Cam Zink claims Rampage victory with astounding 50+ foot 360 drop.
(Oct 1-3, 2010) VIRGIN, UT.—Once again the most radical and talented big mountain freeriders descended upon the desert BLM lands outside Virgin, Utah to contest the most respected and prestigious extreme event in mountain biking, the Red Bull Rampage. In addition to being its own unique event, the Rampage also served as the final event for the 2010 Freeride World Mountain Bike Tour.
For the Rampage, Red Bull and Oakley, the events two main sponsors, pulled out all the stops to make everything run smoothly and pleasantly as possible for all who were involved. Free shuttles, a bike check/valet parking area, concession stands, catered lunches in the athlete and media areas, live dj’s spinning bumping tunes, numerous medical personnel, and plenty of Red Bull and cold water were luxury items appreciated by all in the hot desert environment. In fact, there was even a designated medical helicopter parked at the event site, ready to spin up for a medical evac if needed, but thankfully its service wasn’t needed throughout the weekend.
Due to the extreme nature of the course and competition, the Rampage is an invite-only event where invites are only given to the very best downhillers and freeriders in the business. Only the top 15 from the previous year’s event were given a direct birth into the two-run finals round, and only 11 of those riders were in attendance this year.
On Friday, 22 riders took two runs in the qualifiers, of which only the top 10 would get to advance into the Finals on Sunday. Most riders showed up almost a week early to select their lines and get them dialed. Like many freeride/slopestyle events, riders are able to choose which lines they take, which features to hit, and which tricks to throw down. With three different start gates to start from, riders had a myriad of choices and features to hit in their almost 1500 foot vertical descent to the finish gate. Additionally event promoters built several large features that riders could choose to ride or go around for their competition runs.
“It’s my first time riding in the Rampage, so I wasn’t sure of what to expect, but it’s a good time. Basically, you’re line selection can be as gnarly as you want it to be here”, said rookie contender Greg Watts prior to his last qualifier run. Watts used his solid riding and large bag of tricks to qualify in 7th place into the finals by being one of the few to backflip the big mountain features.
Utah local pro downhiller Logan Bingelli who races for KHS Bikes surprised everyone with his solid fluid riding, which included a flawless huck out of the Oakley Icon sender feature- a 50+ foot drop, to take first place in the qualifiers. “I just got my line scoped out and rode what I thought would be big and what should be in a Rampage run because I’m not really a trick type of rider”, said Binggeli of his qualifying run.
Notably several big performance riders such as Steve Romaniuk and Andrew Talyor rode powerfully and superbly, but came unwound towards the end of their runs with brutal crashes resulting in injuries which prevented them from taking their second qualifier runs and missed out on the finals.
For the second day of competition, many finalist spent their time digging new lines and getting existing lines dialed to prepare for the finals on Sunday. Typical to desert weather, a giant storm rolled through with high winds that created blinding sand storms which sent everyone scampering off the course to find cover.
On Sunday riders, fans, and hordes of media personnel got amped up on Red Bull and hiked up the silt paths to partake in the grand spectacle of modern day freeriding. In his big mountain breakout performance, renowned slopestyle rider Andreu Lacondeguy impressed everyone with his fearless riding and fourth place finish.
Seeking redemption for his separated shoulder in the previous year’s event, world champion downhiller Gee Atherton kept it rubberside down to complete a powerful big mountain line accentuated with a huge air transfer to the lower Red Bull wallride for an early first place score which held for most of the event, but eventually was bumped down to second place. “I knew it was gonna be tough and I managed to hang on, so I’m pretty happy with it right now”, commented Atherton on his first run. Regarding his return to the Rampage after separating his shoulder in practice at last year’s event, Atherton said, “That was the main goal this week, being able to walk away from this. My line was completely fresh from last year.”
No stranger to the Rampage, veteran rider Darren Berrecloth linked together some insanely technical lines with point and shoot drops, a wall ride, hip transfers, and a huge 360 towards the bottom to claim third place.
After Cam Zink’s horrific spill that cracked his full-face helmet from attempting a 360 out of the Oakley Icon Sender, it was questionable whether or not he’d take a second run. Once Zink got the OK from the medics, it was on like Donkey Kong. In his final run, Zink threw an incredible 360 out of the Oakley Icon Sender that served as his event winning trick. “It’s absolutely nuts watching someone like Zink do that, it makes you realize these guys are really putting it on the line for this event”, said Atherton of Zinks winning run. Zinks 360 also won him best trick, and by winning the Rampage he also took the first place overall in the 2010 Freeride World Mountain Bike Tour.
Notably, previous Rampage champion Kyle Strait was the only other rider to complete a difficult trick from the Oakley Icon Sender with his remarkable no-hander. However, Strait cleanly snapped his handle bar in half on the very next jump and crashed hard into the Virgin desert dirt to finish in eighth place on his first run score.
For more results, see Red Bull Rampage.