The 11th edition of Red Bull Rampage went off! Returning to the event's roots of raw terrain, the 2016 edition took place on an all-new, steeper-than-ever venue, with 100 percent natural terrain and no wooden features.
When the dust settled, the following five riders stood atop the rest.
Brandon Semenuk — First place (video at top)
The master returns. When a 17-year-old Brandon Semenuk won Rampage in 2008, the mountain bike world knew someone special had arrived on the scene. Eight years later and the Whistler wunderkind has transformed into a man, and transformed a sport with unmatched progression. Semenuk is a savant when it comes to bike control and it was the little details that made his run rise above.
Look for the moments between the backflips and the nose bonks — Semenuk scrubs speed like a downhiller and accelerates like a hurricane. Where others wash out, he is on rails. Where others falter to clear a jump, Semenuk effortlessly tricks. He is one of the most capable riders of all time — proved again today by becoming the third two-time Rampage winner in the history of the event.
Antoine Bizet — Second place
The fun-loving Frenchman came so close to landing what could have been the highest-scoring Rampage run of all time in 2015. This year, Bizet returned with a vengeance, landing Rampage's first-ever double backflip and riding with strength. He controls the bike like it's in a video game and does so at speed. The crowd was behind him all the way with big cheers — and the smile on his face when he nabbed second place (for the second time, doing it first in 2012) was even bigger.
Carson Storch - Third place
The future is bright for Carson Storch. In only his second Rampage, the Bend, Oregon, local showed up ready to do battle — with the mountain. Choosing the far left, ultra-exposed ridge alongside only three other riders, Storch showed glimpses of Semenuk in his smoothness and creativity, and shades of Zink in the perfectly executed 360 mega-drop he nailed. If today’s performance hints at anything, it might just be that the future of freeride has arrived.
Kurt Sorge — Fourth place
Two-time Rampage champion Kurt Sorge rode like he was literally on fire — ultra fast. In 2012 and 2015, the same approach took him to the top of the podium, but this year his run didn't stack up to the big tricks of his fellow competitors. If there’s one quality that the webcast viewers may not know about Rampage it's the consequences that come in the Virgin, Utah, desert. Sorge knows, and still throws down like a consummate freeride pro. It’s why he’s won twice. And it’s why he finished top four today.
Kyle Strait — Fifth place
The first two-time champion (2004 & 2013) and the only active rider to compete in every Rampage since 2001, Kyle Strait took a cue from his best buddy Cam Zink and backflipped a sizeable drop in his first of two runs in the final. On his second run he was able to add his trademark suicide no-hander off a 50-foot drop, but unfortunately landed deep on the next backflip drop and headed into the next jump off-line, forcing him to step off the bike. Riding with the fast, powerful style he’s known for, Strait proved why he's one of the greats.
Check out the complete Rampage 2016 results here.