Photos by Peter Cirilli & Jack Rice
The inaugural CLIF Slopestyle presented by Fox US Open went off this weekend at Highland Mountain Bike Park as David Lieb took home his first-ever FMBA Gold victory.
East Coast summer weather was in full effect with temps in the 90s and plenty of humidity. The action kicked off on Thursday afternoon with Ben Thompson on the top step of the podium for the Bronze-level finals, earning him a spot in Saturday’s Gold competition along with the other top five Bronze athletes.
Friday night stayed the course, as the next generation of riders continued to impress. The Red Bull Best Whip presented by Spank Industries saw grom duo Max Abrams and Ant Lombardi split the cash, as their youthful flair gave judges DJ Brandt, Erik Fedko, and Ronnie Napolitan all they needed to award this pair the win over a field of veteran riders. Leaves us only to imagine what we could be seeing from these boys in the future.
You decide...Anthony Lombardi (left) and Max Abrams (right).
The heatwave continued into Saturday’s Gold-level finals as the crowd made their way up onto the course. There was an energy about it, life being breathed back into the air of a historic venue, reminiscent of years past, setting an electric scene. Everything would come down to second runs for the top three on the day. After a crash in his first run, Jakub Vencl made a full pull including a cash roll, 720 and double backflip to secure third. Next up: David Lieb and Nicholi Rogatkin, two riders who both developed their craft at Highland Mountain. Sitting in third place, Lieb dropped in and immediately let everyone know he had a lot more in the tank, adding tricks and amplitude to his run. Nicholi was the last man down the course and the crowd went wild as he executed his signature twister on the final jump. Two insane runs, two improved scores. When the dust settled and final results hit the board, Lieb had won his first-ever Gold FMBA competition.
Special thanks to the Fox US Open and everyone who worked hard to make this event a reality including all our event partners - CLIF, Fox, Sierra Nevada, 5.10, Benson Auto, GT Bicycles, Spank and MOS Gear. See you next year!
For Gold, Bronze, and NextGen Results: CLIF Slopestyle Results