Words & Photos by Ryan Cleek

It’s been 20 years since the inaugural Red Bull Rampage took place in Virgin, Utah. Few could have predicted the impact that groundbreaking event would have on the sport of mountain biking. On Friday, October 15, the fifteenth Rampage took place (the event took a few years off, plus 2020 was well, you know…), and 15 of mountain biking’s most accomplished freeride athletes once again put their skills, both line building and riding, to the ultimate test.

The Rampage has evolved from a loose and dusty skid-and-pray fest in the early 2000s to a display of highly skilled big mountain freeriding that combines jaw-dropping slopestyle tricks on the iconic Utah mountainside. Fifteen of the world’s most elite freeriders were selected for this year’s Rampage, yet by the time the red dust from practice settled on finals eve, just 11 riders were healthy enough to compete on freeride’s most hallowed ground.

Of the fifteen Red Bull Rampages, three riders have won a total of 9 of those events, while six riders have a single Rampage. For 2021, the Rampage returned to the stage of the 2016 and 2017 Rampage, and once again putting the winners of those two years, Brandon Semenuk (2016) and Kurt Sorge (2017) head-to-head, along with a collective who’s who of freeride mountain biking.

After each rider threw down their best effort on Friday, Semenuk would once again beat Sorge for an unprecedented fourth Rampage title (Kurt Sorge is the only other with three Rampage wins), and Sorge finished in second place. First-time Rampage participant, Reed Boggs, began the month of October as Rampage alternate, but after a few riders dropped out for injuries, Boggs stepped in and made a name for himself by landing on the final podium spot in third place.

Final Red Bull Rampage Results

1. Brandon Semenuk: 89.00
2. Kurt Sorge: 88.33
3. Reed Boggs: 87.00
4. Cam Zink: 86.33
5. Tyler McCaul: 78.33
6. Kyle Strait: 77.66
7. Thomas Genon: 77.00
8. Ethan Nell: 73.33
9. Jaxson Riddle: 72.66
10. Szymon Godziek: 54.33
11. Vincent Tupin: 0.00
12. Thomas Van Steenbergen: 0.00

Other competition awards included the Toughness Award by BFGoodrich, Style Award by Michelin, Digger Award by Kia, and Best Trick Award by Utah Sports Commission and were voted on and decided at the conclusion of the event. The final honors list is below:

  • Awarded to the participant who displayed strength and grit through adversity during the contest, the Toughness Award by BFGoodrich was awarded to Cam Zink.
  • Awarded to the competitor who displayed the most finesse and creativity in his run, the Style Award by Michelin was presented to Jaxson Riddle.
  • Awarded to the dig crew who were the most successful in bringing the competitor’s vision to life, the Digger Award by Kia was presented to Joel Shockley and Samuel Mercado for Jaxson Riddle.
  • Awarded to the competitor who performed the trick with the most scale and technicality in the contest, Best Trick Award by Utah Sports Commission was presented to Tom Van Steenberg, who executed a front-flip on the flat drop.

No stranger to setting trends in mountain biking, Brandon Semenuk tailwhips his way to an unprecedented fourth Rampage title aboard a bike with a single-crown fork. In the old days of Rampage, a few riders attempted to compete on a single-crown fork, although they didn’t have much success. No one told Brandon.

In 2017, Kurt Sorge took the Rampage win on this same site as this year’s event. He threw down a backflip off this drop in his first run, and a remarkable backflip knack-knack on his second run in an effort to unseed Semenuk from the hot seat.

Carson Storch had been winning practice by throwing down run after run on his line. Unfortunately, he came up short on his first attempt at the marquee drop on his line which resulted in a broken collarbone and forced out of the contest.

With every practice run Szymon Godziek got more stylish.

Red Bull Rampage 2022 Tickets On Sale

T-Mac (Tyler McCaul) floats into his line atop a mid-course ridgeline. He put down two solid runs in the Rampage finals en route to his third fifth-place finish at Rampage.

What were you doing when you were 19 years old? Utah’s own Jaxson Riddle contemplates his first Rampage appearance.

The only rider to compete in every Rampage event that has ever taken place, two-time winner Kyle Strait threw down his signature no-hander off the same massive drop Cam Zink was backflipping.

Once again, the Utah desert didn’t disappoint. The level of riding at this year’s event was at an all-time high.

On his final run, Kurt Sorge threw down a flip nac-nac off this massive drop in hopes of unseating Semenuk from the hot seat. Although an incredible feat, his total score fell short of his fellow Canadian countryman.

Belgium’s Tommy G spots his landing as he spins his way into the top 10.

In practice, Carson Storch hit the big drop on his line one time. This divot is the unfortunate remnant of him coming up slightly short resulting in a heavy crash and a broken collarbone.

It’s hard to tell from this angle, but that could be cloud 9 that Reed Boggs is floating on in this photo. Boggs made the most out of his chance to slide into the Rampage lineup as an alternate by landing on the final podium spot with a remarkable third place effort.

Szymon Godziek consistently threw down in practice, and as a full-time slopestyle competitor we know he has all of the tricks. He went down on each of his runs after throwing a massive 360 on the biggest drop in his line.

Tom Van Steenbergen meditates on the drop where he’d soon throw a Best-Trick-winning massive front flip on his first run. Unfortunately, after landing that incredible feat, he’d go down a bit further on course and suffer serious injuries, including a broken pelvis, femur, and lower vertebrae. According to his recent social media post, he’s expecting a full recovery.

Cam Zink’s dig team member, Ray Syron, gives the freeride legend a fist bump and some words of encouragement before his first finals run. After a massive crash in practice the day before, which sent him to the emergency room, it was remarkable Zink was able to compete, let alone just miss the podium in fourth place.

Vincent Tupin was looking smooth on his technical line, yet a massive get-off on the biggest drop on his line ended his day, as he opted not to take his second run.

Although a decorated freeride athlete, Thomas Genon began his 2021 Rampage campaign as an alternate. His seventh place result in finals guarantees him a spot in the 2022 event.

Rampage is heavy, even for the now four-time champion.

Cam Zink might not have landed the result he wanted (4th), but after spending time in the emergency room the day before finals from a crash flipping this same drop, he certainly rode above all expectations, aside from his own.


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