THE FACES OFRED BULL RAMPAGE2016
This year's edition of Red Bull Rampage was a historic year. The changes that were made to the event were solely driven by athlete recommendations and demands after last year's event imploded with in-fighting and pressure due to the design of the event. Changes made this year included an invite only athlete's list with no qualifying and a smaller field, a judge's panel complete with ex-Rampage riders, smaller build teams, a mandatory rest day, and a better process around wind delays for the riders. We asked the riders how they felt about the changes and if they were happy with the results.
|The changes to this year's Rampage were very positive for the riders and their teams. The organizers listened to the rider requests and feedback to make sure that the event could excel in the best ways possible. The finals only invite format was great and it reduced the field to select riders, which meant every rider had 'more space' to build a dedicated finals run and focus on that. I liked knowing that every athlete out there was all in on building the best possible run for the big show. Amongst that the rest day was so needed and played a crucial role in everyone's fitness and progress since we had time to rest and recoup. The appearance fees helped us all out big time and gave us the ability to take care of our builders and all the associated costs we chose to spend on at the event like flights, tools, accommodation, food, etc. Overall the experience was great and it was topped off by the excitement of a new venue - that was also terrifying at the same time - and the judging panel consisting of ex-Rampagers who knew the hardships and terrain. There is so much that goes into this event from everyone involved and it truly amazes me. The Rampage family of organizers and staff, builders, medical staff, caterers, and riders is so great that it's humbling to be a part of it, as an athlete. - Kyle Norbraten|
|Well I'll be honest, for me, it wasn't my happiest Rampage but I definitely could see how people liked it more. The rest day was a great idea because no one sees how much work really goes into building a line to the point that you're so knackered with blistered hands by the end of it! The judging is of course always a touchy subject and people don't always agree but I think they did a better job than ever this year!- Sam Reynolds|
|All around I had a great Rampage, the new format and all the other changes made the atmosphere seem a lot more chill. I was pretty pumped on the all-rider judges panel and how it went down. No matter who is judging this event it will always be tough and criticized by everyone. Congrats to all the boys for putting on an amazing show!- James Doerfling|
|It was encouraging to see that our hard work as riders and our ability to communicate our needs to the event promoter, Red Bull, really paid off this year. The changes in the format were really a necessary thing for the event to continue in the eyes of the athletes. After last year none of us were happy and we needed a change. I was stoked to see that it all came together.|
It was really nice this year to not have the man-made features out there already. In the past, we tried to create a line that would utilize one of the big man-made features, so it was nice to have a completely open canvas. To have no restriction on rider's creativity.- Kyle Strait
|I liked the vibe, way less riders meant a less stressful environment. This was better for the riders meaning that the riders are in a better mindset which translates into a more exciting show. Obviously, the whole experience was ruined for me when I ate sh*t but I still had a great time and will be back. I can't wait for next year.- Brendan Fairclough|
|All in all, Rampage was the best I've seen it since '08. Everyone came together as a riding community. Rad times in the desert!- Logan Binggeli|
|I think that the changes were definitely a good thing. The judging was very fair in my opinion and the athlete fee + prize money was needed. So having Red Bull who stepped it up was great.|
On a side note, the repartition of the prize money could be improved a bit, as number 8 and number 15 get the same amount of money. The gap between 1 and 2 also seems too big. The medical set-up and logistics were great, too.
Regarding the judging, I just think that a rider that does not cross the finish line should have a score of 0. It is sad, but that's the rules in any sport. In a race you can have the 3 fastest splits, if you do not cross the finish line, you get a DNF. It's also written in the rule book. You have 3 minutes to cross the finish line. Aggy had an incredible run, but with his crash, he did not cross the finish line. It's unfair to award 55 points when some other participants made it in one piece, even though his top part was 5 steps above. - Remy Metailler
|It's always darkest before dawn and in the wake of the perfect shitstorm of last year's event, smiles flooded the desert.|
Taking it back to its core while retaining the current viewership and notoriety created astonishing vibes and I had the same feeling rolling into Virgin that I had 13 years ago at my first Rampage.- Cam Zink
|I think that it was a great Rampage! Everyone was chilling and building together with the other riders. The first couple of days, there were only digging crews on the site and it didn't even feel like Rampage. It's great to see how much better it got compared to last year. I think that having a new site helps a lot with that, the whole mountain is free and there's a lot of room for everyone to build a sick line. It was better with fewer people, there's no room for 40 people up there! - Andreu Lacondeguy|
|This year's event was the result of the industry leaders getting together with Red Bull and coming up with a plan. The plan was a complete success in my opinion and made for one of the best events of the year! In short Red Bull rules; don't forget it all you internet trolls!- Darren Berrecloth|
|The vibes and experience at Rampage this year were definitely, it was way more mellow. It was more enjoyable, and it seemed like everyone was out there to have fun. The super competitive vibe kind of dissipated compared to last year's event. Red Bull did a super job of working with some of the top riders to find compromise in a few different aspects of the event like judging, prize money, dig time, etc. It just felt right this year. - Carson Storch|
|This has been by far the best Rampage we've had in my many years competing at this event. The vibe has changed dramatically, everyone seems to be at ease, for the most part, working together, collaborating ideas and features with other riders. Bringing everyone together like that made a huge difference in my eyes.|
I was a little skeptical to be honest about how the judging would go, I think a lot of people were worried that maybe some of the judges would be a little biased, or for the ones that had never done it before would be too overwhelmed with the bigger picture. Judging an event like this has got to be one of the hardest things to do, you're under almost as much pressure as competing, and no matter what, someone is always going to complain. But, a good judge already knows that, and by the looks of how things ended up this year, I don't believe there were any upsets which is huge!
Having fewer riders out there was obviously the way to go, even with half of what we had in previous years it still felt crowded. There's zero chance that we would have been able to have a second go on that zone if we had the same numbers as the year's prior, there's just not enough space out there to make it fair for everyone. It also seemed to be where a lot of the conflict came from in the past.
The appearance fee was a nice bonus, but to be honest that should have happened a long time ago. The prize purse upgrade, also a nice bonus but time and time again I ask myself "is it even worth it?", and really would any amount be worth risking my life over? The level that we've brought this event to is almost scary, and the ones pushing it are modern day gladiators, fighting for a bigger cause than just a prize purse.- Aggy
|This year's Rampage had an awesome vibe. Having fewer riders made it easier to find a line on the hill and work with each other on joining parts. It was great to have a fresh venue to work with too, exposed as ever but good to be able to create a full new line. The mandatory rest day was definitely needed but with a fresh zone, there was so much digging to do that we probably could have used an extra day or two to finish building some stuff or get a bit more practice in. And the ex Rampage rider judging panel left no worries there. So all, in all, I thought it was a great event and everyone's lines were very impressive, it was just too bad the wind showed up on the day of the event. Stoked for next year!- Kurt Sorge|
|My Rampage experience was amazing this year. There were 21 riders with two builders each. Which made it easy for people to work together and not step on each other's toes. The mandatory rest day was also much needed. Everything seemed to go pretty smoothly. Thanks to everyone that made it happen! I can't wait for next year!- Tom van Steenbergen|
|Less riders is definitely better for us, less crap to deal with and less up-and-coming riders that come and try to tell you how it works, haha. This was the fist year for me with a build crew, it was awesome to work with some good friends on a line that was my style. The appearance fee was the only way for me to get the diggers out there. It's a must have too, as we do not get much for accommodations, airport transfer...and everything is so far away. The mandatory rest day was a must have, so cool and relaxing, it allowed us more times for beers too! As for the increased prize money; we take the risk, we deserved this money. I'm not so sure about having the ex-competitor judges; it is cool to have someone who rode that shit before, but at the same time it's also good to have experienced judges that are not doing only this one event a year. All in, it was the best year so far for me and my boys.- Pierre-Edouard Ferry (PEF)|
|Being only my second Rampage I can only compare this year to last year, but I am leaving the event with no complaints, where as last year there were definitely a few things that I thought could do with changing. One of my favorite things was the mandatory rest day as until you dig at Rampage you probably won't realize how hard it is on your body! I'm stoked on what Todd Barber and his crew did this year, cheers!- Conor Macfarlane|
|I thought that this year's Rampage format was steps ahead of what it has been in the past. Rider judged was one of the best decisions the organizers could have possibly made as the event is in line with no other. There are limitless ways to judge the event which makes it hard for judges that don't ride bikes to judge fairly. Only the riders that have put themselves in the Rampage element will know best... and I think this year's was the most accurately judged from year's past.- Brett Rheeder|
|Knowing that we had some spare days for finals, I wasn't even stressed by the big wind on Friday morning. We knew we'd do what we could in good conditions. That's what happened to me twice in finals, I chose to wait so that I could do good runs later. Less riders on site feels better too and, of course, having compensation for the trip feels good even if it doesn't pay for everything for us Frenchies who come from far away! The mandatory rest day is the best thing that ever happened at Rampage. Regarding building, I just feel like taking off the wood features and only having two diggers was a bit too much. I know it was the goal, but we had less big jumps on the course and only a few big drops. It's a shame for the show and for the riding. I missed the canyon gap - I'll just build one next year! Rampage is taking the right direction and the consequence of this new format was that I/we felt much better at the top before dropping in. Thanks to Cam Zink and Todd Barber for pushing things the right way! - Antoine Bizet|
|I really liked this edition of the Rampage. It's the first time that I had a digging team; thanks to the appearance fee to make this possible! The bigger venue, plus less riders, made it way easier and a lot of people teamed up to make good lines! The judges were also on point because they knew what a Rampage run is.- Thomas Genon|
|Just getting in the gate for Rampage this year was a huge hurdle for me to jump in itself. After my crash last year I thought I'd never compete in another Rampage again. I was fed up with the time constraints we were given to build and practice our lines, and I felt like it was an unsafe way of running a contest of that magnitude. Flash forward to this year, and it felt like a completely different event. Red Bull and H5 listened to our demands and implemented nearly everything they possibly could in order to make this the best Rampage yet. I heard zero complaints from anyone this year, and if you've ever been around a contest like this before you know that's a pretty rare thing! I think it was the best Rampage yet, and I already can't wait for next year! Long live Rampage!- Tyler McCaul|
|As the sport and competitors evolve, so does the structure of the event. This year seemed like the overall organization of Rampage was much closer to where it should be compared to other years. The event will continue to take shape as time moves forward, but I think that it's safe to say that 2016 was the best Rampage so far for the riders.- Brandon Semenuk|
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