Recapping on a massive edition of Darkfest 2024 in the Vuurberg mountains near Stellenbosch, South Africa. Hosted by Darkfest mastermind Sam Reynolds, with the full week seeing some of the most progressive riding ever seen on the XXL course. From huge makes, some brutal slams and plenty of good times on and off the bikes, the spirit of MTB freeride is alive and well.
The riders had to endure some tricky conditions throughout the week, from changing wind directions and high temperatures. Prompting some early 5:30 am wake-up calls to ensure a chance of riding. With ground-breaking tricks landed and new standards being set for female mountain biking. Finishing the week-long event with rider-voted awards for riders who pushed their personal limits.
King & Queen of Darkfest 2024: Elias Ruso and Vaea Verbeeck
Best Moments of Darkfest 2024 presented by Monster Energy: Tom Isted’s 110ft backflip on his first drop in on the line, Robin Goomes and Harriet Burbidge-Smith backflips in a train on the step up
Best Whip presented by Spank Bikes: Dan Paley and Vinny Armstong
Dan Paley unfortunately suffered a nasty crash on the final day which resulted in him breaking multiple bones and requiring surgery in South Africa before he heads back to the UK. All help towards Dan Paley’s surgery on the broken leg and wrist he sustained this Saturday is being directed to the GoFundMe
set up by Veronique Sandler and the other riders.
Darkfest 2024 Best Run presented by GoPro: Bienvenido Aguado
Bienve is well known for putting down some of the heaviest top-to-bottom runs and this year was no exception. With a run including a flip on the 90ft and a gigantic front flip on the rocket launcher feature.
The Mind Bender (Best Trick) Award presented by Kenda: Kurtis Downs'
nothing to double-grab to rock-solid was a wild FMX-inspired combo, the likes of which has never been seen before.
And last but not least...
The Biggest Burke Award presented by Pinkeye Vision: Vero Sandler for the daring 'Nutty V' haircut.
Event medics were kept busier than usual this year with a number of big crashes writing off bikes to the workshop and multiple rider visits to the hospital, including Carson Storch, Kurt Sorge, Talus Turk and Dan Paley. Despite this, Darkfest 2024 went off, setting the tone for the year and producing some of the most engaging Freeride Mountain Bike content at a location unlike any other in the world. Stay tuned for the full video highlights coming soon!
Photos - Eric Palmer, Tom B, Syo Van Vliet