We're lucky at SCOTT to be able to work with two of the most stylish riders out there on a DH rig- Brendan Fairclough and Nico Vink. Fortunately, they both received an invite to participate once more this year at Red Bull Rampage. Being a part of this event is truely a remarkable experience for the riders. We sat down with Brendog and Nico to give you guys some behind the scenes insight on what it is like to be at the top of the hill in Virgin, Utah.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________Having both competed in Rampage before, what were your goals and aspirations leading into this year’s event?Nico
|For me it was simple. I wanted to get back into the main event and to improve upon my performance from last year.|
|My main goals were to jump my stupid canyon gap and to end top 10 so that I would be pre-qualified for next year's event. I managed to get both done so I came away pretty happy.|
Brendan and Nico having a good laugh. Spirits were high all week.
Due to some rain, official practice had been cancelled for the day. Naturally, this meant that it was the perfect time to head to the old Rampage site to have a good old hip-session with the buds.
Nico brings his moto style everywhere he goes, and man does it look good.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________It seems like the current Rampage site in Virgin has been ridden left and right. How did you go about choosing your lines?Nico
|I decided to ride my line from last year, and to change the bottom section. I looked for different options, but in the end I decided that I still really liked the line I had chosen last year, and didn't find anything better.|
|When I first went there last year I found a gap over a canyon and figured it would look pretty good in photos, so I worked on that. Then I decided to just work based off of my strengths and built a fast, exposed and technical line into the gap.|
Sometimes you just have to push up for the goods. Brendan putting in his time.
Brendan practicing his steeze wanting to make sure it was ready for the main event.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________What sort of mental preparation do you go through before such an event?Nico
|I guess I just deal with it. I entered the event so now I have to ride it. Honestly, it is pretty scary at some points. When you see your mates going down hard and you need to ride after, it gets you thinking. The only way to do it is to block it out and deal with it.|
|I didn't really have much time to prepare as I had to race for the World Cups before the event, so my mind was preoccupied with that, but I definitely had a lot of sleepless nights worrying about jumping the canyon.|
Brendog and his crew put in a lot of work during the week to sculpt a line out of a previously unridden area. It was designed for mountain goat like traversing, but with ample amounts of speed.
Brendan's canyon gap remained from last year. It was time for Round 2. He sized it up quite a bit during practice, which to be honest was a very good idea considering the consequences.
...and then he just decided to send it in true Fairclough style.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________Brendan, you finally hit your canyon gap. What was that like?
|It was one of the most terrifying and satisfying moments I've ever had on my bike! Was up there with being on the World Cup podium.|
Here is another angle to give you a better idea of how big the gap was. 50 feet across, huck to flat with little run out.
Nico's line was steep. Sometimes television doesn't do the terrain justice. This photo does.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________Nico, how different is it for you to dig and shape in this terrain as opposed to the work you do in Europe?
|For me the hardest part is finding a line on the hill. I like to get lines that are super flowy. You also need to compromise with all the other lines that are being built at the same time, so you can't always ride the line you would love to ride, which makes it a challenge. Your choices are much more restricted than when working on projects in the Alps, for instance.|
Nico's final run was super fast and flowy. He even threw his first flip in a competition ever.
Nico just cruising.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________Any chance we can get you two together in the near future for a little sender edit?Nico
|I would love to work on a project with Brendan- would be sick! I'm working on my Royal Hills line this winter so he can come and shred the line anytime. |
|Just give me a time and place and I'll be there. Love riding with Nico, have got a lot or respect for his riding. Feel like he should have been scored better at Rampage.|
Well done to the boys. Looking forward to next year's event already.Special thanks to Ian Collins for all of the images