Interview: BMX Crossover Dylan Stark on How He's Approaching His First Rampage - Red Bull Rampage 2022

Oct 17, 2022 at 23:30
by Tom Bradshaw  
Taking 2nd place behind Brett Rheeder at Proving Grounds, as well as the heart and soul award. Photo Jake Vanheel

We caught up with Redbull Rampage rookie Dylan Stark, fresh off second place at Proving Grounds. His raw style has quickly made him a rider favourite, and we can't wait to see how he approaches Rampage this year.





Tell us about growing up riding in California, what did that look like?


I grew up in Orange County, California. As long as I can remember I’ve ridden BMX. At around 11 years old I got an MTB, but the local trails got closed and jumps flattened, so I went back to BMX. I ended up turning pro at 16, but in the end, I realized it wasn’t a career that you could rely on financially, I had to get a real job. I was building e-bikes when my co-worker convinced me to build up my old MTB frame. I was just out there riding for fun and posting clips on Insta.

How did you get your next mountain bike after that?


After riding my old frame for a while, Brandon Semenuk hit me up on Instagram and sent me one of his bikes. I ended up winning a season pass at my local mountain. I always thought it would be cool to be sponsored, but I was just out there riding for fun.

And that’s the bike that did the El Toro stair gap?


Yep…


How does it feel to now line up in Redbull Rampage against Brandon?


When Brandon sent me a bike I’d never met him. The only interaction was through Instagram, we both dropped comments on each others content.

It’s gone full circle now, the bike he gave me was an old rampage bike of his. It’s crazy to think his Rampage bike started by MTB career. To make it anywhere near his level is pretty trippy. He saw something in me so early on.

What motivated the move to compete more in mountain bike events? It seems like your YouTube channel, and videos like Real Heat 1 and 2 have been the preferred way for sharing and progressing your riding on the mountain bikes.


I always enjoyed competing in BMX, it’s always a good time hanging out, seeing friends, and constantly pushing each other to do better. MTB events allow me to see a lot friends that I wouldn’t see as often otherwise.

I don’t really know how contests make you feel because of the nerves, it’s something you need to do, but I love making content as well. There's a lot of hate on BMX coming into the sport, so I think us BMXers have got a lot to prove and contests give us that platform. We interpret locations and trails different to the traditional MTBers.


We saw you watching from the sidelines at Rampage last year - What were you thinking when you left? Did you think you’d be back competing in it a year later?


I always come to the desert to ride, it’s really cool. All the spots are beat up and you need to figure out how to ride them. I never pictured being in Rampage when I was here last year. When we built the line for Real Heat 2 I thought, maybe we can do it. The hardest thing is there is no way to practice and prepare for Rampage other than riding the terrain out here, it’s something else.

It was awesome to see you get 2nd at Proving Grounds this year, what’s the preparation been like for Rampage?


Thanks! Once my dad passed away, my main goal is to try to win Rampage, there isn’t anything bigger to achieve. I want to make him proud.

I’ve been working hard. The best thing I’ve been doing is digging every day in 100 degrees, and learning how to use sandbags.

Dylan, Markie and Scribbles working on their line. Photo Isac Paddock.
From watching on the sidelines a year ago, to digging in the heat. Photo Isac Paddock.


As a first-time rider what are your goals at Rampage?


My goal is to blow everyone's mind, to put BMX on the map. I want to make it to the bottom. It’s so gnarly and you’ve got to give it your all.

How do you select your dig team? Is it their first time digging too?


It’s everyone’s first time out here! We’re going through the gnarly experience together. The process of selecting the dig team is relatively simple, people who you can trust as well as people who know how to have a good time, I’ll be hanging out with these people for 2 weeks.

I’ve been digging with Markie for years, he can move dirt like a tractor. Nobody knows him unless you go to Costco, but he’s a legend there.

Scribbles showed me around in Whistler one year and then he came helping build for Real Heat 2, was supposed to stay for 2 weeks, and ended up staying 5. I would love to have a bigger crew, but we’re only allowed 2 diggers.

You started digging on Wednesday - How is your line progressing? Are you working with others or is it your own?


It’s really gnarly when you’re out here digging. We chose a different style of line, suited to my style of riding. I want to do what I know. I want to build a line that people want to ride because it looks fun. I’ve teamed up on the canyon gap with Szymon Godziek.

The canyon gap is back and will be shared by Dylan and Szymon Godziek. Photo Isac Paddock.
Water is available from the top-down this year, unlike previous years at this venue meaning less time hauling and more time digging. Photo Isac Paddock.


We've seen your YT Tues with a 190mm Single Crown ZEB… how does it feel now you're on site?


At proving grounds Brett Rheeder was telling me how good the single crown was for spinning the bars. After that, I got home and tested it out, it's now my favourite setup. It was a hard decision to go into a gnarly competition with a new setup, but I’m convinced.

Dylan's choosing a 190mm Rockshox ZEB. Photo Ale di Lullo.
With plenty of spare brake hose cable.... Photo Ale di Lullo.


We just saw “High Voltage” - just confirming - no to the e-bike at Rampage?


Haha, not this year. I’ll save my Decoy for my home trails.

What does the cost of attending Rampage look like for you? Who's supporting you to be there?


The biggest investment is time, not just my time, but the whole crew. Everyone took two weeks off work, but it’s a crazy experience, and we’re proud to be a part of it.

Practice started Monday, and Dylan is looking comfy in the air. Photo Ale Di Lullo.

We’re stoked to see you at Rampage this year and best of luck - anything else you’d like to share?


We just bought a new camera. I want to take the off-season to create something special with my oldest friend and filmer Salsa. I want to show people you don’t need a mountain to ride mountain bikes. Super stoked for the off-season and our next project, but first… Red Bull Rampage.





Update: Dylan had a big case today, bent his crank, and didn't practice the rest of day. It sounds like he's good to go, but we'll update you if that changes. Fingers crossed!


72 Comments

  • 202 1
 For the past 30 years mountain biking I have chosen to ride single-crown forks to allow me to do barspins. All I need to do now is learn how to do barspins.
  • 17 0
 haha....one of these days you're just going to bust one out. No rush, make sure you're good and ready.
  • 22 1
 Have you tried riding a BMX bike to give you that BMX background?
  • 103 14
 Wait, does he have a BMX background?
  • 29 5
 Not sure, the article doesn't seem to make that clear enough
  • 14 3
 I popped right to the comment section, to see how many times BMX Background would be mentioned
  • 13 5
 His BMX background consisted of getting into fights with skaters in Long Beach.
  • 25 4
 I hate this stupid joke so much
  • 4 1
 Other than this stupid joke, what BMX hate is he talking about?
  • 3 1
 @txcx166: ya I was wondering that as well. Maybe it’s there at competitions or something? I’ve certainly never seen this in the trails if anything the opposite
  • 3 0
 @sudochuckwalla: in pinkbike academy every rider had a "BMX background" so it's just kind of a joke like just say you have BMX background and your in
  • 2 0
 @DylanHrusko: I'm aware of that, maybe i'm wrong but I from reading his interview it sounded like he was talking about something else. Maybe I just don't get it since I don't have a bmx background
  • 1 0
 @mariomtblt: Pinkbike Academy is no joke!
  • 50 2
 So much talk about BMX but I think it's overshadowing Dylan's 2-wheeled talent. As much as I love watching him on BMX and DH bikes, some of his best stuff is on DJers or trail bikes (and maybe even this slopeDH set up). Even in the BMX world he was doing stuff different. Nobody's really put together big burly street stuff and insane trails and park flow like Dylan. Maybe Peraza, maybe Dugan, definitely shades of Ruben. But Stark is on a whole other planet. He's the type of dude who would find a way to incorporate a flair or fakie front flip into a Rampage run. Though I doubt we'll see it, I'd love to watch him just completely forgo the judging criteria and ride his ride.
  • 5 1
 Speaking of 2 wheel talent saw a video on his YouTube channel of him getting around pretty good on a speedway bike. For anyone that knows those bikes are insanely difficult to ride let alone ride it properly like he was doing. Definitely a 2 wheel talent for sure.
  • 2 1
 this right here. big FAX!
  • 34 1
 Love to see all the boys practice at the "Bizet jumps" Big Grin Can't wait to see all the riding next days ! Good luck Dylan for friday
  • 4 16
flag holdandhope (Oct 18, 2022 at 2:36) (Below Threshold)
 You don't get credit for building jumps anymore, just credit for taking a photo on jumps someone else built... Mtb 2022.
  • 7 1
 @BizetAntoine So good! Learning to hit those jumps was the highlight of my grom's trip out to Virgin a few years back. Perfect blend of accessibility and progression in that set and no telling how many groms (and adults) have had their first "real" Virgin hits at that spot.
  • 3 1
 Think he'll go for a double backflip? That was so sick to watch go down.
  • 33 0
 how much weed is needed for a complete building week at Rampage?
  • 27 0
 42.0kg
  • 26 0
 Lol I asked him how many joints he smoked with Josh Bender on his YouTube comments for his proving grounds video, and he replied "too many to count"
  • 2 1
 Too much. Real men like Brandon go raw dog!
  • 27 0
 have a nervous feeling we may be seeing a tailwhip over the canyon gay. Oh boy
  • 34 0
 If you can jump a 30' and you can tailwhip, you can tailwhip a 30' gap. Said someone...
  • 19 0
 @TheBrickOriginal: now that's a Road Fools quote for the ages.
  • 19 0
 @TheBrickOriginal: if you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.
  • 2 0
 @TheBrickOriginal: that’s a blast from the past!
  • 20 0
 Dylan just might be crazy enough to sneak a handrail into his rampage line and I'm here for it if he does, haha!
  • 2 0
 I WAS RIGHT!
  • 16 3
 Please podium and then hand him a redbull helmet right after. Dylan, Brage, and the up tick in progression/events on the female side are the few good things happening in mtb these days.
  • 6 1
 Lmao those are the few good things?
  • 4 0
 I feel like Rockstar is gonna pick him up.
  • 2 0
 @nvranka: In my opinion, yes, but I forgot Riddle. Please add to the list...
  • 1 0
 @robito: can’t disagree with you there mate
  • 9 0
 it's insider info like this that I like:

"I’ve been digging with Markie for years, he can move dirt like a tractor. Nobody knows him unless you go to Costco, but he’s a legend there."

Hope Dylan's ankle feels better soon and he gets his bike fixed!!!
  • 4 0
 i grew up in the same town as markie and went to middle and elementary school with him. his mom bought him a roller backpack one year for christmas and he used to grind handrails and gap stairs while riding it like a scooter.
  • 12 5
 Dont be confused with BMX backgrounds. Pick a BMX background a be a dick about the other one
  • 4 0
 My hometown hero, man I’m so excited to see him ride! I’ve been dreaming of him getting a spot at rampage and I’m actually shocked it happened this soon, but his results at proving grounds speak for themselves. The dude has the determination of a skater, so expect some sick shit
  • 6 1
 With the "BMX background" every other text we should start asking the most important question, is it brakeless background or rear brake only or full brakes background Blank Stare
  • 5 2
 The other important follow up question on BMX backgrounds is what were their preferred combination of stunt pegs?
  • 2 0
 He has an enduro bike with no brakes, so i guess no brakes background
  • 4 0
 Go back and look at his old BMX edits....he has always had an MTB size appetite, his bike was just too small. If he has his way on the course get ready for him to go ape shit.
  • 6 2
 They put BMX in the headline just to troll all you trolls. Well done, PinkBike. Your move, commenters.
  • 2 0
 Hold my beer
  • 4 0
 started riding MTB and then someone closed his trails and flattened the jumps... the story is the same from coast to coast.
  • 5 0
 I rode a BMX once, crushed a beer can with the back wheel.
  • 2 1
 " What does the cost of attending Rampage look like for you? Who's supporting you to be there?

The biggest investment is time, not just my time, but the whole crew. Everyone took two weeks off work, but it’s a crazy experience, and we’re proud to be a part of it."

This made me that neither him nor the build crew are being paid much (or anything at all)...
  • 2 0
 BEST OF LUCK DYLAN!!!!!! Can't wait to see his run; I'm sure its going to change the way people look at the mountainside.
  • 3 1
 Steezy dude. Love his YouTube videos
  • 3 0
 Let’s go stark !!
  • 1 0
 Super Coll dude, and super sic riding, "jumps got flattened" is you need to know about socal
  • 1 0
 Dylan's a real one! Good luck out there homie, we're rooting for YOU! LONG LIVE HURLEY'S TRAILS!! WOO.
  • 2 0
 Pit-viper sponsored rider!!!
  • 2 0
 Rooting for you Dylan! Kick ass dude.
  • 3 2
 Let's see how many of them get through practice this year..
  • 3 3
 Looks like he has (had) e13 helix cranks. My friend has them bent in every possible direction.
  • 1 0
 @theteaser: Ethan has SRAM cranks, Dylan has the E13s. Same frames, different cranks.
  • 4 3
 bmx background
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