Red Bull Cerro Abajo: The 15 Year Anniversary

Feb 24, 2017 at 21:06
by John Wellburn  
It is always a good time to travel to Chile and be a part of the Red Bull Cerro Abajo. This year was an extra special year for the race and I managed to track down head race organizer, Victor Heresmann to give me the low down on the race. Here is what he had to say:

2017 marks the 15th anniversary of a race that started out as a publicity stunt for a Bike magazine and then took on a life of its own, and what a life it has been. We realized it was fitting we do something special for this anniversary, but what? The answer was very simple, just improve everything; the course, the spectator experience, the impact for the neighbors, and of course, the grin on the racers faces. And so, down that rabbit hole, we went. Boy did it take us to some weird places, from talking to the police commander into fielding undercover agents to stop drugs and booze being sold on the course, something that the neighbors were understandably very upset about, to “slightly modifying” two houses in order to check off the "riders on roof" and "through a house" items on our to-do list.

Pre-race riders meeting
Pre-race riders meeting

The pizza at the pre-race riders meeting was world class.
The pizza at the pre-race riders meeting was world class.

Unknown rider launches out of the house for the first time during practice.
An unknown rider launches out of the house for the first time during practice.

Bernard Kerr launching out of the house low in the saddle to scrub the gap and then brake to make the dirt corner back onto the street below. Look easy right .
Bernard Kerr launching out of the house, low in the saddle to scrub the gap and then brake to make the dirt corner back onto the street below. Looks easy right?.

Race organizers dream of having riders race through a house came true this year they did just that .


We also measured fire engines in order to be absolutely sure our ramps wouldn’t be in the way in an eventual emergency, as wildfires were raging all over the country during the months prior to the race and put us in severe jeopardy of being shut down completely. Then we learned that the container jump feature is the lowest safe point in case of a tsunami, who knew?


Bernard Kerr full style and pop out of the container on his final run.
Bernard Kerr, full style and pop out of the container on his final run.

Redbull Cerro Abajo 15 Year Anniversary


For the course, we decided to go with a faster-is-better approach. We modified stairs to increase doubling of sets, took out some guard rails, increased the size of some lips here and there, and made some of the landings a lot bigger to allow for higher speed and distance. We held an undercover training session on Saturday to avoid crowds, this was very appreciated by the riders who got to familiarize themselves with the stairs and the house feature.


Getting the rhythm of the stair sections was crucial for keeping speed. Some sets could be doubled up and some tripled. It was just a matter of remembering which was which in your race run .
Getting the rhythm of the stair sections was crucial for keeping speed. Some sets could be doubled up, it was just a matter of remembering which was which in your race run!

Crushing in the rhythm of the stairs.
Crushing in the rhythm of the stairs.

Redbull Cerro Abajo 15 Year Anniversary

The features that used to be the big ones of the course were now definitely not as we had two features that spanned over 10 meters.

Chilean rider Ignacio Rojo is the only competitor that has competed in every single one of the 15 Cerro Abajo Urban DH races in Valparaiso. Here he gets full moto over the 40 foot bus gap.
Chilean rider Ignacio Rojo is the only competitor that has competed in every single one of the 15 Cerro Abajo Urban DH races in Valparaiso. Here he gets full moto over the 40+ foot bus gap.

Felipe Argurto is one of the fastest riders in Chile right now. He s young and on top of his game. He had the biggest air and best style by far on the bus gap. Here he sends his way into the top ten.
Felipe Argurto is one of the fastest riders in Chile right now. He's young and on top of his game. He had the biggest air and best style by far on the bus gap. Here he sends his way into the top ten.

Holding it together over the bus with the harbour of Valparaiso below.
Holding it together over the bus with the harbour of Valparaiso below.

Argentina s Mauricio Flores jumps over the massive bus gap with style in warm ups.
Argentina's Mauricio Flores jumps over the massive bus gap with style.

Mauricio Acuna high off the wall ride on his way to 4th place.
Mauricio Acuna, high off the wall ride, on his way to 4th place.

Logan Binggeli charging the urban jungle of Valparaiso to a 7th place finish this year.
Logan Binggeli charging the urban jungle of Valparaiso to a 7th place finish this year.

In general this year everything was bigger. This drop off the wall has been in earlier editions of the race but this year it was bigger and it seemed to me that the run in was nastier. Full speed off of the street flat take off on broken concrete and loose dead grass.
In general, everything was bigger this year. This drop off the wall has been in earlier editions of the race but this year it was bigger and it seemed to me that the run in was nastier. Full speed off of the street, a flat take-off on broken concrete and loose dead grass.

Redbull Cerro Abajo 15 Year Anniversary


On race day, riders take off from inside a house into the very steep streets of the upper slopes of the Cerro Alegre. This is a course that we try to keep as similar to a dirt course as possible, with around 250m of drop and 1.8km in length, and an average speed that mimics a regular course.


The drop off the Plaza Bismark.
The drop off the Plaza Bismark.

Bernard Kerr styles in the wall ride to gap. Most riders avoided the gap but others found a way to make it flow perfectly.
Bernard Kerr styles on the wall ride to gap. Most riders avoided the gap but others found a way to make it flow perfectly.

Brappp.
Brappp.

And the crowds go wild .
And the crowds go wild!

Chilean Pedro Ferreira hitting the wall ride gap high heading towards his third place podium spot.
Chilean Pedro Ferreira hitting the wall ride gap high, heading towards his third place podium spot. As you can see in this photo, the gap from the wall ride to the landing is not small.

Tucking the cobblestone.
Tucking the cobblestone.

Tomas Slavik sends it over the wall ride gap as the kids look on with awe.
Tomas Slavik sends it over the wall ride gap as the kids look on with awe.

Bernardo Cruz
Bernardo Cruz

Frenchman Hebert Ambroise keeping his speed around the corner in prep for the giant bus gap.
Frenchman Hebert Ambroise keeping his speed around the corner in prep for the giant bus gap.

Full crack off the wall ride. This is how its done.
Full crack off the wall ride. This is how it's done.

Getting high on the wall ride
Getting high on the wall ride

Bamn out of the sea can.
Bamn, out of the sea can.

Tomas Slavik blasts over the container gap on his final run.
Tomas Slavik blasts over the container gap on his final run.


We had a killer day with huge crowds and bright sun, thankfully no ambulance riders or dog incidents this year and when the dust settled, Tomas Slavik had bested the competition after coming really close years prior, second was Bernard Kerr with a huge debut here, and third was Pedro Ferreira who was a very welcome sight back on the podium. Sadly this course takes its prisoners and we had a few crack riders lose their shot at glory due to bike failures such as Bernardo Cruz and Brage Vestavik, all of them we hope will be back for another shot at the crown of Red Bull Valparaíso Cerro Abajo in 2018 when they will have to deal with not only the reigning champion but also with the previous one, Johannes Fischbach who had to sit out this time due to a bad collarbone.

Tomas Slavik jumps on stage for an interview seconds after taking the win.
Tomas Slavik jumps on stage for an interview seconds after taking the win.

Redbull Cerro Abajo 15 Year Anniversary


Results
• 1st: Tomas Slavik 00:02:48.480
• 2nd: Bernard Kerr 00:02:50.560
• 3rd: Pedro Ferreira 00:02:52.520


See you on the stairs next year! – Victor Heresmann

Words: Victor Heresmann
Photos: John Wellburn



MENTIONS: @redbullbike / @JHellburn




19 Comments

  • + 5
 Pretty sweet. Am I the only one that shudders when they look at doubling those stairs? I just see my fork bottoming out as it tries to keep up with landing on steps and then the inevitable slow mo over-the-bars manoeuvre, face to steps...
  • + 5
 Sounds like you need some help with suspension tuning... DH bikes PLOW stairs like they aren't there!!
  • + 1
 @loaded: yep mine loves steps
  • + 1
 And then you watch the POV and it looks butter... yeah pretty sure that's not how it would go for most of us.
  • + 7
 they should paint that shadow on the wall.
  • + 5
 Bernard is the man Smile
  • + 3
 Do yourself a favor and watch Slavic's POV...terrifying!
www.pinkbike.com/news/red-bull-valparaiso-video-2017.html
  • + 2
 Why was that not on the front page?
  • + 2
 buses, conex boxes, stairs, ....in the city. we need more of this in our lives....and in our cities. fuck yeah , red balls!
  • + 3
 Looks like the Drop In South American bus
  • + 1
 lol kinda does. the drop in bus is located at apex resort if anyone was wondering. I think a dude lives in it lol
  • + 1
 @makripper: that is an interesting Freerider factoid
  • + 2
 Well done!! Amazing Event!!
  • + 3
 amazing job !
  • + 1
 Gnarly set of pictures. Riding simply at the top.
  • + 1
 Victor, You've come along way since 2003! -Steve
  • + 1
 rare and well done at the same time, me like Smile
  • + 2
 RAD

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