Photo Epic: Lighting the Fuse - Rampage 2019

Oct 22, 2019
by Sarah Moore  



Freeride's finest are back in the desert of Virgin, Utah for the 14th edition of Red Bull Rampage. We were welcomed to the site this morning to dust flying and the sound of axes, shovels, and rakes. The cliffs are even more monstrous in person than they appear on the live broadcast, looming far above the desert floor. The start hut is a tiny blip near the top of the mesa and the lines that run down from it seem impossible, with terrifyingly steep cliffs surrounding the gigantic drops and jumps. For most of us, these lines are impossible to ride.

But for the 17 riders who are embellishing the lines they cut into the hillside in 2018 and the four riders who are building completely new lines as they get to take their shovels to the new site for the first time, this is the ultimate test for their skills. Reece Wallace is returning to Rampage after a hiatus while Juan Salido, Bienve Aguado Alba, and Emil Johansson are getting a first taste of what it takes to build a Rampage line.

bigquotesFinding a line was pretty damn tough. Pretty much all the obvious real estate's already taken so we have to be a little more creative and deek between other people's lines. So I'm coming far rider's left off the top where there's some untapped terrain. I've got a couple good features up there. And then below that, it's just weaving between other people's lines.

I've teamed up with two other riders for one big drop so that's nice to share that one thing. Then the rest of my line is all fresh, building everything from scratch. I'm probably half or two-thirds done. Going to really give her for the next two days and then start to get some practice in. I'm ready to start riding. This is the hardest part for sure, building the line and trying to build stuff that complements my skillset and pushes me.
Reece Wallace

Rampage 2019. It s all downhill from here.
Rampage 2019. You could say it's all downhill from here.

Here we are again... Even after all these years this show doesn t get old.
Even after all these years, this show doesn't get old.

Adult sized playground.
Adult-sized playground.

Dusty and windy days here in the desert.
Dusty and windy days here in the desert.

The diggers were already hard at it well before the the sun crested the ridge.
The diggers were already hard at it well before the sun crested the ridge.

Randy you re blue
Randy, you're blue!!

Shadow boxing in the desert.
Shadow boxing in the desert.

First time Rampage competitor and recent Joyride winner Emil Johannson putting in the work on the new line.
First-time Rampage competitor and recent Joyride winner Emil Johannson putting in the work on the new line.

Swing axes for days. Diggers put in hard time to make these lines perfect.
Swing axes for days. Diggers put in hard time to make these lines perfect.

The Sensus crew rakes out a massive landing mid-mountain.
The Sensus crew rakes out a massive landing mid-mountain.

Those landings are thirsty. Plenty of water gets lugged up the mountain.
Those landings are thirsty. Plenty of water gets lugged up the mountain.

Final tweaks are made before the first practice session goes down.
Final tweaks are made before the first practice session goes down.

The Strait Acres crew putting in the shovel time.
The Strait Acres crew putting in the shovel time.

Zink and Strait and their fleet of desert toys.
Zink and Strait and their fleet of desert toys.

Landings as smooth as glass.
Landings as smooth as glass.

Loads of tune-ups and gap extension work going down on Brendan Fairclough s line this year.
Loads of tune-ups and gap extension work going down on Brendan Fairclough's line this year.


bigquotesWe're actually on the last feature of our line right here, souping up this last jump - making it quite considerably bigger actually. We've added some features at the top. We've added a big drop off, big hip, another big hip down at the bottom, and I've put a five-foot lip on the big canyon gap. That's to be continued. I'm going to jump it a few times and see how I feel. I've definitely got something in my head that I want to try but we'll see. I'm a bit of a chicken. I don't want to tell everyone what I've got in mind just in case I don't do it.

We had big hopes of not doing any work, going to the coffee shop every day, chilling at the pool, but that hasn't really worked out that well. We've been flat out up until now and we've got at least another day's work to do. Definitely hoping Wednesday and Thursday will be a bit more chill and we can rest these lads and I can get on my bike a bit more than in previous years - obviously having our own unique line from top to bottom is pretty hard work, and we're the only team that's done it. We've had a lot of work to do. Coming to the end of it now. Going to get on my bike again.
Brendan Fairclough


Some of the boys checking out their building progress.
Some of the boys checking out their building progress.

Most of the digging is done. It is time to fly.
Most of the digging is done. It is time to fly.

Let the battle commence...
Let the battle commence...


Although it was only the first day that riders could take their bikes up the hill after four days building, we saw quite a few of the returning riders put down their tools and start testing the new features on their lines. Kurt Sorge, Tyler McCaul and Tom Van Steenbergen were some of the first riders to put rubber to dirt as they tried out a new drop into step-up combination near the bottom of the mountain early in the morning.


bigquotesIt's always nice coming back the second year. Everyone's got a good foundation for their line so things are coming a lot quicker and you just feel better about it and hopefully get more time on the bike to practice. It's nice to have already hit the lines so you're not too worried. You know what you've got to do.

I've changed a couple of the landings for the big drops, just making them way better. They're super blind. Fixed those up. Then there's one main feature that we didn't have time to finish last year so that one's getting a bit of a rebuild. Then just pimping out the rest.
Kurt Sorge


The most chilled rider on the hill Kurt Sorge was counter-intuitively one of the first riders to get wheels off the ground for Rampage 2019.
The most chilled rider on the hill, Kurt Sorge, was counter-intuitively one of the first riders to get wheels off the ground for Rampage 2019.

Three time winner Sorge is more than ready to go on the hunt for victory number 4.
Three-time winner, Sorge, is more than ready to go on the hunt for victory number 4.

Tom Van Steenbergen ready to bring all kinds of fresh moves to his already intimidating line from 2018.
Tom Van Steenbergen ready to bring all kinds of fresh moves to his already intimidating line from 2018.

T-Mac ready to drop in some first hits.
T-Mac ready to drop in some first hits.

Brandon Semenuk started tricking right off the bat this evening on the lower section of his line.
Brandon Semenuk started tricking right off the bat this evening on the lower section of his line.

Brandon Semenuk. No hands into the sunset.
Brandon Semenuk. No hands into the sunset.

Kyle Strait testing a newly redesigned feature on his line.
Kyle Strait testing a newly redesigned feature on his line.

Brett Rheeder and Andreu Lacondeguy are sharing the lower part of a line and they were definitely putting on the most impressive show in the first practice session.
Brett Rheeder and Andreu Lacondeguy are sharing the lower part of a line and they were definitely putting on the most impressive show in the first practice session.

841 isn t this guy s style ranking.
841 isn't this guy's style ranking.

Some big moves from Lacondeguy in front of the setting sun.
Some big moves from Lacondeguy in front of the setting sun.


Brett Rheeder was looking forward to putting tires to dirt after a week of digging.
Brett Rheeder was looking forward to putting tires to dirt after a week of digging.

Lacondeguy wasted no time going big in practice.
Lacondeguy wasted no time going big in practice.

Rheeder pushes up for another run.
Rheeder pushes up for another run.

Brandon nearing the bottom of his line.
Brandon nearing the bottom of his line.

Andreu Lacondeguy with his signature flat spin 360 .
Andreu Lacondeguy with his signature flat spin 360.

Semenuk darkening the dirt on the huge kicker of the step down at the end of his line.
Semenuk darkening the dirt on the huge kicker of the step down at the end of his line.

Brett Rheeder flipping out.
Brett Rheeder flipping out.

Vinny T in that last bit of evening light.
Vinny T in that last bit of evening light.

Signs of a good session.
Signs of a good session.

Nell and Lacondeguy making some riding plans for tomorrow.
Nell and Lacondeguy making some riding plans for tomorrow.

That s all for day one. We will see you tomorrow with more riding action from the desert.
That's all for day one. We will see you tomorrow with more riding action from the desert.

Sunset and time to find the quickest way back to base.
Sunset and time to find the quickest way back to base.

Goodnight from the desert.
Goodnight from the desert.



69 Comments

  • 102 0
 Fairclough u aint no chicken. More like a starving bald eagle. Cant wait to see ur line this year. Last year was nuts.
  • 55 0
 Pink Bike, the photogs get a fat bonus this year. Very nice.
  • 31 0
 They've been killing it all year!
  • 16 0
 These guys are constantly on the road and work so damn hard. Huge thanks to the PB photogs this year!
  • 1 0
 They should all build a line and see who else can hit it or get eliminated.
  • 51 0
 I love Pre-Rampage, Rampage and Post-Rampage.
  • 5 0
 Same I’m so excited!!!
  • 5 0
 @McArdle: And I just Can't hide it.
  • 2 1
 best time of the year
  • 2 1
 @Intoxication: I’m about to loose control
  • 4 1
 I hate windy rampage
  • 27 0
 Dear Santa .... bike checks .... pleeeeease Wink
  • 2 1
 Have you been a good boy?
  • 1 2
 @peterjamisonmedia has lots of bike shots up right now!
  • 1 0
 Vitalmtb
  • 27 2
 rampage making stick and ball sports athletes look soft
  • 15 2
 At least the ones who are out of the RWC...
  • 12 0
 Lets play a game:

2022: The game is so high that 40% of rampage contestants get injured.
2026: Rampage and Fest series type events are banned.
2065: Mountain biking is ruled to be too dangerous for humans by the High Council and deemed illegal
2195: Great War of Sapirathical destroys electronics and historical documents on earth

4065: Explorers unearth the old Rampage build sites, can't figure out what it is, or what purpose it served. The best guess they can come up with is...
  • 7 0
 Vigin sacrifice
  • 2 6
flag jrocksdh (Oct 22, 2019 at 8:44) (Below Threshold)
 Not gna happen in a free state like Utah
  • 8 3
 @vandall: Did you mean Vegan sacrifice..? Works for me Smile
  • 2 5
 @w0dge- go have a heart attack already
  • 4 2
 @i530rider: Oooh...someone's not had their quinoa this morning..
  • 1 0
 @youngFR:
Spoiler alert “ slimmer bottled it “ ! Big Grin
  • 2 0
 @w0dge: We will all be vegan by 4065
  • 17 3
 If Fairclough stomps his improved run and doesnt win then there needs to be an inquest on the judging. Go Brendog!
  • 7 0
 ...so a pga golfer, an nfl quarterback, a major league baseball player, and a Redbull Rampage Athlete walk in to a bar........
  • 7 0
 Bryce Harper reminds the biker that he makes about $50,000 per at bat, laughs and walks out.
  • 1 2
 and..?
  • 10 0
 Only one guy know about the Rampage athlete and all the girls are around the other 4.
  • 6 0
 And everyone asks for a damn beer, except the golfer, he wants a martini.
  • 1 1
 @NoDHinKentucky: while simultaneously losing out on a World Series bid.
  • 27 23
 Really hoping the judges acknowledge the technical riding more this year and not just the slopestyle tricks. Some of the lines last year were full Slopestyle top to bottom, smooth as a peach. It's Rampage not Crankworks. We all know most these guys can throw huge tricks, but that's not what this event is about!
  • 23 7
 Go ride Rheeder's line and tell us how smooth it is. You kids are absurd.
  • 11 12
 How do you know this Jon that they were full slope style lines where you there did you witness for yourself? Please give some examples?
Or maybe just STFU as you have no idea what your talking about and are just parroting back what 50% of other people are saying.
  • 5 9
flag Freakyjon (Oct 22, 2019 at 7:30) (Below Threshold)
 @scott-townes: I'm not a kid, but I have eyes. Can you not see how sculpted a lot of the stuff is?! Also I didn't say it wasn't big, and that the risks aren't higher than say Audi Nines or Fest. Just pointing out facts.
  • 1 5
flag Freakyjon (Oct 22, 2019 at 7:32) (Below Threshold)
 @deco1: Because I can see it with my eyes and also have spoken to people who have been there in previous year.
Also I'm not parroting other people, it's my view not copied from anyone else. So maybe grow up a little and stop using things like 'STFU'. Surprised you didn't write your response with emoji's!
  • 3 6
 Yeah man you folks in Worthing sure know what this event is all about. Thanks for the insight into the mind of a delusional hack.
  • 3 6
 @Freakyjon: "derp I watched it on TV and know exactly how it is"

Good lord. You might be an adult but you have the brain of a child.
  • 3 4
 @scott-townes: Child?! Takes one to know one mate. Grow up, it's an opinion. If you don't agree either be constructive or move on.
  • 4 2
 What do you want to see...seriously nobody can answer this question. Just raw line, no shovel work ride down the side of the f*cking mountain?
  • 5 2
 @Freakyjon: please mate just give me some examples of how Rheeders line was slopestyle, was it his steep as shit double drop chute at the start, the massive cliff step down in which he flipped off or was it that his line was overall much much steeper then Brendogs (dude you can tell this from time it took them to get down).

Brendogs line was cool but let’s be honest his nowhere near the level Rheeder is at.
And also what’s with “slopestyle” having negative connotations on it, it’s way gnarlier then World Cup DH in DH the men legit ride the same course as the junior women.
  • 2 3
 @MikeyMT: Just more of the raw natural stuff at the top. A few sculpted bits at the bottom where it's flatter fine. But seriously, look at the pics so far from this year, some of the lines you could just replace the dirt for metal quarters.
  • 5 2
 @deco1: I never singled out any rider. Just how a lot of the lines are very sculpted and Slopestyle-esque now. Nothing wrong with Slopestyle, never said that. But isn't Rampage suppose to be more big mountain riding with some tricks thrown in here and there.

And your comment on WC DH is just stupid. There's a massive speed difference between most the Juniors, Women and Men.
  • 3 4
 @Freakyjon: "But isn't Rampage suppose to be more big mountain riding" - states someone who has never ridden anything close to be considered as "big mountain".
  • 2 2
 @Freakyjon: I mean...they are all hitting the raw natural stuff at the top AND hitting big jumps or am I missing something?
  • 4 1
 It is crazy how buff the lines are getting, but having ridden the original rampage site a few times, all this terrain is still much gnarlier than a lot of people think. And despite the roots of the event being more raw, the creation of lines and jumps makes it more interesting and provides greater ways for these guys to set themselves apart. Ultimately, it doesn’t make sense to artificially try to control the way the riders evolve the sport. This is their vision, their creativity on display.
  • 6 0
 Not gunna lie, I'm most excited to see Brendog hit his line and shred it hard! I hope he lands podium this year!
  • 5 0
 We should have a fantasy league, but instead of picking a winner we predict the new #ridernamehereGOTROBBED
  • 3 1
 For anyone who thinks that Rampage is a slopestyle contest - go out to Utah and see it for yourself. I tried hiking my bike up the hill at the 2015 site and realized how big and exposed all those "smooth" jumps are and how gnarly it really is. Really made me appreciate the insanity of the level of riding we get to watch.
  • 2 1
 Imagine rampage somewhere with normal weather, returning for year 2 would involve starting from scratch repairing 12 months of weather damage! I wonder how long those lines will be there for. Immortal.
  • 3 3
 idk. I love watching rampage and have ultimate respect for all the athletes/ and diggers. a while back i signed a petition against turning a rampage site into natural resource extraction project. It's obvious this year people were given more time to build amazing features...looking more and more like a mining project... It just feels a bit wrong changing the environment so much..kinda like overbuilding a regular trail. When i build trails I take pride picking lines that result in maximum radness with minimal tread changing. Hopefully i pick a line that results in the biggest jump possible while complementing the shape of existing terrain.

cant wait to watch everyone send it.
  • 1 1
 Yeah, I’m a bit ambivalent about this too. For what it’s worth, there’s tons of protected terrain in the region that is equally or even more unique and beautiful. Much of southern Utah is hands off.
  • 2 1
 Storch says PB commentators say that Rampage is like a bike park now. I see no such comments here :-)
  • 3 2
 oh? maybe a look a little harder. plenty of morons on the internet who have no idea what they're talking about Smile
  • 3 1
 They will resurface briefly before they are stomped Below Threshold.
  • 2 1
 The scale of those features is unreal.... Can't wait to see it all go down
  • 2 2
 I love WC DH and Rampage times! I had enough news of enduro-single-crown-gourmet bikes, vegan riding and other nutella-topped riding styles. Bring back the big bikes!
  • 2 1
 The desert always delivers - some massive shots that set a perfect mood for things to come, thanks!
  • 1 1
 These photos always get me stoked! Can't wait for the big event it's going to be rad.
  • 1 1
 Goosebumps, can't wait for next lot of pics & vids. Thank-you Pink Bike.
  • 2 1
 That shot of Lacondeguy’s flat spin 3 is mindblowing
  • 2 0
 I am scared shitless
  • 1 1
 Irony.. 3 times winner still on Rockstar.... SORGIEEEEEEE! FTW!
  • 1 1
 Cant wait to be there!
  • 2 4
 Chug that RB shlong!
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2019. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv56 0.038506
Mobile Version of Website