Rob Adelberg got the first win of his Red Bull X-Fighters career in Glen Helen and the curly-haired Australian is hungry for more in Osaka, the fourth stop of the 2013 season and the first time the world’s most prestigious freestyle motocross tour has been staged in Japan.

Rob Adelberg had been knocking on the door in search of his first Red Bull X-Fighters career victory for years, coming close with a second place in Dubai in 2012 before finally getting that elusive breakout victory in Glen Helen that  thrust him into the middle of the 2013 World Tour title hunt. Now that the 24-year-old Australian has gotten a taste of glory on top at the Red Bull X-Fighters and after winning an X-Games gold medal this year as well, he doesn’t want to settle for anything less than first anymore.

Rob Adelberg. photo: Jörg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool

“Before this year I would have been happy to be on the podium,” said Adelberg, who has made head turns this year with his dazzling cliffhanger flip trick. “But after tasting the win, why would you want to go backwards? I definitely want to win here in Osaka.  The vibe here is really good. The Japanese people are really excited to see FMX. There’s a great vibe and I’d like to ride that to the win.”

Adelberg had long been considered and up-and-coming talent in the sport, getting an invite to London in 2009 and 2010, before appearing in Dubai and Sydney in 2011. A fearless rider who bounces right back from big crashes and injuries, he started catching everyone’s attention with his second place in Dubai last year and then for getting a gutsy sixth place in Glen Helen despite a broken jaw. This year he won Glen Helen on the strength of his commanding performance in Qualifying when heavy winds forced the cancellation of the main event.

“I’d definitely like to win a full run here in Osaka,” said Adelberg, who was two points better than his nearest rival, World Tour leader Thomas Pages of France, in Qualifying. “I think Pages is beatable. He has a lot of unique tricks but that doesn’t mean he’s the best guy at the moment. Just because he does something different does that mean he’s the best? I don’t think so. He’s beatable. I showed that in Glen Helen and Dany (Torres) showed that in Dubai.”

Rob Adelberg during practice in Osaka. photo: Jörg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull X-Fighters sporting director Tes Sewell says Adelberg is a changed man this season and isn’t surprised that with 210 points he is in the thick of the battle for the World Tour title behind only Pages (245 points) and even with Torres on second. “Rob is really focused mentally this year,” Sewell said. “He’s always had the physical skills but now he’s got the mental focus as well.”

Adelberg, who hopes to add the volt to his repertoire before the end of this season, agrees that this is the year when it is all coming together:  “I’ve come to realize I don’t have that much time left in my career. I should be at my peak now so I’m making sure I am. I want to win the Red Bull X-fighters championship. I don’t want to win just one event — I want to win a lot of events. I want to be a big name. I just figure now is my time. There’s no more time to wait around to slowly progress. I’m working hard now to get good results now.”

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