Rheeder rides to Red Bull Rampage victory

VIRGIN – Canadian Brett Rheeder won the 13th edition of Red Bull Rampage Friday, needing only one run down the steep mountainside to claim his first-ever Rampage title.

L-R: Andreu Lacondeguy, Breet Rheeder and Ethan Nell celebrate on the podium after their top-3 finishes at Red Bull Rampage event in Virgin, Utah, Oct. 26, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool, St. George News

“This is my sixth time competing at Red Bull Rampage, and my first three years at Red Bull Rampage were tough,” Rheeder said during an interview afterward. “I was way out of my element and it took a long time to finally be a contender for the title and it feels unreal.”

The invitation-only event featured 21 of the world’s top freeride mountain bikers, 19 of whom competed Friday. The athletes practiced Wednesday and Thursday, building ramps and trails and strategically planning their descent routes at the new venue, a short distance north of where the event was held last year.

By the time Rheeder made his way down the hill Friday in front of a crowd of more than 3,000 people, six riders had already crashed during their initial runs. But Rheeder’s run, which included a pair of 360s and a couple of nice backflips, one of which was on a long flat drop, was successful, earning him a score of 89.66 and putting him atop the leaderboard.

Andreu Lacondeguy of Spain, who’d nailed his first run earlier with a score of 87.33, tried to top that during his second run. His valiant attempt fell short near the end when he landed wrong atop a small berm and crashed. He stayed in second place overall, as Rheeder skipped his unneeded second run to claim the championship.

Hometown favorite Ethan Nell, 21, of St. George, finished in third place for the second year in a row (he has only competed in two Red Bull Rampage events to date). His first run included a couple of impressive backflips and a few other solid tricks, earning him a score of 86,.33 from the judges. Nell decided to play it safe during his second ride and settle for third place overall.

Competitor DJ Brandt of Grand Junction, Colo. crashes during the Red Bull Rampage event in Virgin, Utah, Oct. 26, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

The only other Utah rider at the event was another hometown hero, 21-year-old Reed Boggs of Hurricane. Boggs had a solid first run, scoring 59.66, but crashed hard at the bottom of a flip jump during his second run. He finished 13th overall.

Defending champion Kurt Sorge of Canada had a solid first run, scoring 74.00. He finished ninth after opting to skip his second run.

Winning a special award for best trick of the day was Canadian Tom Van Steenbergen for an enormous flat drop backflip that drew gasps and cheers from the crowd.

Another crowd-pleasing performer was 21-year-old rookie Adolf Silva of Spain, who took home the People’s Choice Award, presented by the Utah Sports Commission.

The Kelly McGarry Spirit Award, as voted on by the athletes themselves, went to Brendan Fairclough of Great Britain.

The event was streamed live on Red Bull TV for the first time, and fans also had the opportunity to explore the venue via augmented reality technology using a 3D topographic model of the mountain.

Red Bull Rampage 2018 final official results:

  1. Brett Rheeder (CAN) – 89.66
  2. Andreu Lacondeguy (ESP) – 87.33
  3. Ethan Nell (USA) –  86.33
  4. Tom van Steenbergen (CAN) – 84.66
  5. Thomas Genon (BEL) – 83.33
  6. Tyler McCaul (USA) – 82.00
  7. Kyle Strait (USA) – 80.33
  8. Szymon Godziek (POL) – 75.00
  9. Kurt Sorge (CAN) – 74.00
  10. Brendan Fairclough (GBR) – 67.66
  11. Adolf Silva (ESP) – 64.33
  12. Vincent Tupin (FRA) – 63.00
  13. Reed Boggs (USA) – 59.66
  14. Rémy Métailler (FRA) – 55.66
  15. Graham Agassiz (CAN) – 50.00
  16. Brandon Semenuk (CAN) – 36.00
  17. DJ Brandt (USA) – 33.33
  18. Carson Storch (USA) – 0.00
  19. Jordie Lunn (CAN) – 0.00

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Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.


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