Red Bull X-Fighters
Blake "Bilko" Williams is one of the most familiar faces on the international freestyle motocross scene and has already gathered extensive experience at major events including the X-Games.
In 2010, the Australian will join the best riders in the world for the first time to fly through some of the most spectacular arenas on the planet and battle it our for the title of Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour Champion 2010.
In an interview Bilko talks about bad luck with injuries, his friendship to fellow Australian Cameron Sinclair and his expectations for the first stop of the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour 2010 in Mexico City.
Welcome to Mexico City! Is this your first time here?
Blake "Bilko" Williams: "Not exactly, but I am pretty much a tourist. I have been to Tijuana and Mexico City twice, but the last time I was here I ended up in a wheelchair with a few broken toes! Back then I gritted my teeth and took a flight to California because I didn't want to go to hospital here. This year is the first year that I am here with the Red Bull X-Fighters - I am really looking forward to it."
What do you know about the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour?
Blake "Bilko" Williams: "The Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour has a reputation for taking care of everything - accommodation, food and everything like that - so that the riders can really focus on giving their all at the event. I have only been in Mexico City or a day, but so far that has all been true."
It certainly took a while, but now you are finally set to ride on the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour. What are you looking forward to most?
Blake "Bilko" Williams: "I love riding in countries where people don't normal get to see that much FMX - the fans just go crazy. There will be 45,000 people in the arena, and I am pretty sure that they are going to be louder than my engine! The main thing for me this weekend is to enjoy it. I had to have four operations after the X-Games and rest for a total of six months. That was almost as long as Cameron's time out with his injury, and afterwards we started riding again together."
"The event here in Mexico City will be our first big one since the injuries. We are both really looking forward to it, but we can't forget that we are coming back from long injury breaks and we shouldn't do anything too crazy. There are about ten more events we would like to ride this year and we want to be fit and healthy for those."
You mentioned Cameron Sinclair. You're one of his closest friends and have supported him a lot since his spectacular crash in Madrid. What do you think about his comeback?
Blake "Bilko" Williams: "Yeah, it's pretty crazy. There were a few people who never believed it would happen, but he's back. When the accident happened I was in Mexico, but I called straight away to see how he was doing. The first time I actually saw him after the crash was following the X-Games in August. At that time he still had a few problems with his memory."
It is incredible how quickly he has managed to come back. You also helped him when he wanted to get back on the bike. Tell us about that.
Blake "Bilko" Williams: "Cameron called me and said that he wanted to start jumping again, so we pushed the kickers in at my place to make the gap smaller. Despite the fact that he was nervous jumping again for the first time, you could see even on his first attempts that he still had it. He couldn't even remember his middle name, but as soon as he put the helmet on he could jump! Of course, at that point he was still a bit rusty, but his body language clearly showed that he felt comfortable."
Accidents like Cameron's must make you think, though. Even the top professional FMX riders can hurt seriously themselves.
Blake "Bilko" Williams: "Of course. You could say to any of us that we shouldn't get back on the bike, but that is our passion. You could stop and find another job, but I think everyone of us would just spend the whole day thinking about FMX. I think we will keep riding until we can't do it any more or it stops being fun. Cameron survived his crash and I certainly won't be the one to say to him that he should stop riding - he wouldn't say that to me either."
One final question: what are your expectations for the first event of the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour 2010 here in Mexico City?
Blake "Bilko" Williams: "As I said, this event is the first for Cameron and me since coming back from our injuries. I just want to enjoy the weekend and give everything, but at the same time I don't want to get too carried away by the atmosphere and do jumps where I am not yet 100% confident. Thankfully my dad is here with me this weekend, so when I ride out of the arena into the tunnel he will be standing there telling me to be careful and not do anything stupid! It would be great to finish on the podium, but the main thing is to have fun and give the fans a great show. This will be my first Red Bull X-Fighters - so far it has been great."