The new Red Bull Imagination course was bigger and tougher than ever, but Axell Hodges conquered it to take first place on Maxxis Maxxcross MX-ST tires. The innovative freeride competition concluded September 22 in Fort Scott Kansas.In a contest in which riders were judged on line creativity, magnitude, style and flow, and individual innovation, Hodges’ flawless first run was key to his victory. “I knew I just had to go out, hit my lines and just not mess up on one jump and we’d be looking pretty sweet. So first run, I went out there, didn’t mess up at all. I was pretty tired at the end of the five-minute run. It’s hard to remember where you’re going, what you’re doing, what you’ve already done…It was gnarly for sure, but so rewarding out there,” he told Swapmoto Live after his win.The Red Bull Imagination course was redesigned this year by Jason Baker of Dream Traxx to allow maximum rider creativity, with three new sections and no start or finish lines. “So gnarly. It’s fun,” said Hodges. “It’s different; it’s got bigger jumps, but just even bigger landings ,so just so fun to have that little extra cushion of having a big landing and knowing you could go really deep, or, they’re nice and round too so you could case some of these jumps and get away with it.”His Maxxis Maxxcross MX-ST tires give Hodges the freedom to tackle the gnarliest course with confidence. Designed and tested by SX legend Jeremy McGrath, the Maxxcross MX-ST features racing-specific compounds for great traction and stability, plus a lightweight, pliable carcass design that delivers excellent impact absorption and rider feel.