Thomas Genon: Kicker Gap, 2013
Thomas Genon was a relatively unknown Belgian dirt jumper who had just surprised almost everyone in the mountain bike world by winning the Red Bull Joyride slopestyle event at Crankworx. And he had done it on a hardtail. So when he dropped in to qualifying day at Rampage on a long-travel bike, most people had no idea really what to expect.
Thomas still surprised me with the absolute amplitude of this one-foot table
I chose to shoot him on one of the larger jumps on the course, knowing that it was something that he could do well, but Thomas still surprised me with the absolute amplitude of this one-foot table. As with most of my favorite shots I really tried to give as much perspective as possible to the shot, filling the left side of the shot with the top part of the course, and a dust trail to show where he’d come from. Thomas missed finals by one spot, but this is still one of my favorite shots from that year.
Darren Berrecloth: Portrait, 2002
In 2002, Darren Berrecloth and I drove to Rampage together, stopping at a BMX comp and Interbike on the way. It was the second Rampage event ever, and the first for both of us.
Claw surprised everyone and ended up taking third that year . . . and changed the way people looked at freeriding in the process
Bearclaw hadn’t been invited to compete, but a sequence of events happened that ended with him riding in the event, even though most people figured he’d have a hard time just making it down the mountain. Claw surprised everyone and ended up taking third that year -- throwing a massive superman-seatgrab mid-run, one of the first tricks at Rampage -- and changed the way people looked at freeriding in the process.
Darren Berrecloth: Wallride, 2008
Six years later, Bearclaw and I still have a great working relationship. After looking at his line and watching him practice, I had a pretty good idea what I wanted to shoot. I had looked at all the drops and other stuff he had lined up, and had settled on this wallride shot.
Most of the riders were going for drops or jumps, but Darren was the only one with something really different in his run
Most of the riders were going for drops or jumps, but Darren was the only one with something really different in his run. I had been playing around with high-speed flash a fair bit, and I used it here to fill in the shadows and help make the shot pop a little more. The sun lit up his dust trail in the background showing where he'd come from, which was an added bonus. This ended up becoming my second-ever Bike magazine cover, and it still really stands out in my mind as one of my favorite Rampage photos.
Cam Zink: Icon Sender Backflip, 2013
Not much that needs to be said about this shot. I chose to shoot wide to really try to show the landscape and also give some perspective to just how big this flip actually was. It was probably the most nervous I've ever been at a Rampage event, but also the most excited after he stomped it.
Cam Zink: Ridge, 2012
My favorite shot from Red Bull Rampage 2012 is this shot of Cam Zink pinning it down the ridge near the top. It took a bit of work to find a way to shoot this as the ridgeline really has very little room for the rider, let alone a photographer.
I ended up shooting this one-handed, clinging to the edge of a rock outcropping with the other hand
I ended up shooting this one-handed, clinging to the edge of a rock outcropping with the other hand. It’s an incredibly exposed spot, and I really like the way this shot shows that, and also the way that Cam is just charging through it. It was shot in bright sunshine with just a little bit of high-speed flash to fill in the shadows; I knew it was a winner the moment I took it. This shot ended up on the cover of Decline Magazine’s Rampage issue that year.
Cedric Gracia: Backflip, 2003
I think this was one of the first backflips that Cedric Gracia ever did, and he did it in his final, winning Rampage run in 2003. I'm not sure I could say it was the highlight of his run, but it definitely helped him out.
It's amazing to see how far the sport has come in ten years -- from this tiny little flip in 2003 to Zink's huge Icon Sender flip in 2013
I was still shooting film when this was shot, and I remember crossing my fingers while shooting it and hoping it turned out the way I wanted it to. This was my first Rampage shooting for Red Bull and I was really hoping for a couple of banger shots, so I was pretty stoked when I got the film back and saw this. It's amazing to see how far the sport has come in ten years -- from this tiny little flip in 2003 to Zink's huge Icon Sender flip in 2013.
Check out more from Ian Hylands on his website.
Looking for more Red Bull Rampage history? Take a look at pro photographer John Gibson's greatest Rampage photos.
Don't miss the next amazing moment at Red Bull Rampage -- watch the live webcast on September 28 at 12:30 p.m. MT and find all the event details and more at redbull.com/rampage.