On a gusty day in Southern Utah, a group of 25 daring mountain bikers blew the doors off what is possible on two wheels, unleashing some of the biggest moments the sport has ever seen. While mother nature only allowed for one full run before the conditions made it impossible to ride, that was all that was needed for event veteran Kyle Strait, who won the event for the second time –eight years after his first Red Bull Rampage title.
Red Bull Rampage is a unique contest that determines the best overall mountain bike rider – one who can combine skills from downhill freeride, slopestyle, dirt jumping and racing. Strait put all the elements together; combining a fluid and quick style at the top with a huge technical no-hander off the signature Oakley Icon Sender feature – dropping over 70 feet and landing clean. He impressed judge and mountain bike pro Aaron Chase, “Strait’s run was everything a Red Bull Rampage run should be. He rolled the dice but also rode with 100% confidence. He rode really strong, looked really good and there weren’t any flaws in his run. He earned it.” Strait first competed in the event at only 14 years OF AGE, and won it when he was 17 in 2004.
There was a barrage of amazing moments, including two backflips that had the 1,500 plus spectators going mental. Cam Zink backflipped the Oakley Icon Sender – a trick he had been planning for months and required him to build his own kicker ramp to get the angle needed to attempt it. The vision paid off, catapulting him to a 78-foot backflip and earning the Utah Sports Commission Best Trick award. Zink’s line also earned him a third place finish in what is sure to be a big week in his life – in attendance was his girlfriend, who is due to give birth to their child any day.
Competing for the jaw-dropping moment of the day was New Zealand native Kelly McGarry, who backflipped the treacherous 73-foot canyon gap, then stuck the rest of his line with a huge corked-out flip that easily put him into second place. His run also garnered the praise of the 400,000 fans watching online around the world who voted him as the recipient of the first-ever Red Bull Bike People’s Choice Award. Although nervous about his big trick, his decision to do it paid off. “Last night I was freaking out, wondering if I should do it. But I had the speed, it felt right, so I just sent it!” said a jubilant McGarry after the event.
Results: 1. Kyle Strait (USA) 87.50 points, 2. Kelly McGarry (NZL) 86.75, 3. Cameron Zink (USA) 84.75, 4.Andreu Lacondeguy (ESP) 84.25, 5.Tyler McCaul (USA) 80.50, 6. Pierre Edouard Ferry (FRA) 76.50, 7. Cam McCaul (USA) 75.75, 8.Brendan Fairclough (GBR) 75.50, 9. Garett Buehler (CAN) 74.50, 10.Thomas Genon (BEL) 72.50
Utah Sports Commission Best Trick: Cam Zink, Backflip off the Oakley Icon Sender
Red Bull Bike People’s Choice Award: Kelly McGarry
Each rider was judged solely on their first run as second runs were unable to be completed for all riders due to high wind conditions. Competitors are judged on style, amplitude, fluidity, and difficulty of line.