Semenuk finally locks down the win in front of the hometown crowd! Last year's champ Cam Zink was second and the Surrey BC sensation Anthony Messere took third.Complete Results Posted
Semenuk finally locks down the win in front of the hometown crowd! Last year's champ Cam Zink was second and the Surrey BC sensation Anthony Messere took third.Complete Results PostedTop 3
1. Brandon Semenuk – Whistler, BC - $25,000
2. Cam Zink – Reno, NV - $10,000
3. Anthony Messere - Surrey, BC - $5,000
Kokanee Crankworx may not be the final slopestyle event of the year but it is like the Superbowl, World Series or the Stanley Cup. Held on the last Saturday of the festival, it attracts the largest crowds of any slopestyle event in the world, and the most media. It is a marquee competition rated at the Diamond Level, the highest ranking for the Freeride Mountain Bike World Tour.
People started rolling into Whistler during the morning hours and Highway 99 was a bumper to bumper nightmare for most of the day. The parking lots were full and the Village Stroll was packed as everyone came in anticipation of one of the greatest shows on earth.
In past years this event has attracted particular weather, the opening weekend is generally damp and overcast, the Garbanzo Endurance Downhill is wet and the Slopestyle is gorgeous. In a pattern that has become formulaic for Crankworx as the week progressed the weather improved daily and of course the nicest day fell on Saturday. Over the many years of the event there has only been one or two that saw skies filled with bloated clouds and threatening rain. This year wasn't one of them.
With clear blue skies all day it was a spectators and riders dream, warm temperatures and a course that was in fantastic shape. The masses were amped up for an exciting show and the riders did not disappoint.
Red Bull, Joyride Bike Parks and Kokanee Crankworx all joined forces this year. They have committed to a long term goal of designing and assembling a course through the help of riders and experienced course builders that will evolve slopestyle, with the goal of helping it progress to the next level. Each coming year is to be a stepping stone and judging by what went down at the 2011 Red Bull Joyride the combination of big stunts, flow, speed and the best riders in the world it is exciting to think of what is to come.
Coming into the Red Bull Joyride eight riders were pre-qualified. Based on results from last year's slopestyle event these guys had already shown that they were the big dogs and did not have to strut their stuff in Friday's qualifying rounds. Darren Berrecloth, Brandon Semenuk, Yannick Granieri, Sam Dueck, Kelly McGarry, Mike Montgomery and Cameron Zink had received automatic berths into the main event, while everyone else had to fight it out in the trenches. (Casey Groves had also been granted a spot but unfortunately was not able to compete).
The qualifiers which were supposed to take place on Thursday afternoon had to be postponed due to rain and a very wet course. Friday afternoon a list of sixteen riders, all who would make a great main event, teed off against one another to see who the eight would be to make it through to Saturday. Many of these guys were names that you would have expected to see on the invite list but crashes and poor results last year had relegated them to Friday's round. It is strange to see someone like Cam McCaul having to qualify for an event like this but he managed to squeak through along with his brother Tyler. The real stand-outs were Geoff Gulevich who has been on fire this year, and a young upstart by the name of Anthony Messere.
Most people had not heard of this high school ripper from Surrey before this event. For those that had been paying attention Anthony had served notice that he was someone to watch placing 2nd at the Ranch Style Slopestyle, and 6th at the Jump Ship event earlier in the summer. Most of the riders knew his name and it was enough to get him into the qualification rounds. His performance in qualifying was nothing short of breathtaking, specators got to see a little bit of the future.
At 5:30pm the riders were gathered at the top of the Boneyard and everything was ready. There was a sea of people at the base of Whistler Mountain, both sides of the course were packed from the top to the bottom, and Big Bad Brad was on the mic getting everyone geared up. It was time for the showdown at the OK Corral.
The first rider out of the gate was Kurt Sorge and in a run full of monster airs the Redbull Joyride was underway. The Nelson, B.C. rider was on a mission to show that he is not just a big mountain hucker rider but can hang with tricksters too. Next up was Andreu Lacondeguy who nailed an absolutely gigantic superman backflip at the top of the course.
All of the riders in the first heat were going off. Normally it is a time to lay in a safe run and get a score on the books but there did not appear to be any holding back. Cam McCaul nailed a gnarly front flip at the top of the course and followed it up with a huge backflip, Greg Watts as always was linking up insane combos like his backflip bar-spin, Gully was showing that he has corked backflips on lockdown, the Claw was solid as ever with his threes and Indian Airs, and Sam Dueck nailed a massive backflip off the Kokanee Shack .
It was Anthony Messere who schooled everyone though. The fifteen year old ripper tore up the Joyride course with tailwhips, 360 tailwhips and a huge flip off the final jump. All huge and all stuck clean. His fellow competitors and the crowd were in absolute awe as the judges announced a score of 92.8 that launched him into first place.
All eyes were on two riders after Anthony's first place scoring run. Brandon was the first to drop in and in a run that had included not just a variety of tech tricks but some absolutely monster airs it had all the potential to be a winner until the final jump. Going for the flipwhip he came close but just could not hold the landing together. After Brandon Yannick crashed out, Sam Dueck hit up a safe and clean run but nothing that would move him very high up in the standings, then the big lad Kelly McGarry took a hard bail that broke his collarbone.
Mike Montgomery, the second place finisher in last year's slopestyle only earned a 63.2 on another solid but safe lap and then it was Cam Zink. Cam had been battling injuries for several years and had not been able to live up to the potential that he had shown when he came into the limelight. Last year, back healthy and riding strong he took down two of the major events of the season with wins in the Monster Energy Slopestyle and the Red Bull Rampage.
The last to go he put it all on the line with a three off the first drop then a corked three to a backflip knack knack and finishing with a slightly corked frontflip off the Kokanee Shack kicker. When scores were tallied he came out with a 94.0 and sure spot in the Super Final.
The second heat was make or break time for several of the riders. Eight move on and the only ones who had a score that looked safe were Zink and Messere. Sorge put in a solid run that edged him into the finals, Lacondeguy nailed his double back and rode away clean but took a hard digger at the bottom of the course with a flipwhip gone wrong.
Cam and Tyler McCaul again had solid runs that put them into the finals along with another corked out run from Gully. In almost a replay of his first run Cam Zink was lighting it up when a corked backflip over the spine laid him out on the ground.
One of the hardest crashes of the night went to Yannick Granieri. Hitting one of the middle jumps with a bit too much speed he pulled a huge backflip with a hard landing and was bucked over the bars, then over the course fence and into the rocks. Luck was with him as he got up quickly and walked away.
All eyes were on Brandon Semenuk, the local slopestyle phenom. Over the past few years he has racked up an amazing list of wins. Not only can he do the hardest tricks in the books he pulls them off with an astonishing regularity that usually puts him on top of the podium. The one event that has eluded the Red Bull athlete has been the Crankworx Slopestyle.
It is a given that Brandon loves riding his bike. You don't make it to his level without a passion for what your doing. A naturally gifted athlete he does not just rely on his ingrained skill. The guy is out training all the time, he is a fixture in the Bike Park, the Air Dome (foam pit) and he has built his own jumps near his home so that he can stay brushed up and ready for the big hits that he faces in each competition.
Brandon was at the top and surely he was putting a bit of pressure on himself, a massive hometown crowd, friends and family at the bottom and a desire to win the biggest mountain bike slopestyle event in the known universe. Dropping in he started with a truck off the start ramp hitting a backflip barspin over the Jeep then it was an amazing corked backflip over the spine. Semenuk boosted a huge table over the hip and then a barspin onto the satellite dish and a truck out. Speeding into the final jump, the phenom hit his flipwhip again and this time it was a textbook landing. To a roaring crowd the judges announced that Brandon had just taken over the lead with a 95.4.
Eight riders made it into the Super Finals, Kurt Sorge, Tyler and Cam McCaul, Geoff Gulevich, Greg Watts, Anthony Messere, Cam Zink and Brandon Semenuk. All the chips were on the table, it was a final chance for everyone to try and one up the impossibly high score of 95.4. Like a replay of last year's final heat crashes were commonplace. Sorge went down along with Tyler McCaul, the young Messere and Cam Zink who landed sideways and washed out on a corked back over the spine. Cam McCaul stuck his Superman Backflip, Gully corked out another solid run and finished with a flat-tire and a sketchy run out that had him threading the needle between the Red Bull arch and the fence. Greg Watts had another one of his stellar runs full of combo tricks but none could match the score that Brandon had laid down in Heat 2.
With Zink's crash it was all over. Brandon was already on the starting ramp when it was announced that he was the 2011 Red Bull Joyride Champion. Dropping in for a victory lap he sped down to the bottom and off the final kicker he had his arm out with a massive fist pump. The guy who has won almost everything had finally done it. On his home soil and in front of the largest crowd that any slopestyle event sees he had taken a win a the big show. 20,000 people were cheering on as he accepted his cheque for $25,000 and cracked the champagne.Full Result Red Bull Joyride