Exposure

The 2018 Red Bull Rampage in Photos

Behind the scenes as Brett Rheeder wins the 13th annual freeride competition

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Photo: Christopher D. Thompson

On October 26, the legendary Red Bull Rampage freeride mountain biking competition wrapped its 13th year of competition in Virgin, Utah. It was the first year for a new and—if you can believe it—even steeper venue that added 160 feet of vertical drop from start to finish. Heavy wind and rain scuttled practice sessions, and crews worked from dusk to dawn sculpting dirt into takeoffs, berms, and landings. After a number of notable injuries, both before and during the contest, many riders were satisfied with making it to the bottom in one piece.

Photo: Christopher D. Thompson

Because of the location change, crews of diggers had to build new lines from scratch.

Photo: Christopher D. Thompson

Turning the desert into something even remotely ridable is a lot of work. 

Photo: Christopher D. Thompson

A digger builds a berm with a steep cliff behind it, leading into a huge drop. Small build pieces are often just as important as the lips and landings, because flowing from feature to feature is key to maintaining speed.

Photo: Christopher D. Thompson

Canadian rider Brandon Semenuk discusses the course with a friend after a practice run.

Photo: Christopher D. Thompson

Even the mellow sections of Rampage have high consequences. Eventual champion Brett Rheeder took a fall practicing his line the day before the contest, nearly sliding off the edge of a cliff.  

Photo: Christopher D. Thompson

Digger Jacob Spera tosses some dirt for rider Rémy Métailler’s line.

Photo: Christopher D. Thompson

Métailler looks out at a series of jumps that culminated in a massive 60-plus foot long kicker into the finish corral.

Photo: Christopher D. Thompson

Brendan Fairclough, a 30-year-old Brit, surveys the lower portion of his line.

Photo: Christopher D. Thompson

Fairclough stares down a near vertical chute to drop feature. Riders typically try to complete each individual feature on its own before linking together their full competition run.

Photo: Christopher D. Thompson

Rampage rookie Adolf Silva consults with a builder.

Photo: Christopher D. Thompson

The 21-year-old Silva sends a long step down. 

Photo: Christopher D. Thompson

Shortly before the competition, Darren “the Claw” Berrecloth, a 37-year-old Canadian, announced that cumulative injuries were forcing him to retire and he wouldn’t be riding at this year’s event. But that didn’t stop him from lending some veteran advice to the new kids. 

Photo: Christopher D. Thompson

Many spectators rode their bikes four miles into the venue to watch their favorite riders.

Photo: Christopher D. Thompson

Adolf Silva and Tom van Steenbergen give a critical look at the biggest drop on course. Both sent it on their runs, earning People’s Choice and Best Trick awards, respectively.

Photo: Christopher D. Thompson

Spaniard Andreu Lacondeguy speaks with a digger during last-minute practice.

Photo: Christopher D. Thompson

Fairclough drops into a technical chute. 

Photo: Christopher D. Thompson

Ethan Nell, a southern Utah native, chucks a massive suicide-no-hander off the big center-stage drop on his way to a repeat third place finish.

Photo: Christopher D. Thompson

Reed Boggs sends a huge double drop with style to spare. Though technically making his sophomore Rampage appearance, he was unable to compete last year due to a crash during practice. 

Photo: Christopher D. Thompson

Andreu Lacondeguy, a former Rampage winner, backflips on his way to second place.

Photo: Christopher D. Thompson

Polish rider Szymon Godziek 360’d this giant drop.

Photo: Christopher D. Thompson

Brett Rheeder on his victory lap.

Photo: Christopher D. Thompson

Rheeder, a first-time Rampage winner, basks in the glow of victory in the finish corral.

Photo: Christopher D. Thompson

“Sign my face! Sign my face!” a young fan cheered. There are no casual Rampage fans.

Photo: Christopher D. Thompson

Tom van Steenbergen snagged the Best Trick award with a flat-drop backflip off a 55-foot step-down.

Photo: Christopher D. Thompson

Brendan Fairclough received the McGazza Spirit award, in memory of legendary freerider Kelly McGarry, who died of a heart attack in 2016.

Photo: Christopher D. Thompson

Rheeder shared the podium with former Rampage winner Andreu Lacondeguy (left) and Utah local Ethan Nell (right).