Red Bull Joyride is in the books and it was Brett Rheeder who was able to send the best run in front of a home crowd at Crankworx Whistler in Canada! The 23-year-old was out for redemption after an unlucky contest last year and was able to seal his first ever victory at Red Bull Joyride.
The demanding and dusty course pushed every single contestant to the limit on Sunday. Many athletes had difficulties to finish their run. It was Anthony Messere (CAN), who was able to send the first solid run scoring 81.60 putting him into first place. He stayed there until the youngest rider in the field, Emil Johansson (SWE) showed a stellar run with tons of variety, which put him ahead of Messere after scoring 85.20.
But then it was Brett Rheeder's show! The Canadian became the first rider to breach the 90's. His sensational and flawless run with an enormous trick-level included an opposite fastplant 360 of a step down, a backflip to tuck-no-hander of the whale tail and a backflip tailwhip of the canon. He knew he had sent a huge run, celebrating with his home crowd in the finish area. A score of 93.00 catapulted him into the first spot and sent a message to all the other riders hoping for the win. The only athlete to come close was Thomas Genon (BEL). The Belgian and defending FMB Diamond Series Champ sent one of his well-known clean runs to score 86.80 and rode into second place.
In the second run it seemed as though the riders had found more of their groove, resulting in the fact that all top 8 riders scored at least 80.00. After blowing his first run the pressure was on Max Fredriksson, who not only wanted to land on the podium at this historic event, but also preserve his outside chance at the FMB Diamond Series Title. The Swede withstood this pressure and sent a great run putting him on the verge of the 90s and scoring 89.80.
This pushed Fredriksson past Genon in second place and thus he still maintained his chance of the title, if Rogatkin fell to twelfth and if Genon would not be able to bite back. However Genon was able to do just that. The Birthday Boy showed his skills and calm yet again and took back his second spot thanks to scoring 91.20, but falling just short of Brett Rheeder. Rheeder thoroughly enjoyed his victory lap through the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, while displaying his great style and grace for one last time and giving the crowd something to cheer about, before basking in the glory of his first win at Red Bull Joyride.
"I am lost for words. This has been tough in the last few years. It's not like the other contests. It's steep, there are lots of features, a huge crowd and lots of pressure. I feel amazing! I just dropped in and did my thing and it ended up working out." - Brett RheederRed Bull Joyride Podium
Brett Rheeder (USA) - 93.00 points
Thomas Genon (BEL) - 91.20 points
Max Fredirksson (SWE) - 89.80 points
It was a very close call at the last FMB Diamond Series Event, but Nicholi Rogatkin (USA) just held on to his lead in the FMB Diamond Series Ranking ahead of Max Fredriksson (SWE) and Brett Rheeder (CAN)! The American celebrates a well deserved Diamond Series win, but Fredriksson sure did give him a run for his money, while battling through an injured hand.
After Fredriksson blew his first run, Rogatkin also didn't fare much better in his first run of the day. However, after hitting the dirt hard on a cork 720, he dusted himself off, walked back up to the top of the dirt element, gathered momentum and sent a solid run. He still managed to score 53.00, which was enough to secure 11th place and the Diamond Series Title in the end.
This just goes to show, how important it is not to give up. Had he, then Max Fredriksson may have stolen the show, the 21-year-old sent a great second run, which not only scored 89.80 but also would have given him the lead in the Diamond Series Ranking, if Rogatkin had dropped to 12th and if Thomas Genon hadn't countered Fredriksson with an even better run, nudging the young Swede into third. Even though Rogatkin didn't have his best day at Red Bull Joyride at Crankworx Whistler, he is the rightful successor of last year's champ, Thomas Genon, due to the consistency he showed over the course of the season.
Photos by Bartek Wolinski & Richkphotography