The Red Bull Rampage will be returning once again to Virgin, Utah, this October, but several changes have been implemented to the format of the most-viewed freeride contest in the world. Even the venue will be different – riders will now be making their way down an entirely new zone that has approximately 100 more vertical feet of elevation to work with. The focus for this year is on natural, big mountain terrain, with few, if any, man-made structures on course.
The number of competitors has been greatly reduced, and the field will now consist of a select group of 21 riders - the top 12 finishers from last year's contest, along with nine wild card entrants that will be announced at a later date. Fewer riders on the hill should help prevent the petty squabbling and drama that ensued in 2015, and hopefully allow each athlete to build and ride the line of their dreams.
The riders will have four days to construct their line with the assistance of two diggers, and there will then be a mandatory rest day followed by four days of practice. There won't be a qualifying day this year either – it'll be a one day, winner-take-all style event, another change designed to help reduce the number of injuries – after all, it's hard enough to pull off a risky, death-defying line once, let alone twice.
Controversy is inevitable at any judged event, since choosing a winner isn't as cut and dry as looking at a stop watch, but this year all of the judges will be former Rampage competitors. This means that they'll all have intimate knowledge of what it's like to tackle those steep sandy slopes, and have a solid background to draw on when determining a final score.
Red Bull Rampage 2015 Top 12 Finishers :
1 - Kurt Sorge
2 - Andreu Lacondeguy
3 - Graham Agassiz
4 - Brandon Semenuk
5 - Thomas Genon
6 - Cam Zink
7 - Darren Berrecloth
8 - Brendan Fairclough
9 - Sam Reynolds
10 - Remy Metailler
11 - Kyle Strait
12 - Pierre Edouard Ferry
More information: redbull.com/rampage