Canadian claims top honours at Red Bull Rampage 2018

Brett Rheeder backflips to his first Rampage title at freeride contest in Virgin, Utah

October 27th, 2018 by | Posted in MTB | Tags: , ,

Red Bull Rampage 2018
Brett Rheeder flies to first place at Red Bull Rampage 2018. Image: Christian Pondella / Red Bull Content Pool

Ontario’s Brett Rheeder captured one of the most coveted victories in mountain biking, winning his first Red Bull Rampage title on Friday in Utah.

The Mount Albert, Ontario rider rode a technical and smooth run down the cliffs of Virgin, Utah capped off by a huge backflip drop to earn his 89.66 winning score. “This is my sixth time competing at Red Bull Rampage and my first three years at Red Bull Rampage were tough,” said Rheeder. “I was way out of my element and it took a long time to finally be a contender for the title and it feels unreal.”

Red Bull Rampage 2018
(L-R) Andreu Lacondeguy, Breet Rheeder, Ethan Nell celebrate on the podium during Red Bull Rampage 2018. Image: Christian Pondella / Red Bull Content Pool

RELATED: Winning Runs: Red Bull Rampage 2018

The Canadian becomes the first winner at Rampage’s newest venue, which made it’s debut in 2018. It’s also Rheeder’s first Rampage win after finishing fifth in 2017 and 2014.

Red Bull Rampage 2018
Andreu Lacondeguy celebrates with fans at Red Bull Rampage 2018. Image: Peter Morning / Red Bull Content Pool

Andreu Lacondeguy finished in second behind Rheeder with a high-speed run full of big tricks. It was Lacondeguy’s third Rampage podium finish. The charismatic Spanish rider won the event in 2014 and finished second the following year behind Nelson, B.C.’s Kurt Sorge.

Red Bull Rampage 2018
Utah local Ethan Nell throws a suicide no-hander on his way to a second straight Rampage podium. Image: Garth Milan / Red Bull Content Pool

Ethan Nell of nearby Saint George, Utah claimed the final podium position at the thirteenth edition of the big mountain freeride competition. It’s Nell’s second Rampage podium in two years after placing third in 2017.

Red Bull Rampage 2018
Tom van Steenbergen’s Best Trick winning flat drop backflip. Image: Paris Gore / Red Bull Content Pool

Tom van Steenbergen once again had a huge impression on the event, throwing a massive flat drop backflip off one of the venue’s many cliff faces. The technically demanding and visually impressive trick helped carry the Okanangan athlete to fourth place and the event’s best trick award. Van Steenbergen made a similar impact last year when he started his final run with an unexpected caveman drop off the courses opening feature.

Red Bull Rampage 2018
Kurt Sorge fought through injury to finish ninth in Utah. Image: Christian Pondella / Red Bull Content Pool

Last year’s winner, Nelson, B.C.’s Kurt Sorge, finished ninth. After sustaining a neck injury in a crash during training, the defending champion completed just one of the two allowed competition runs. Happy to have made it down that run cleanly, when so many competitors had already crashed before him, Sorge made the call not to go back up the cliffs for a second run.

Red Bull Rampage 2018
Brandon Semenuk during practice for Red Bull Rampage 2018. Image: Paris Gore / Red Bull Content Pool

Other Canadian’s competing in Utah were Graham Aggasiz, who finished 15th, and two-time Red Bull Rampage winner Brandon Semenuk who crashed attempting a cork 720 during both runs to place 16th. Victoria B.C.’s freeride legend Jordie Lunn left his line mid-run, ending the contest tied for 18th.

Red Bull Rampage 2018
Jordie Lunn sending his technical chute to drop feature at Red Bull Rampage 2018. Image: Christian Pondella / Red Bull Content Pool

2018 marks a fourth straight year a Canuck has earned top spot at the freeride contest in Virgin, Utah. Kurt Sorge won in 2017 and 2015, and Brandon Semenuk in 2016. Rheeder’s win is the eighth for a Canadian athlete at the Red Bull event. Wade Simmons won the first ever Red Bull Rampage in 2001, followed by Tyler Klassen in 2002. Semenuk had his first of two wins in 2008 while Sorge, who holds the record for most Red Bull Rampage wins, earned his first of three victories in 2012.

Red Bull Rampage 2018
Brendon Fairclough sends a massive rock drop to 10th, and the Kelly McGarry Spirit Award at Red Bull Rampage 2018. Image: Christian Pondella / Red Bull Content Pool