Thrills, spills with sweet victory highlight Red Bull Rampage; STGNews Photo Gallery

First place finisher Andreu Lacondeguy of Spain thrills the crowd at Red Bull Rampage,Virgin, Utah, Sept. 29, 2014 | All licensed images are printed with the express permission of Red Bull Media House North America, Inc., Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

Author’s note: All licensed images were obtained at the event and are printed with the express permission of Red Bull Media House North America, Inc.  

VIRGIN – It was three times a bridesmaid finally a bride for Spaniard, Andreu Lacondeguy who, after finishing in fourth place, just off the podium, for three years in a row, finally took the top spot at the Red Bull Rampage freeride mountain bike competition held over the weekend in Virgin.

Fourth place finisher Kyle Strait supermans off a jump at Red Bull Rampage, Virgin, Utah, Sept. 29, 2014 | All licensed images are printed with the express permission of Red Bull Media House North America Inc., Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News
Fourth place finisher Kyle Strait executes a “superman” off a jump at Red Bull Rampage, Virgin, Utah, Sept. 29, 2014 | All licensed images are printed with the express permission of Red Bull Media House North America, Inc., Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

It was a weekend that saw severe thunderstorms in the area causing evacuations and event delays, but in the end the Southern Utah sun shone bright on the rugged terrain that played host to some of the world’s best mountain bikers.

Monday’s finals showcased the top 20 riders who had either prequalified previous to the event or who had participated in Sunday’s qualifying rounds. Each rider, along with a team of builders, designed his own line down the course that featured large drops, huge gaps – the canyon gap was a 72-foot chasm – and ramps enabling them to thrill the crowd and hopefully impress the judges.

Spectators from across the country and around the globe made the trip that included a 4-mile hike or bike ride to the event location all in hopes of catching a glimpse of their favorite riders barreling down the unforgiving cliffs on the outskirts of Zion National Park.

Collin Cunningham of Orlando, Florida has watched every Rampage on live stream from home, he said, until this year when he came with his father to see it in person.

Cunningham picked a few of his favorite riders; namely, Kyle Strait and Cameron Zink, both from the U.S., and this year’s winner, Andreu Lacondeguy, from Spain.

The course took its fair share of victims as many of the riders laid it all out on the line to try and move up in the ranks.

Kelly McGarry of New Zealand came up short on his second run as he attempted to flip the canyon gap and tacoed his rear tire.

A bike belonging to rider Kelly McGarry of New Zealand gets mangled after a missed backflip on a 72-foot canyon gap at Red Bull Rampage, Virgin, Utah, Sept. 29, 2014 | All licensed images are printed with the express permission of Red Bull Media House North America Inc., Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News
A bike belonging to rider Kelly McGarry of New Zealand gets mangled after a missed backflip on a 72-foot canyon gap at Red Bull Rampage, Virgin, Utah, Sept. 29, 2014 | All licensed images are printed with the express permission of Red Bull Media House North America, Inc., Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

“I made my first run good and I was happy about that,” McGarry said, “but then I tried to step it up in my second run and flip the canyon gap but I kind of just came up a bit short, little bit of a head wind, little bit of a misjudgment.”

McGarry walked away from the crash and ended up finishing in 12th place.

McGarry wasn’t the only rider to come up short in Monday’s finals with one rider being transported off the course by medical personnel.

But though the mountain took its toll on some, it was all smiles for Lacondeguy who finally broke the fourth place curse and ended up on top of the podium.

“I am super happy … I was stressing for a week now and it’s good that it ended up this way,” Lacondeguy said. “I am super pumped, this was the main goal this year and it happened.”

Lacondeguy was joined on the podium by Cameron Zink in second and Canadian Brandon Semenuk in third. Zink also took home the prize for best trick – a 360 off a 50-foot cliff – and Semenuk won the People’s Choice Award which was voted on by fans who tuned into the live stream of the competition.

The event was also a highlight of the Southern Utah area with riders singing its praises for the friendliness of the people and the great riding terrain.

“I love Utah,” Lacondeguy said, “it’s the best place to ride bikes.”

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1 Comment

  • Julie A. October 1, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    Great photos and story, Hollie.

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