Brandon Semenuk dominated the 2012 FMB World Tour season and after a nail biting head to head battle with Martin Soderstrom at Red Bull Rampage, he was able to take his second consecutive FMB World Tour title and the golden CamelBak Better Bottle. The 2012 FMB World Tour Podium is completed with Martin Soderstrom (SWE) in 2nd and Thomas Genon (BEL) in 3rd position.
Three riders could have taken the FMB World Tour title at Red Bull Rampage – Thomas Genon sadly didn’t make it to the finals meaning Martin Soderstrom and Brandon were going head to head on the blood red sand. At Red Bull Rampage, Brandon came out the gate in true ripper style, taking probably the hardest line on the mountain. Successfully manoeuvring down the slippy loose rock on almost vertical faces, with multiple drops and a never seen before step down transfer but unfortunately crashed later in the middle section. After Brandon’s first crash, Martin could almost touch the golden Camelbak Better Bottle but as fate would have it, he also crashed on a 360 off a massive step down. So it all came down to the second runs. Realising that the judges were highly rewarding the upper section of the mountain and the line difficulty, Semenuk kept his gnarly technical upper line and flew down the mountain but later crashed while landing a backflip on the soft soil in the middle section. Martin’s eyes lit up! This was his final chance to win the 2012 FMB World Tour title after battling for it all year – all he needed was a minimum of 69.0 points (7th place finish) for his run. Martin chose a typical flowy and fluid upper section and once again set himself up for the 360, but he also became a victim of the mountain, slightly over rotating and his bike along with his hopes of winning the title sank into the soft desert sand.
With Soderstrom not scoring at Rampage Semenuk didn’t need another top score to secure the title and so it was his great earlier performance with six victories at Jumpship, Chatel Mountain Style, Crankworx Les 2 Alpes, Claymore Challenge, Colorado Freeride Festival and Bearclaw invitational that once again earned him the FMB World Tour Championship.
Aside from the battle between Soderstrom and Semenuk for the podium, this year has been particularly competitive and the top ten in the overall ranking consists of a very high calibre of riders. Thomas Genon stunned the world with his win at Red Bull Joyride and a 3rd place overall – a fantastic result for the 19 year old rider from Belgium. Placed 4th overall was newcomer and Canadian young gun – Brett Rheeder. This young talent shone through at Claymore Challenge, placing second, only just missing out to Brandon Semenuk. He carried on climbing up the ranking with further podium finishes. We can expect to see a lot more from Brett in 2013. Experienced riders Sam Pilgrim, Yannick Granieri and Sam Reynolds, were all battling for the podium until misfortunes and injuries hindered their climb to the top – but with a strong finish in the top ten they end the season with a positive result. Anthony Messere has exceeded all expectations finishing in 7th overall after scoring big with a bronze medal at Bearclaw invitational and a respectful top ten finish at other Gold events. The McCaul brothers rounding off the table in 9th and 10th can be upbeat about their finish. Cam had a great 3rd place finish at Red Bull Joyride and Tyler had a solid year with a strong 5th place at Red Bull Rampage – results which consequently lifted them into the top ten - freeride mountain bikers of 2012.
Two FMB World Tour Champion titles in a row and a second place in 2010 is an impressive demonstration of Semenuk’s strength. Does he have a secret for success? If he does, he isn’t telling! But Brandon definitely takes full advantage of the natural environment at his local area in Canada– training hard and dedicating his lifestyle to his mountain bike career. His attitude and commitment to the sport and the FMB World Tour has paid of with a consecutive title.
Slopestyle and big mountain events are not just about going bigger or faster than the rider before you. Attention to detail, technical skills, creativity, fluidity and trick skills all help put together a winning run. A FMB World Tour champion needs to have all of these attributes completely dialled. Brandon Semenuk delivered all this, giving the judges an easy job by ticking all the boxes. His consistency was unmatched and with six wins in a row, he made a statement loud and clear – he is the one to beat and once again is the one and only 2012 FMB World Tour Champion.