With the 8th year of Crankworx coming to a close, all that remained between competitors and the annual afterparty was Red Bull Joyride. On a course designed by riders for riders to showcase an unprecedented level of flow, creativity and cahones, spectators from around the world came to witness the glory and the carnage that is freeride mountain biking at its best. Round one was dominated by defending champion Cam Zink, who pulled a flawless front flip off the final “Kokanee Cabin” jump to secure a score of 94.0, nearly two points ahead of his closest competitor, fifteen year old Anthony Messere. A gleeful Zinc told a reporter “I’m goin’ up for another one!” shortly after his run; a contrast to other riders, many of whom simply seemed grateful to have survived the course.
Youngster Messere, who earned some commentary from the announcers for apparently shooting off a text (on a shattered iphone) before dropping in, nonetheless proved himself with jaw-dropping “amplitude” and an impressive flip whip finish. Greg Watts rounded out the podium in third place after the first run, with Geoff Gulevich and the McCaul brothers in hot pursuit. The intensity ratcheted up a notch in round two as competitors undoubtedly began to feel the pressure; only a run worthy of a spot in the coveted top 8 would earn them a ticket to the third and final round.
Lacondeguy landed a beautiful double back before crashing on the last jump, and Pilgrim suffered a second flat on his first landing, ending his day on a decidedly sour note. After a good knock to the head in round one, Granieri ran into a barrier post-landing and tumbled off course, setting a disturbing trend for the next four riders, all of whom also got a good look at the Whistler dirt.
Berrecloth, just ten weeks after a bad back injury, finished both of his runs conservatively, essentially bowing out of round three with a cheerful “rock and roll, guys” to his fellow riders. Yet there were some incredible tricks thrown down in round two as well; Watts landed a flawless flip/whip, and Gulevich continued to cork the crap out of everything with near effortless style. The real show, however, came from local boy Brandon Semenuk, who managed to land a huge flip/whip finale despite crashing the same move in round one. That trick, combined with a flawless preceding run, helped the “Delicate Genius” and FMB World Tour leader nail down a score of 95.4, edging Zink off the top step of the podium and Messere into third.
As both runners-up had crashed in round two, their scores from round one carried them into the finals. With Watts, Gulevich, brothers McCaul and Sorge rounding out the top eight in that order, round three was truly a clash of titans. Sorge, who in round one had said he was “just trying to survive”, suffered an unlucky crash from the start. He was followed by Cam McCaul, who landed a miraculous superman front flip, yet had to cut celebrations short as brother Tyler McCaul sustained an apparent shoulder injury after a bad landing. Gulevich provided some entertainment, threading the needle between barrier and finish arch after landing the final jump with a flat and nearly losing control, while Watts finished with a lovely flip spin. “You know the best part? I get to walk away!” He told announcers, apparently relieved.
Fifteen-year-old Messere made it clear he was taking no prisoners from the git-go, with a front flip off the entry jump, incidentally the first ever ever seen (from a flat drop) in competition. To repeat: he’s a Sophomore. In High School. His next move was a perfectly corked 360, and as Messere soared through the air on the third-to-last feature (with a whole lot of sky between rubber and dirt) it seemed the kid might win it all. Sadly, a bad landing cut the dream short. Asked for his reflections on the run, Messere simply said, “my nuts hurt.”
Zink also went big from the start, but botched a backflip, giving Semenuk a victory lap on home turf. In classic mountain biker fashion, all Semenuk had to say on this tremendous win was, “man, I’m so stoked.”
Red Bull Joyride 2011 Finals Results:
1 - Brandon Semenuk - CAN - Score 95.40
2 - Cam Zink - USA - Score 94.00
3 - Anthony Messere - CAN - Score 92.80
4 - Greg Watts - USA - Score 87.60
5 - Geoff Gulevich - CAN - Score 84.40
6 - Cam McCaul - USA - Score 84.00
7 - Tyler McCaul - USA - Score 78.60
8 - Kurt Sorge - CAN - Score 76.60
9 - Jamie Goldman - USA - Score 70.80
10 - Darren Berrecloth - CAN - Score 68.20
11 - Andreu Lacondeguy - ESP - Score 67.00
12 - Mike Montgomery - USA - Score 63.20
13 - Sam Dueck - CAN - Score 58.60
14 - Yannick Graneiri - FRA - Score 44.20
15 - Kelly McGarry - NZL - Score 26.00
16 - Sam Pilgrim - GBR - Score 10.60