Results: X Games Real MTB Fan Favorite Award

Apr 26, 2021
by Alicia Leggett  
Brage Vestavik won the fan favorite part of the X Games Real MTB by a landslide after taking home 2nd place in the judged portion of the competition. Brage, who put together a raw, rowdy edit full of wild wood features and big air, took 57% of the popular vote, followed by Danny MacAskill with 13% and Brandon Semenuk, the judges' top pick, with 10%.


In case you have missed the entire last week of internet happenings, here's Brage's video:


Huge congratulations to Brage and Blur Media from Pinkbike, and well done to all the competitors. All the videos are stellar and are absolutely worth watching.

Full results are available at xgames.com.


92 Comments

  • 244 8
 Brage not robbed.
  • 72 4
 I feel like getting second in a competition with other people as talented and skilled as in this one really isn't "robbed" I know people love saying that ever since the great robbing of Sir Norbs but still ...
I'm not saying he wouldn't have been a deserving winner overall but it's not as clear cut as people making it out to be. That being said I fully understand my comment will not be received well, I just had to say it
  • 9 1
 COLLUSION!
  • 57 7
 Where's duel crown dumbass to explain how everyone got this wrong?
  • 15 0
 @mbosko7: Watching How-To YouTubers with Waki
  • 1 0
 BIG TIME!
  • 2 1
 @mbosko7: I’m sure it’ll be at least 300 words of nonsense
  • 13 1
 @mbosko7: Dual Crown just told me if Brage had ditched his derailleur, he would have won.
  • 8 6
 Vero got robbed
  • 4 0
 @mbosko7: Don't summon him. Please. He's worse than Waki
  • 2 0
 @ridealltheb1kes: by fans opinions?
  • 107 3
 Here's how it breaks down:
Brandon's edit was more technical, he is so good that it is hard to tell how good he is sometimes.
Brage's edit had way more stoke and creativity.
I imagine the judges were looking at the tech and stoke was secondary.
  • 19 35
flag BigMulaCeazy (Apr 26, 2021 at 13:47) (Below Threshold)
 Brandon had a trick where at the last minute he spun his bars ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY DEGREES and rode out with his front wheel and handlebars BACKWARDS. Please don't say that Brandon's part wasn't creative af.
  • 46 1
 Not sure I'd say Brage's was more creative. Equally creative for sure. More raw, more high energy, more stoke for sure. Also much more bodge. Brandon's creativity was in the technicality of the tricks (as always) and in the integration of the still images which was very subtle but very well done. Some commenters seem to be unaware that the filming, music, and editing as a whole are all a part of the judgment.

It's interesting that the judges didn't see it the same as the masses. I happen to align with the judge's choice, and I'm still trying to figure out why I don't align with the vast majority. I guess for me I've just always preferred clean, technical, precise riding and edits over raw, heavy, aggressive edits. I've always felt the same about snowboard, skate, and BMX videos too.

Anyway, this is a rad competition despite the frustration that almost always come with judged events. Love seeing these artists showcase their work.
  • 10 1
 @BigMulaCeazy: I suppose he did that on his downhill bike??
  • 8 1
 @BigMulaCeazy: I don't think the did.
  • 4 3
 @Caiokv: Ya, on closer review, it was a barspin.
  • 17 3
 @BiNARYBiKE : I think a lot of people feel like this competition was named Real MTB. Those against Semenuk argue that his edit was more Real Slopestyle. Agreed, the video and riding were very clean and well-done, but it did not get me excited about mountain biking. It was very well executed, but to me it lacked the soul and personality that Brage's video had.
  • 37 1
 @Spencermon: Which is still crazy. If Brandon had just straight aired his massive hits, they would still be pretty gnarly features. He oppo whipped his Session on a large flat drop, followed by a flipwhip to nac. That is so bonkers on a DH bike (with a Zeb). The opening MASSIVE flat drop flip into a chute in Utah was ridiculous (frankly I wished they showed that from another angle too). The jumps he is hitting, as groomed as they are, are still massive and hugely consequential should anything go wrong.

Brage's video had some big sends (that last one was nuts), but Semenuks features were also as big. Just two very different ways of building (and filming). I do admit, I voted for Brages. It just got me more fired up and was unexpected and out of nowhere, but I fully understand why Brandon won the judge's portion. It honestly could have gone to either of them, and I would be happy. I'm really happy Brage won the people's choice, and second to Semenuk is something few people in the world can claim. Both killed it, and I'm stoked they both "won"
  • 3 0
 @leon-forfar: I agree on all parts. I really was hoping to see more of that opening shot on Semenuk video.
  • 13 1
 @BigMulaCeazy: brandon semenuk is boston dynamics' unannounced AI project
  • 3 12
flag thenotoriousmic (Apr 26, 2021 at 16:51) (Below Threshold)
 @BigMulaCeazy: that pumped bmx stuffs boring though. That wall tap was way more impressive than any flip whip combo.
  • 1 1
 @denvermelvin: well that did have a SC fork on it...
  • 13 0
 Fans voted with their hearts, the judges with their heads. The sense of jeopardy in Brage's edit was much more present, which is important, but he wasn't coming in needing to fulfil the stratospheric expectations that Semenuk always has to deal with. The bar wasn't set as high for Brage (even though we know what a beast he is). That said, in terms of pure entertainment (which is the whole point right?), the Norse god absolutely killed it and somehow made the others seem less spectacular (imo), when they were all clearly superb in their own way.
One thing's for sure: we need more of this shit.
  • 6 13
flag thenotoriousmic (Apr 27, 2021 at 1:52) (Below Threshold)
 @BenPea: It was just a standard semenuk edit. We see about four a year and they’re all the same. A million flip whip variants crammed into a perfect jump line / slope style course. I’d much rather see someone do something challenging in a real environment than see a load of air bag tricks done on a perfect set up.
  • 6 0
 Brage’s and Brandon’s were intense and mtb’rs still love to watch real raw freeriding because it’s relatable and more compelling than gymnastics; it’s like the essence of mtb on crack (possibly why Danny didn’t end up top 3).. but maybe the judges realized Brandon could’ve rode something like Brage’s line better and not vice-versa? Some of Brandon’s was also pretty huge but with combos and stuck with precision as always. He pushes himself for perfection in every edit so they all look the same in that respect but it’s never hard to watch.
  • 2 0
 @thenotoriousmic: I think we agree. But I can understand why the judges don't. They were literally totting up points while we were on Brage's bike with him, feeling every hit in our guts.
  • 9 0
 @BiNARYBiKE: Well said! I think there are many who are forgetting that this competition is about riding AND cinematography. The medals themselves are two medals with magnets that join together (one for rider and one for film maker).

Interesting side note: Danny M’s video has WAY more views than the others on YouTube (as of today 1.7m vs. 380k).
  • 2 2
 This was my take as well. It seems like the judges were looking for the best tricks rather than the best edit.
  • 2 1
 @Harlsta: This is the thing that gets me, if you are giving points for the technicality, which I'm fine with, then Danny's should have minimum been third. Cam's doesn't make sense there.
  • 1 0
 @rrolly: welcome to the X games, it’s a lot like rampage where the fans are always right.
  • 6 0
 @thenotoriousmic: Because flip whip combos on step downs and with a DH BIKE aren't challenging?! Why does everyone just gloss over the big mountain lines and massive drops Semenuk had? The opening clip in Semenuks video was easily as big as everything but possibly the last drop in Brage's video, except he flipped it, and the run out was a Utah chute. The flat drop oppo whip on the DH bike was still a huge drop. When drops are that big, they have to be groomed or you would just die. Brages landings were "groomed" in the part he was landing, albeit they were rougher around the edges and had no runouts. The oppo 360 downside table was another Utah send, along with the nose bonk sui from Semenuk. We have become numb to Semenuks skill. We assume because he makes everything look butter smooth and easy that it is, but guess what? None of us would go and send any of those moves. And if we did, you can bet we would not make it look anywhere near that calculated (let alone throwing in some of the moves he does) and most of us would just end up in the Friday fails. Crazy to think that a "standard Semenuk edit" not only isn't impressive to some (even if there were like 7 worlds firsts in it...) but that people are confused as to why it was a contender for first.
  • 1 0
 @leon-forfar: yeah maybe he’s just so good I’m bored of seeing it. He’s doing amazing stuff and I’m just zoning out watching slow mo flip whips knowing 100% he’s going to pull it. No sense of excitement because I don’t feel like he’s in danger. I’d just rather see a wall tap 270 or blasting a massive wall ride into a huge drop than seeing a guy cram five tricks into the same back flip pumped bmx style.
  • 2 2
 @leon-forfar: The problem isn't with Semenuk not being impressive. Everything he did was impressive, but his video lacked the hype and stoke that Brage had. I agree with the judges voting based on their criteria. But Brage got me stoked to ride and that's why he won the people choice for a contest where his skills and video were both judged.
  • 2 0
 @Spencermon: Totally! I just get a bit surprised when the world's best does his thing, and people still complain and think he is "undeserving" of a win and thinks he put less effort in because it's all picture-perfect.
  • 3 0
 @Harlsta: I think Danny is more popular with the normies (non-riding public) than other riders because his skill is flat out amazing but also much more relatable to people that don’t ride than someone like Brandon that rides stuff built for bikes. Everyone knows how tall a telephone booth or fence is, or how bad it sucks to fully submerse yourself in a puddle, so it’s relatable to the general public. However, Karen and Kevin have no idea that they should be pissing themselves over oppo 3’s on a dh bike off a cliff running out into a friggin chute. Danny keeps it all inclusive that way and I love him for that, very interpretive stuff.
  • 35 1
 that's, like, your opinion, maaaannnn
  • 30 0
 Judges got robbed!
  • 5 1
 Rather outvoted Cool
  • 27 0
 Hope to see Kade Edwards in the mix next year.
  • 3 0
 This. If someone can mix Brage's freeride stoke with Brandon's technical skill, Kade's the man.
  • 22 5
 Brage's riding is very obviously a level or two beneath Semenuk's, but his edit was more visually unique, and he included a second or two of his buddies screaming "OHHHHHH" after every clip, ergo, it's "more raw", and he got robbed, apparently.
  • 13 7
 The guys yelling after every move actually really distracted me. That's a fun auditory feature that needs to be used sparingly.
  • 11 6
 I don't know if it his skill is below Semenuk's as much as they are different skills. I just can't imagine Brandon hucking such a tremendously large drop.... ever, its just not his thing. Similarly, I don't see Brag sending a cork 720 bar spin anytime soon.
  • 2 1
 Accidentally downvoted you and of course can't change it...
  • 15 2
 If you're buddies aren't screaming "OHHHHHH" when you're doing something wild on you're bike then you need new buddies.
  • 4 1
 @webby01: I want to upvote you several times. This is the most important thing in mountainbiking! the pinnacle of biking is to have heaps of fun with your buddies and get stoked on their mental tricks / saves / crashes. I will always chose a day out with the buddies on a mediocre trail than a day alone on the nicest trail out there.
  • 1 1
 @theoskar57: Good thing it doesn't matter in any way..........
  • 1 0
 @webby01: @webby01: I read your comment as "if you're buddies ARE screaming..." and added to the accidental downvoting.. on closer review, I meant ups
  • 16 5
 I thought Brage too... Then I watched the actual show with judges commentary. Brage's edit was sick and full of stoke but the technical riding, cinematic/photographic prowess in Semenuk's edit is undeniable. It deserved to win... Even if I did get more stoked by Brage's.
  • 18 6
 Was honestly kinda worried Danny was gonna win this cause of outside MTB voters. Non-MTB people loooooove Danny. Glad all the real heads came out and voted fro brage.
  • 60 2
 MTB people love Danny too.
  • 9 0
 I vote along partisan lines.
  • 2 2
 I was also tempted to vote for Danny, but would have given my vote to Brage (didn't see Semenuk).
  • 13 1
 Might be edit of the year, let alone deserving of XGames Gold.
  • 10 0
 No shit, who'da thunk it?
  • 13 7
 Is there any footage of Brendan crashing? I can't remember ever seeing him crash or even struggle with a trick. Maybe he practices things till they are dialed with no cameras around. He is my favorite slopestyle rider, but I find his videos boring AF because he is so smooooooth that it looks like there is no effort going into it.

All that said, I would rather watch Remy and Yoann ride trail than watch any slopestyle riding.

The voting isn't surprising at all X Games caters to a specific look and style and Brendan has that all day long. Bikers have more respect for something more raw and different.
  • 8 0
 Look up the “making of” video of his one-take segment from Unreal... he crashes a lot.
  • 3 0
 He once even crashed the vision out of his eyes at crankworx rotorua iirc
  • 2 0
 There's lots of footage of him crashing (his video parts; "Lapse" comes to mind, contest runs etc). You don't become that good by not getting handed your fair share of dirt pies.
  • 4 0
 The judges selection of Semenuk and Brage for 1st & 2nd was what I was feeling, both being very close and awesome to watch. Semenuk's edit was more big film edit, so I could see it edging out. My 3rd place would have gone to DJ Brandt, really surprised he did score a little higher; I loved the snowboard vid vibe of his with that nose bonk and some street.
  • 5 0
 I meant I'm surprised DJ didn't score higher...
  • 4 0
 I had really hoped for DJ on the podium as well. I think he has some super unique moves. That tow in to big fakie landing was awesome
  • 2 0
 that tire tap 3 was soo incredible!!! I loved that
  • 3 0
 I have been following the various real series for some time as a general fan of action sports. Many of the greatest edits have taken fan favorite but not the "standard" gold medal given by the judges. Jake Mageau's ski edit from a couple years back comes to mind. Its a cool comp and I am glad it has spread to mountain biking. It's a shame that the X games first taste of mountain biking was that Munich slope comp.
  • 1 0
 Mango won real ski fan favorite in 2019, and gold in 2020. nothing wrong with that.
same here. the videos are the prize. but generally they get it close to right and the fan favorite helps balance it out if necessary.
What happened at that Munich slope comp?
  • 2 0
 @snomaster: xgames basically said here is the time slot we have and y'all are riding this super wind exposed slope whether you like it or not. I think both the freestyle mountain bike community and xgames were left with bad tastes in their mouth. the athletes had an unsafe comp and xgames wasnt blown away by mountain bikes because they werent throwing the craziest stuff because of the wind.
  • 3 0
 Ofcourse Brandon semenuk was going to win the judges vote, he could have done 6 minute video of him taking a dump and won. he's been releasing the same video with a different backround for about 3 years now and still all the fan boys fawn over it.
  • 5 1
 Brandon’s edit was the perfect execution of every trick, absolute textbook.. he should have won
  • 1 0
 Everyone loved Brages the most, so did I. The stoke and 'gnarliness' of his was sick. But if we look at it all round, Brandons was easily better. Simply because he did more tricks, had better cinematography, and because he always seems to produce high quality stuff. Everyone getting annoyed simply has to look at the two videos all round, not just who your favourite rider is
  • 3 3
 As nice as the BS edit was it was like watching football when you sat down to watch rugby, it was all pretty, some hub buzz, drones, massive jumps build by diggers etc.
BS is an incredible rider but I felt he was within his comfort zone riding perfectly manicured jumps with every pebble moved to the correct place (lets call it fantasy slopestyle).
But thats not real MTB, the extreme side of the sport came from big gnarly features. Which is what Brage delivered. In the middle of winter on man made jumps, moving dirty in buckets down the hill, then doing high risk tricks (what was he thinking on that log!!!)

In terms of progressing the sport, I think that Vero Sandler did more in her video to showcase womens freeride and some incredible cornering than the other videos did. More and more women take up the sport, its great to have roll models. Lets be honest, she killed it, best suicide no hander in the videos was by Vero, beating BS in my book.

Lucky for me I can do 0% of he riding in any of the videos, but my keyboard works Smile
  • 3 0
 re: the judged portion, sorry wasn't clear about that. lol
  • 3 0
 A well deserved win, happy for you mate.
  • 2 0
 Congrats Brage!!! I think I would be more stoked to be the people’s champ anyways!
  • 4 1
 Vage Brestavik!
  • 2 0
 A deep sesh Viking Who shreds at biking
  • 1 0
 Loved that Brage edit! I will be re-watching that one multiple times. Danny’s and Semenuk’s, too
  • 1 0
 X games literally just googled "mountain bikers" and ranked the contest in order of who showed up to help their brand.
  • 2 0
 Duh
  • 2 0
 Shocking results! /s
  • 2 0
 What a shocker
  • 1 0
 No shit!? How could that be??
  • 2 0
 Brendog got robbed!
  • 2 0
 Nice - well deserved!
  • 1 0
 congratulations to Mark Wallace winning another world x games championship
  • 1 0
 Winning fan fav is better then winning w/ judges
  • 1 0
 beast mode
  • 1 0
 DAMN!!!! BOOM!!
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