CANADIAN WINS MOUNTAIN BIKING’S SCARIEST EVENT AS VAN STEENBERGEN ENDS THIRD
RED BULL RAMPAGE IS THE SUPER BOWL OF FREERIDE MOUNTAIN BIKING
From its inception in 2001, Red Bull Rampage has always been about pushing the boundaries of what’s possible on two wheels.
Nearly two decades on, that premise has not changed and, in the build-up to this year’s Rampage on October 25 in Virgin, Utah here’s all you need to know about the annual mountain bike spectacular.
The event is open to just 21 riders from all around the world, all of whom have to be invited to qualify or take part in the competition. Each rider gets two runs each using whatever tricks they see fit. They are judged by a panel of their peers and the highest score wins.
The course is effectively made by the riders. A designated start and finish line is marked out by organisers, and the competitors have four days and the use of two shovel-wielders each – but no power tools – to create a stunning and challenging course in between the two points.
The course has a vertical drop of 237 metres (780 feet) with often strong winds to contend with and no tree line to block out the elements.
Last year, the event was won by Canadian Brett Rheeder, who produced a flawless run down the course near the Zion National Park, where it relocated to last year.
The first event back in 2001 – set up off the back of the rise in freeriding – was won by another Canadian and freeride pioneer in Wade Simmons.
There are a host of previous winners taking part this year among them Rheeder, countryman and three-time winner Kurt Sorge, Kyle Strait from the United States, and Spaniard Andreu Lacondeguy.
Strait still holds the record as the event’s youngest ever winner, taking the top prize all the way back in 2004 as a 17-year-old. He even competed in the inaugural event in 2001 and became Rampage’s first multiple winner in 2013.
In all, 10 riders were pre-selected by organisers with another eight awarded subsequent wildcards and three men: Reed Boggs, Juan Salido and DJ Brandtmaking up the numbers via a new-for-2019 athlete qualifier back in September.
UCI World Cup Downhill racer Gee Atherton and Antoine Bizet were among the invited wildcard entries but both sustained injuries in recent weeks.
Canada has been the dominant force at Rampage, winning eight of the 13 instalments including the last four.
WHAT HAPPENED AT RAMPAGE 2019 – IN BRIEF
Brandon Semenuk hit back from a disappointing 2018 Red Bull Rampage to pull off a brilliant first run in Virgin, Utah and win his third title at the 2019 edition with fellow Canadian Brett Rheeder denied back-to-back wins by just over a point. Here is all you need to know:
Rheeder came into the event looking to build on his first Red Bull Rampage victory last year, however the conditions were just right for what turned out to be a classic edition of mountain biking’s epic event.
American Carson Storch put down the marker early on with a superb score of 85.66 as 2019 Red Bull Joyride champion Emil Johansson of Sweden also impressed on his Red Bull Rampage debut with a 79.
Semenuk, though, looked in the zone and the 2008 and 2016 champion pulled off a brilliant first run of 92.33 that included an opposite 360 and backflip.
Briton Brendan Fairclough was a big fan favourite in 2018 and he had the crowd on their feet again with an excellent highly technical run of 87.66 that featured a breathtaking backflip over a canyon.
Polish star Szymon Godziek, two-time American winner Kyle Strait and compatriot Tyler McCaul all reeled off impressive runs in the 80s with Canadian Tom van Steenbergen building on his 2018 Best Trick award with an insane run full of big backflip drops to post 89.66.
Rheeder was unusually messy in his opening run to score 84.33, but made amends in the second run with a score of 91 despite the wind starting to pick up.
Fairclough had the chance to improve on his first run, but opted instead to pay tribute to Canadian Jordie Lunn, who sadly passed away earlier this month in a Mexican bike crash, with some course push-ups.
Van Steenbergen decided not to take his second run meaning that he finished third with Rheeder second and Semenuk able to go down his second run safe in the knowledge that he had wrapped up his third Red Bull Rampage title to match compatriot Kurt Sorge.
The 28-year-old said: “Obviously last year didn’t go very well. We had a good line, I didn’t rush and I got something good down. Still nerve-racking, but I was feeling it. I don’t think people realise how much Jordie did for me when I was young. He was a best friend.”
Rheeder, 26, added: “I broke the ice on round one and luckily I didn’t get affected by the wind. The season is over now and I am so happy to be in one piece.”
RED BULL RAMPAGE 2019 FINAL RESULTS
Brandon Semenuk (CAN) – 92.33
Brett Rheeder (CAN) – 91.00
Tom van Steenbergen (CAN) – 89.66
Brendan Fairclough (GBR) – 87.66
Tyler McCaul (USA) – 87.00
Szymon Godziek (POL) -86.66
Ethan Nell (USA) – 86.00
Carson Storch (USA) – 85.66
Kyle Strait (USA) – 83.33
Vincent Tupin (FRA) – 81.33
Reed Boggs (USA) – 80.00
Emil Johansson (SWE) – 79.00
Graham Agassiz (CAN) – 76.33
Thomas Genon (BEL) – 74.00
Reece Wallace (CAN) – 72.00
DJ Brandt (USA) – 70.33
Andreu Lacondeguy (SPN) – 52.33
Kurt Sorge (CAN) – 51.66
Bienvenido Agua Alba (SPA) – 45.33
Cam Zink (USA) – 36.66
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