Brage Vestavik performs at Red Bull Hardline in Dinas Mawydd, Wales on July 25, 2021.
© Nathan Hughes/Red Bull Content Pool
Bike

Red Bull Rampage rookie Brage Vestavik is ready to tame the freeride beast

The mountain biker from viking country is heading to the world's biggest freeride event for the first time in the hope of making a big impact in the Utah badlands at Red Bull Rampage.
Written by Hanna Jonsson
5 min readPublished on
Red Bull Rampage is the event that every pro mountain biker wants to ride. Each year a select few freeriders get invited to participate in the big contest that sees athletes carve out a unique line on a treacherous sandstone mountainside in Virgin, Utah, before riding it in full in the big final.
This year, Norwegian freerider Brage Vestavik has been invited to take part. The downhill racer turned freerider wowed the mountain bike scene with his huge edit for the X Games competition in early 2021, sending massive skinnies, drops and lines deep into dark, muddy Norwegian woods. He's now ready to show exactly how big, gnarly and spectacular he can go at Rampage.
Brage Vestavik GT Fury bike check, Red Bull Hardline 2021
Expect big sends from Brage Vestavik and his GT Fury
We caught up with Rampage rookie Vestavik just before he flew out to Utah ahead of the event.

How does it feel to get an invite to Rampage?

It's mad, just mad. I've had it as a dream and goal for so long, but I didn't think it would happen this fast. I did have it at the back of my mind after the success of my X Games video – many people commented about it – but I still didn't expect it.

What has Rampage meant to you growing up and as a rider?

It's always been the radest competition I've known about. I got my first bike when I was like six or seven-years-old and that's also when I started watching mountain bike movies. Red Bull Rampage was always the one event that was part of all the DVDs and it got me so stoked. It looked like the most rough and crazy thing to ride and ever since I started riding I've looked up to Rampage and all the riders.

Brage Vestavik rides the course at Red Bull Hardline in Dinas Mawydd, Wales, United Kingdom on July 21, 2021
Vestavik isn't afraid to go big, as he proved at the 2021 Red Bull Hardline

Have you ever been to Utah?

No, never – and the terrain will be so different to what I'm used to riding. In fact, I think it's basically the opposite to what we have in Norway. Here in Norway we have to try and keep things dry from all the rain and snow, whilst Utah is, well, mega dry. But, honestly, I'm looking at this whole thing as a learning experience – there'll be so many new impressions to take in and learn from that I have to be open to it all. Not have too many expectations.

Who will you have on your dig team?

I've got one of my main diggers from home, Henrik Ulleland, who's helped me loads in the past, with the X Games features for example. I haven't decided on the second digger yet.

Brage Vestavik seen at Red Bull Hardline in Dinas Mawydd, Wales on July 25, 2021.
You'll see all the emotion from Vestavik if he nails a Rampage run

What kind of line would you like to build at Rampage?

I'd like to try and have a pretty natural line, one where I feel quite at home. Something different would be really cool. Probably not so many dirt jumps-style features, but more natural big drops and maybe a technical ridge line. I'd like to stay away from the built jumps basically.

Do you feel any pressure to perform after the success of your X Games edit?

I don't know, I feel like everything is happening so quickly this year. I'm just going to have to take it as it comes. I want to travel to Utah without too much expectation, because it's a win just to have been invited and getting to go to Utah to ride and dig. Of course I'm a little stressed that I should learn more tricks, but then again, I don't think that's why I was invited. Hopefully my riding speaks for itself.

Brage Vestavik performs during Red Bull Valparaiso Cerro Abajo in Valparaiso, Chile on February 10, 2019.
Brage has a wide riding repertoire when it comes to MTB, nothing fazes him

You've raced world cups and you've done some big freeride edits. Do you call yourself a freerider or downhill rider these days?

Right now, I'd say I am more of a freerider, but I don't want to lock myself into a specific genre. I like to change it up and try new things. So much has changed only in the past couple of years. My shift from downhill to freeride came after 2019, when I'd been on a World Cup team for a couple of years, but was left without one ahead of the new season and I felt like it was time for something new.

Also, racing a World Cup season is pretty expensive. I've always been drawn to the creative part of riding and filming – building features and filming stuff on my phone. Racing is really fun, but I would never take back what I've curated by building and filming lines. I've always liked it the most.

Brage Vestavik riding at Red Bull Hardline, Dinas Mawddwy, Wales, September 15, 2018.
We can't wait to see how big Brage goes at Rampage

Do you think your history in downhill riding will help you at Rampage?

I think it will help me ride some of the steeper and more technical lines, just because of the style for riding I have. I still love pining it on my downhill bike. I raced Red Bull Hardline this summer and found it so awesome, so I hope I'll find and build a line that has a bit of both – steep and hard, as well as big drops and features.

What are you most excited about?

To build a brand new line! I think the hardest thing for me is to not dream too big and hold back enough to get everything done in time. I don't want to knacker myself completely just building. I just want a top-to-bottom line and get a chance to test everything before the final.