Now that the dust has settled on another edition of Red Bull Rampage, let’s take a deeper look into what we spotted from the sidelines.
1. Brandon Semenuk Broke Records
Brandon Semenuk was the rider to beat at this year's Rampage. After winning the event in 2019 with a 92.33, all eyes were on him to see if he could secure the top result again. After a disastrous first run, he would be the first rider down for run two, managing to put together a historic Rampage run.
Scoring 89, Brandon managed to take the 2021 win and became the first rider to take four Rampage wins. He is also the first to win two Rampage events in a row. The closest riders before were Brett Rheeder (first in 2018, second in 2019) and Andreu Lacondeguy (first in 2014, second in 2015). Brandon also joins both Brett and Andreu in being the only three riders to ever secure a top-three finish in the event following a win.
2. Enduro Bikes and Single Crowns
A trend that was more apparent than ever before at this year's Rampage was the rise of the enduro bikes and single-crown forks. Looking at the top three riders, none were on your traditional downhill bike with a dual crown fork. Brandon was obviously on a single-crowned Session with his RockShox Zeb, Kurt Sorge was riding an Evil Insurgent and Reed Boggs was on a Yeti SB165. Overforked bikes are nothing new at Rampage, but it has been interesting to see the complete top three at this year's event not being filled with what you would think of as a traditional freeride bike. After Brandon's success this year, we wouldn't be surprised to see more single crowns in future events and since Evil and Yeti's enduro frames are up to the demands of Rampage so we don't see either brand launching a downhill bike anytime soon.
3. Every Finisher Qualifies for 2022
Rampage this year saw a smaller group of riders take on the event with just 15 names on the list for 2021. With the top 10 automatically qualifying for 2022, every rider had great odds to make it to next year. This year had some heavy crashes before finals even began with Andreu Lacondeguy, Carson Storch and Brage Vestavik unable to compete on event day. When it came to the big event, we saw more crashes in the first runs as riders pushed their limits on the huge course. Tom Van Steenbergen was unable to complete his second run after a horrific crash in his first run that landed in him the hospital with multiple injuries
, while Vinny T elected not to do a second run after a huge crash off his biggest drop in his first run. We wish all the injured riders from Rampage this year the best with their recovery and we can't wait to see them all back on the bike.
With five riders injured at this year's event, the second runs saw only ten riders hike up to the start, meaning every rider dropping in should make it through to the 2022 event unless the qualification process is changed. Both alternates to the event, Reed Boggs and Thomas Genon, are on the list of ten athletes.
- Brandon Semenuk
- Kurt Sorge
- Reed Boggs
- Cam Zink
- Tyler McCaul
- Kyle Strait
- Thomas Genon
- Ethan Nell
- Jaxson Riddle
- Szymon Godziek
4. The Level Was Extremely High
While this year's Rampage featured some heavy crashes, it could be one of the most competitive years ever with every rider fitting in some wild drops, technical features and huge tricks into their runs. We don't envy the judges this year with everyone bringing something amazing and unique to their runs. In the past, we have had variety in runs with some opting for speed, others for tech, and other for tricks. But this year, it seemed that every rider that competed in finals brought a little bit of everything to their lines and it was a huge step up from the last time athletes competed at this venue in 2017.
While the top two finishers, Semenuk and Sorge, each claimed yet another podium finish on their revamped lines from 2016 and 2017, it was impressive that two newcomers to the site, Reed Boggs and Jaxson Riddle, were able to walk away hardware, as well. Reed Boggs finishing in third place and Jaxson taking the Style Award and his build team of Joel Shockley and Samuel Mercado taking the Digger Award.
5. Jaxson Riddle Was the Undisputed Fan Favourite
As we found in our poll
, everyone had strong opinions on who they thought should have placed higher. While Brandon Semenuk scores highest in our poll for first place, Jaxson Riddle received the highest number of votes to take second and third place despite actually coming in ninth. Interestingly, if our poll decided the top three then Brandon Semenuk would have been first, Jaxson Riddle second and Cam Zink third. Jaxson also had the most votes to the following two questions: "Who was underscored?" and "Whose run did you enjoy the most, reglardless of scoring?"