Red Bull Rampage has become one of the most iconic and widely watched mountain bike events, and for good reason. There’s never been a shortage of spectacular crashes, amazing riding and jaw-dropping moments since it first burst onto our TV screens, magazine pages and minds back in 2001. We’ve drawn on our collective, geek-like knowledge of the last 11 years of Rampage to bring you the top 10 best moments.
Cameron Zink’s tasty canyon gap crash in 2012 had us all talking. During practice, the American managed to misjudge his speed on the run-in to one of the year’s biggest senders and hit the lip way too fast, resulting in a massive over-the-bars bail in mid-air. Luckily Cam walked away relatively unscathed, with just bruised heels.
Kelly McGarry shoots for the stars
The long-haired, easy-going New Zealand-born freerider first stepped up to the Rampage challenge in 2013, coming away with second place. Fast-forward to 2014, and Kelly was in full send mode. He launched the canyon gap way too far and overshot the landing. Upon impact with terra firma, both wheels blew up and he hit the deck in a tangled mess of bike, limbs and dust. Thanks to Kelly’s sturdy construction, he walked away with no serious injuries. Sadly, in February 2016 Kelly passed away after suffering a cardiac arrest while out riding in Queenstown, New Zealand. RIP McGazza.
The original UK ‘freeracer’
Executing a near perfect run, Gee Atherton landed himself second place at Rampage in 2010. It was the second time the British downhiller had made the podium, with an identical result in 2004. Along with Cedric Gracia and Kyle Strait, Gee is one of only a handful of World Cup riders to get a coveted Rampage trophy, although plenty of other racers have given it their best shot, including fellow Brits Brendan Fairclough and Bernard Kerr.
Man up, kid!
Taking mountain biking by storm back in 2001, the first ever Rampage blew everyone away. A then 14-year-old Kyle Strait was equally as impressive, sending the gnarly lines alongside seasoned (and much older) pros such as Robbie Bourdon, Cedric Gracia and Wade Simmonds. The American went on to win Rampage in 2004 and 2013, making him one of only three riders to win it twice, along with Kurt Sorge and Brandon Semenuk. He’ll be riding in this year’s contest, now aged 30.
Despite stomping a lightning-quick run down a knife-edge ridgeline and throwing in some massive gaps and a regular backflip, Antoine Bizet wanted to do more! Hitting the big doubles at the bottom of the mountain, the Frenchman pulled up and back as hard as he could. Flipping not once but twice, he nailed a double backflip on his DH bike. This run was good for second place at Rampage 2016, which is testament to the level of skill of the other competitors.
Bourdo bins it
Despite being vertically challenged, Robbie Bourdon isn’t challenged by the vertical! Us Brits didn’t get to watch the original Rampage until months later, when Sprung 5 was released on VHS as the 2001 season came to a close. We remember the opening scenes well – with music by Bushy and hectic riding from the desert in Utah, this iconic section featured Bourdo getting a little too wild as he careered towards a cliff edge, totally out of control. Had it not been for spectators grabbing the Canadian around the neck, he and his bike would have plummeted to an uncertain fate!
Brandon Semenuk’s world-class riding is virtually unparalleled. The Canadian oozes style, control, accuracy and flamboyance, all in fluid and effortless movements on his bike. Watching him ride is seriously inspiring. Don’t believe us? Watch for yourself…
Down there? Seriously?
Nico Vink, an ex-World Cup racer, BMXer and freerider, was blessed at birth with next-level bike skills and an uncanny ability to spot lines on mountainsides. When the Belgian rider revealed his 2015 Rampage line, it caused quite a stir. Fellow competitors, photographers and armchair warriors were as shocked as they were impressed. Unfortunately for Nico, he bit off a little more than he could chew and ended up needing time off the bike to recover after taking a hefty spill while riding the sheer cliff face for the first time.
Nicholi Rogatkin took this cliff crash like a champ. Getting off-line on one of the easiest bits of his Rampage line, while landing a jump, the American plummeted to the bottom of a 30ft cliff. The GoPro footage is insane and we’re not entirely sure how he walked away from this with only minor injuries. What a hero!
The hardest slam of them all?
Gee Atherton has taken a tumble or two in his time, and this 2012 wallride crash must have used up at least one of his many lives. Misjudging the line he needed to be on in order to hit the gap perfectly, Gee was surprised to find a cliff edge in his path. After clipping his back wheel, he was sent head over heels into the back of the lander. In true Gee style, he walked away with no broken bones, but decided that riding after suffering from a hefty concussion wasn’t a good idea!
You can watch Red Bull Rampage live on Red Bull TV at 5pm BST on 27 October HERE.
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