Semenuk wins third Red Bull Rampage title in dusty desert conditions

Brandon Semenuk hoists his bike over his head after winning Red Bull Rampage, Virgin, Utah, Oct. 25, 2019 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Twenty-one of the world’s best freeride mountain bikers made the starting roster for “Red Bull Rampage” – the energy drink’s premier mountain bike competition – and 20 riders dropped in at the main event held in the cliffs near Virgin Friday.

Second place finisher Brett Rheeder riding into the end of his run at Red Bull Rampage, Virgin, Utah, Oct. 25, 2019 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

The competition was fierce and the course brutal, but when the dust finally settled, one rider emerged triumphant.

Canada’s Brandon Semenuk gave a freeriding master class in his first run to become only the second rider in Red Bull Rampage history to make it to the top of the podium three times. The 28-year-old rider is now tied with Canada’s Kurt Sorge for most wins at Red Bull Rampage.

This year’s win comes on the heels of Semenuk failing to complete his line in the 2018 competition. But with redemption on his mind, Semenuk put together a run that garnered him a score of 92.33 and kept him in the lead throughout the competition.

In an interview at the end of his victory lap, Semenuk said that the most enjoyable thing about his win was just making it to the bottom.

“It’s awesome,” he said.

Last year’s winner Brett Rheeder of Canada came in a close second with a score of 91.00 and also took home the trophy for Best Trick with a can-can backflip that impressed the judges and the crowd.

Rounding out the top three was Thomas Van Steenbergen, also from Canada, with a score of 89.66.

The top 10 riders from this year’s competition earned automatic bids into next year’s Red Bull Rampage. Included in the list of top 10 finalists were St. George resident Ethan Nell in seventh and one of Toquerville’s newest resident riders, Tyler McCaul, in fifth.

Fifth place finisher Tyler McCaul at Red Bull Rampage, Virgin, Utah, Oct. 25, 2019 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

McCaul put in his best Rampage showing this year with his fifth-place finish and also took home the Kelly McGarry Spirit Award, an award voted on by the other competitors and given to the rider whom they felt best embodied the spirit of former Red Bull Rampage rider Kelly McGarry who passed away in 2016.

Nell, who crashed on his first run, came back with what he called his “dream run,” flipping some massive step downs, and wowing his hometown crowd. But his effort was only good enough for a seventh-place finish.

“It was six places off of what I wanted,” Nell said. “But I’m coming back next year and I’m healthy so I’m really happy.”

Nell said that it is awesome to be the local boy and feel the support from the fans.

Also finishing in the top 10 was veteran rider Kyle Strait who has competed in all 14 editions of Red Bull Rampage, winning it twice.

Final results:

  1. Brandon Semenuk (CAN) – 92.33
  2. Brett Rheeder (CAN) – 91.00
  3. Tom van Steenbergen (CAN) – 89.66
  4. Brendan Fairclough (GBR) – 87.66
  5. Tyler McCaul (USA) – 87.00
  6. Szymon Godziek (POL) -86.66
  7. Ethan Nell (USA) – 86.00
  8. Carson Storch (USA) – 85.66
  9. Kyle Strait (USA) – 83.33
  10. Vincent Tupin (FRA) – 81.33
  11. Reed Boggs (USA) – 80.00
  12. Emil Johansson (SWE) – 79.00
  13. Graham Agassiz (CAN) – 76.33
  14. Thomas Genon (BEL) – 74.00
  15. Reece Wallace (CAN) – 72.00
  16. DJ Brandt (USA) – 70.33
  17. Andreu Lacondeguy (SPN) – 52.33
  18. Kurt Sorge (CAN) – 51.66
  19. Bienvenido Agua Alba (SPA) – 45.33
  20. Cam Zink (USA) – 36.66

Other awards:

  • Best Trick: Brett Rheeder.
  • People’s Choice Award: Szymon Godziek.
  • Kelly McGarry Spirit Award: Tyler McCaul.
  • Digger Award: Brett Rheeder’s dig team.
  • Style Award: Vincent Tupin.
  • Toughness Award: Andreu Lacondeguy.

The 14th edition of Red Bull Rampage drew mountain bike fans from across the United States and around the world to Southern Utah’s desert to cheer for their favorite riders and get up close to the action. Fans can relive all the action at

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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