Finals Photo Epic: Palpable Tension - Red Bull Rampage 2021

Oct 16, 2021
by Sarah Moore  



The Rampage site was in the shade and temperatures were chilly as riders took to the mountain for their final practice session this morning. With so much variation in temperature and moisture this week, the last session was an important one, with riders taking the opportunity to dial in speeds and get ready for finals. Kurt Sorge back flipped off his biggest drop in practice, while other riders just got comfortable on their bikes and dialled in their speeds, saving their highest risk tricks for finals.

As spectators milled into the venue, the announcers warmed up, and the helicopter began circling, the nervous energy mounted, as everyone awaited Cam Zink, the first rider to drop. Despite a bruised lung from yesterday's crash, Zink went big on his first run, stomping the back flip on his big drop before a crash shortly before the finish line. It was a theme that carried through the entire first half of the event, with less than half of the 12 riders making it top to bottom without mishap. Tom Van Steenbergen was the one rider that wasn't able to walk away from his crash and was transported off the mountain on a back board. We've since learned of his extensive injuries.

After the first run, the top score was Kyle Strait at 77.33, but we were treated to some unbelievable riding in the seconds runs and his first place spot was soon to be challenged as first Semenuk, then Boggs, then Sorge, then T-Mac all moved ahead of him in the rankings. Semenuk was incredible on his second run, and his score of 89 would end up being the top score of the day, making him the only ever four-time Red Bull Rampage winner as well as the only back-to-back Rampage winner. Sorge improved his score after he flip nac'ed his massive drop and finished second, while Reed Boggs moved into third place after he stomped the 360 on his drop the second time.


A final day on the mountain in Virgin, Utah.

Two of the OG s of RedBull Rampage still best buds still providing one another support and advice and still crushing it.
Two of the OG's of Red Bull Rampage, still best buds, still providing one another support and advice and still crushing it.

The sun was barely up and riders were practicing their lines to make sure that any concerns on how their features felt to ride were minimized - there s no omitting concerns at Rampage.
The sun was barely up and riders were practicing their lines to make sure that any concerns on how their features felt to ride were minimized - there's no omitting concerns at Rampage.
After ever-so-slightly over-rotating a three on his stepdown and blowing out his tire Reed rode it out then was so stoked that he celebrated him still being alive by hoisting his bike over his head for the fans Boggs a super rad hard-working dude that we re stoked to see take home the third-place trophy

Sorge was spinning off-axis before most of us had our coffee.
Sorge was spinning off-axis before most of us had our coffee.

As with anything Rampage-related pictures do not do it justice however believe us when we say this hip was massive and the room for error was tiny this meant that this feature was one of the scariest to hit onsite. Between the construction of the feature and the wind from the day before Reed had to wait until the morning of the event to guinea pig this feature.
As with anything Rampage-related, pictures do not do it justice, however, believe us when we say, this hip was massive and the room for error was tiny, this meant that this feature was one of the scariest to hit onsite. Between the construction of the feature and the wind from the day before, Reed had to wait until the morning of the event to guinea pig this feature.

Riders were onsite before the sun came up but as soon as they could the athletes were eyeing up and practicing the features that had their stomachs in knots. Tom had massive ideas for this drop.
Riders were onsite before the sun came up, but as soon as they could, the athletes were eyeing up and practicing the features that had their stomachs in knots. Tom had massive ideas for this drop.

Jaxson made the most out of the morning practice he really wanted to make sure that his speed was dialed in for The Giraffe feature. During his runs it was.
Jaxson made the most out of the morning practice, he really wanted to make sure that his speed was dialed in for The Giraffe feature. During his runs, it was.

Moody morning vibes before it very quickly became insane hype vibes.
Moody morning vibes before it very quickly became insane hype vibes.

If you say that this isn t style then you re wrong.
If you say that this isn't style, then you're wrong.

It doesn t matter if you re one of the most recognizable and talented mountain bike athletes on the planet or a first-year grom - Rampage takes not only an amazing rider but also takes the ability to prepare mentally for what is about to come.
Rampage takes not only an amazing rider, but also takes the ability to prepare mentally for what is about to come.

Cam flat dropping the drop that was in the middle of his run - this is the trick and feature combination that had him making a trip to the emergency room the day before. We were stoked to see him stomp it. Etha
Cam flat dropping the drop that was in the middle of his run - this is the trick and feature combination that had him making a trip to the emergency room the day before. We were stoked to see him stomp it.

Kurt Superman Black White photo art.
Kurt + Superman + Black & White photo = art.

Jaxson Riddle flying through the air alongside his bike.

There s something very soothing about watching E-Boy ride - every move he makes is calculated and always has style out the wazoo.
There's something very soothing about watching E-Boy ride - every move he makes is calculated and always has style out the wazoo.

Genuinely no words to describe this situation. After Tom played with the idea of caveman dropping the top drop he chose to ride the first drop and made his way down to his huge drop where he front-flipped. The crowd went insane. Unfortunately the stoke was short-lived as he crashed on the next drop and ended up in hospital with broken bones.
Genuinely no words to describe this moment. Tom considered caveman dropping the top drop, but he eventually chose to ride the first drop instead and made his way down to his huge drop where he front-flipped. The crowd went insane. We were all gutted after he crashed on the next drop.

Tommy G regular three d this drop right into oppo-threeing the next drop - just to make sure his chi was aligned.
Tommy G regular three'd this drop, right into oppo-threeing the next drop - just to make sure his chi was aligned.

Reed Boggs making "The Goblin" look easy two times in a row, earning third place.

We were so relieved to see Syzmon Godziek walk away after crashing, not once but twice, while attempting to 360 the gigantic drop in his line.

Perfect extension.

Three things that go together like peanut butter jelly and America Kyle Strait RedBull Rampage and suicide no-handers.
Three things that go together like peanut butter, jelly, and America? Kyle Strait, Red Bull Rampage, and suicide no-handers.


Considering Reed only hit this hip on the morning of the big show he made really light work of it during the main event.
Considering Reed only hit this hip on the morning of the big show, he made really light work of it during the main event.

Jaxson mentioned that he loves to do freestyle moto-inspired tricks and we love to watch them.
Jaxson mentioned that he loves to do freestyle moto-inspired tricks, and we love to watch them.

The dude in the background tells you how excited we all were when Reed landed this three on his second run - tire and rim held together to take him to a third-place finish.
The dude in the background tells you how excited we all were when Reed landed this three on his second run - tire and rim held together to take him to a third-place finish.

15-time Red Bull Rampage competitor Kyle Strait put down two solid runs. After his first run, he was sitting in first place. He'd eventually end sixth.

What about a flat spin on a step-up with huge consequences on either side Not for us either but Boggs didn t seem to mind.
What about a flat spin on a step-up with huge consequences on either side? Not for us either, but Boggs didn't seem to mind.

Cam was quick to get back on his bike after his visit to the emergency room the day before he had a couple of humps in the road to get back on his game in the morning but before we knew it he was riding like the living legend we ve come to know and love.
Cam was quick to get back on his bike after his visit to the emergency room the day before, he had a couple of humps in the road to get back on his game in the morning, but before we knew it, he was riding like the living legend we've come to know and love.
Tyler flipping the step-down after the knoblin. We re super excited to see Tyler back on his bike after his foot injury. and it doesn t really seem like he s missed a beat
Tyler flipping the step-down after the Knoblin. We're super excited to see Tyler back on his bike after his foot injury. and it doesn't really seem like he's missed a beat!

T-Mobile just put in a new cell tower and disguised it as a windmill that pumps water up the hill for aesthetic reasons. Meanwhile Reed puts all the hard work the builders put in for that landing to good use.
Reed puts all the hard work the builders put in for that landing to good use.

A spin with a view.
A spin with a view.

You can try to measure out the drop that Kyle is hitting in this image by using Kyle and his bike as a measuring stick. We did and we came up with huge and scary .
You can try to measure out the drop that Kyle is hitting in this image by using Kyle and his bike as a measuring stick. We did, and we came up with "huge and scary".


The sheer steepness mixed with the steps down the face plus the drop halfway down and the exposure made the Knobin a true accomplishment for both man and machine.
The sheer steepness, mixed with the steps down the face, plus the drop halfway down and the exposure made the Knoblin a true accomplishment for both man and machine.

Can you see Jaxson Riddle
Can you see Jaxson Riddle?

Kurt figured that just straight-airing or back-flipping this massive drop isn t good enough so Kurt threw a Nac in there for good measure too. This trick along with the rest of his rowdy run had Sorge taking home the second place trophy.
Kurt figured that just straight-airing or back-flipping this massive drop isn't good enough, so Kurt threw a Nac in there for good measure too. This trick, along with the rest of his rowdy run had Sorge taking home second place.

No matter what angle we try to shoot this feature there is no way to convey the sheer insanity of the Knobin however T-Mac made our job that much harder as he didn t seem to bat an eyelid at it.
No matter what angle we try to shoot this feature, there is no way to convey the sheer insanity of the Knoblin, however, T-Mac made our job that much harder as he didn't seem to bat an eyelid at it.

Thomas Genon is always a treat to watch.

Not only does Jaxson have the tricks but he also gets rowdy on the steep stuff.
Not only does Jaxson have the tricks, but he also gets rowdy on the steep stuff.

Reed gave us all a wee bit of a scare when he decided that everything had been going a little too smoothly during his first run so he blew his tire off the rim - the boom echoed off the surrounding cliffs.
Reed gave us all a wee bit of a scare when he decided that everything had been going a little too smoothly during his first run, so he blew his tire off the rim - the boom echoed off the surrounding cliffs.

Ethan Nell is on his way to backflipping off a drop and onto a lily pad. After hitting the drop a number of times during the past couple of days he decided to build a lip at the top of the drop 30 minutes before go time - he tried it out as part of his first run fortunately it rode perfectly.
Ethan Nell on his way to backflipping off a drop and onto a lily pad. After hitting the drop a number of times during the past couple of days, he decided to build a lip at the top of the drop 30 minutes before go time. He tried it out as part of his first run, fortunately, it rode perfectly.

Tommy G had to take his time and be inch-perfect as he made his way through this super narrow crack into a drop towards the top of his run.
Tommy G had to take his time and be inch-perfect as he made his way through this super narrow crack into a drop towards the top of his run.

Godziek with style for days weeks and months.
Godziek with style for days, weeks, and months.

The wind stayed fairly calm throughout the event which made these super exposed features rideable - it also made for really cool dust trails.
The wind stayed fairly calm throughout the event, which made these super exposed features rideable - it also made for really cool dust trails.

Cameron Zink and Kyle Strait took this line down the heart of the upper section. The darker brown is where their wheels touched the rest is where they free-fall over the terrain.
Cameron Zink and Kyle Strait took this line down the heart of the upper section. The darker brown is where their wheels touched, the rest is where they free-fall over the terrain.

Semenuk made use of his RockShox ZEB single crown by tail whipping it down his drop in the middle of his run. He also flip-whipped further down his line which just shows you the progression of the technology we have at our fingertips these days. Insane.
Semenuk made use of his RockShox ZEB single crown by tail whipping it down his drop in the middle of his run. He also flip-whipped further down his line. Insane.

We caught Kyle telling Zink about the size of a fish he caught a couple of weeks back. Cam s son told his dad that he s heard the story before doesn t believe it so he s going to take a nap until podiums.
We caught Kyle telling Zink about the size of a fish he caught a couple of weeks back.

Cam's son was definitely the only one that slept through finals!

Finish line hugs. These guys are so supportive of one another.

Even if it's your fourth win, it's still just as special.

Two thumbs up from Reed Boggs after his first Red Bull Rampage podium.

All smiles from Brandon.

Kurt Sorge finished first here in 2017 and followed it up with a second place in 2021, making in 1-2 for Canada.

Your Red Bull Rampage 2021 podium - Brandon Semenuk, Kurt Sorge, and Reed Boggs.

The McGazza Spirit Award went to our favourite Norweigian sender, Brage Vestavik. Incredibly friendly and generous with this time all week, Vestavik was the perfect choice for this award.

The Best Style Award went to 19-year-old local boy Jaxson Riddle. Riddle was a treat to watch all week.

Jaxson Riddle's team of Joel Shockley and Samuel Mercado took the Digger Award for their work these past two weeks. 18-year-old Shockley said he was the brawn, while Sammy was in charge of telling him where to throw the dirt and sculpting the lines to perfection.

The Best Trick Award went to Tom Van Steenbergen for his spectacular front flip.

The Toughness Award went to Cam Zink for amazing physical and mental strength to get back up the mountain after his crash on a back flip the day before finals.

Congratulations to the top 3 at Red Bull Rampage.

Semenuk with the shoey.



42 Comments

  • 66 1
 Rob got braged! I mean Jaxson got riddled.. I mean...
  • 5 14
flag lejake (Oct 16, 2021 at 0:43) (Below Threshold)
 @mikelevy comment gold!
  • 3 0
 ...we all got smashed and some of us had a good time. Meanwhile, Danny plots his revenge....
  • 10 0
 Reed got bogged
  • 33 1
 So, I think it is interesting that first place used single crown fork on DH bike and 2nd and 3rd place were on enduro bikes w/ dual crown forks. Everyone else was on a normal DH bike.
  • 31 0
 Zink wins the toughness award for holding his sleeping boy with one arm for like an hour straight in the finish coral.......kids are heavy man!
  • 14 0
 Jaxsons 1 handed superman is the coolest thing ever, he looks like he's pouring a Teapot at a Tea party in space.
  • 11 1
 These photos really put things into perspective in a way we simply can't get from the video feed. Kudos to the PB photography team for the incredible work here! A special call out to Robin O'Neil for that Jaxson Riddle seat grab shot. Exceptional camera work!
  • 5 1
 Agreed, totally different angles and viewpoints. Pretty amazing that only two photogs managed to get between spots to line up so many bangers during finals, too.
  • 11 0
 Such and such got robbed!
  • 11 1
 You've used up your vignette effect quota for 2021
  • 6 0
 I miss the big mountain features in rampage, and I miss seeing those lines getting some good pontuation from the judges. Back in 2017, Kyle Strait's 67º degree "parachute" line got a 70 something. I mean, the steepest line ever just got ridden, and gets a 70 something? Kyle Strait got that so badly that he didn´t went to the second run,arguing that he was "happy" with the run. And this year I felt the same. A perfect run on the steepest and most technical line, with the biggest drop, got a 70 something.
  • 6 0
 What a show. These guys never dissapoint. Pretty unbelievable what they are able to do out there.

Riddle seems to be playing a different sport out there than everyone else. Like he's having fun doing park laps. Such a breath of fresh air to the scene....

Probably the one guy that didn't need the money from the win does it again. I really wish every guy out there went home with 50K. Then give the winner like 150/200. I am pretty confident there's enough money coming in from this event after everything is said and done.
  • 5 0
 Love the extra awards and seeing Jax get best style. Hate to beat this fanboy dead horse narrative down but his photos are just so sick. I get accustomed to what big stuff looks like, I get accustomed to what flips and spins look like, but I always pause scrolling when I see the big 3 star superman extension and the twisted indian air. It's like he's on a dirt bike in an old school FMX event and i absolutely adore it.
  • 26 20
 Maybe I'm getting old but this event was not a pleasure to watch... Lots of crashes, very long breaks in action and the guy who was meant to win won.
  • 15 0
 was it written in the stars or some reptilian guidebook?
  • 38 0
 watching TV and complaining afterward that you weren´t entertained. Sure sounds like getting old to me.
  • 25 13
 THEN STOP WATCHING!!!!! UCI ROAD WORLDS SOUNDS MORE UP YOUR ALLEY.
  • 1 0
 @lkubica: Same here. Still pictures and helmet cams made some of the heli footage more relatable and scary. I think it is also a production problem. But maybe it's just us getting old.
  • 1 0
 @Airik: Honestly, I was watching Netflix simultaneously ...
  • 8 0
 Is the ridge called Goblin, Knoblin or Knobin? Wink anyway norbs got robbed
  • 5 1
 Goblin and Knoblin, two different features. Knobin is a typo.
  • 7 0
 @Pedro404: Yes & both features should be differentiated from a "Knob-Goblin" which is an entirely different thing all together
  • 5 0
 @aye-aye: what’s a knob-goblin
  • 4 0
 @stainerdome: [insert mom joke]
  • 2 1
 @stainerdome: I'm not really sure cos I made it up but whatever it is you definitely don't want one anywhere near your knob, just in case.
  • 2 1
 @aye-aye: do people scream aye-aye when the knob goblin visits? @jonjonj0nnyjonf*ckface
  • 7 2
 The photos really put boggs’ run into perspective. Was hard to tell on the stream how exposed that whole ridge really was. The young dudes are gnarly, rampage has a sick future ahead
  • 8 0
 pic 10: Brandon Semenuk's pre-ride deuce
  • 3 0
 You are hereby instructed to cease and desist from infringing my duly-granted copyright in the phrase "Palpable Tension," which is the title of my erotic fan fiction short story (published in 2012 on the r/BikeShopErotica subreddit, now defunct). In it, the grizzled veteran guides the young apprentice's hands as they work to true a wheel, until, like Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore in Ghost, their irrepressible passion overtakes them.

Kidding. Great photos.
  • 3 0
 Shot of Tyler upside down, shadow on the landing. That image sums up for me the gnar and precision of Rampage . When someone asks " what's mountain biking like? " Show them that picture.
  • 2 0
 Semenuk overdoing the speed on that jump is the Testify for all of us that he’s still a human being...sometimes
  • 8 6
 It would be great if we could stop using the term "suicide" to describe a no-hander.
  • 9 8
 Jaxon and Genon got robbed. Sorge was overrated. Time for some new judges. Vink is biased
  • 7 0
 Sorge was on point on all of his run ! Perfect speed, loads of style and amplitude, perfect execution of tricks (on every single feature), huge jumps and exposure ! The only thing we could say is that he used almost only flips variations, which IMO costed him the win !
  • 2 0
 Jaxon and Genon did get robbed. Sorge's was pretty nasty though.
  • 1 1
 Is there a way to see individual judge's score sheets? Only way to check if Vink was biased.
  • 1 0
 Tommy G totally deserved 2nd place. No one even compared to him -he had it all there. Judges botched this one for sure.
  • 2 1
 Totally rad ●
  • 2 2
 Great shots. Really outstanding work with the shutter.
  • 1 0
 What a year!!
  • 3 5
 Jaxson got robbed more than Norbs and Brendog. Judges are afraid of fun, progression and style that brings in new audiences.

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