short on practice, but it’s incredible how quickly it comes back to you. Every day I ride I can feel myself getting better and better. I practised yesterday and I hope I will be feeling even better on Saturday.

You said you’re not back to 100%. Does pain affect you when riding?
To be honest, when you’re riding you forget the pain – pain is just information from your body telling you something is wrong! I don’t consciously block it out, but I just don’t feel it. I suppose it’s a bit strange. Then, when you stop riding, you feel it all of a sudden!

How about the mental side of things? Does a big crash like that play on your mind? Would you say you are now more afraid of what could happen when you are riding?
No, I’m not afraid. I knew what could happen to me even before I had my crash. To be honest, I don’t crash often but when I do I tend to crash big! Nothing has changed in my head – the only thing I have to be careful about is my arm. I started FMX at an early age, and since then it has been my hobby, my job and my life. When you hurt yourself you want to get back as quickly as possible to give your best to the sport. That is why we are here – if you’re not motivated you won’t get to this level.

Take us through what happened on that fateful day in California.
To be honest, I don’t really like talking about the crash too much. I was preparing for the first stop of the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour 2010 in Mexico City and went down hard. It was a bit of a strange day, in fact. Lance crashed about and hour before I did and went off home, then I crashed! It was a bit windy – maybe it was down to that!

What are your first impressions of Moscow?
I haven’t been to track but yet but it looks cool. This is my first time in Moscow and I’m impressed – nice girls and a nice track! It’s really special to be here because it is a place you see in lots of movies. It’s pretty tough to get a visa, but now I’m here and I have to say I don’t feel especially afraid or anything. The people here don’t tend to talk much, but we’re definitely going to have a good time on Saturday night.

This is your first stop of the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour 2010. How important is Red Bull X-Fighters for the sport?
The Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour is the main international FMX event. It’s a world tour, so it means we have the chance to come to places like this. That’s what makes it so special and that’s why every rider wants to ride it.

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