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The 2019 Red Bull Rampage was an emotional event on many levels. The riders came into the event with heavy hearts at the recent passing of one of their own - Jordie Lunn, long-time Rampage stalwart and mountain bike community legend, who recently passed away from a riding accident in Mexico. Jordie’s spirit was never far away, however, as multiple tributes poured out of athletes and attendees alike. Jordie would have been proud to see the progression on display by the athletes, many of whom wore custom patches or sported custom stickers in honor of their fallen friend.
The riding got off to a slow start on Friday due to an hour-long precautionary wind hold but once the riders received the "ok", the fireworks started quickly. Fox athletes Brett Rheeder, Andreu Lacondeguy, and Ethan Nell had the luxury of going last on the first of two runs thanks to their first, second and third place podium sweep in 2018.
When the dust settled, Ethan finished in a solid 7th place with two runs filled with some of the largest drops and biggest whips of the event. He led the contingent of young athletes bringing new blood and pushing progression to the 14th edition of the event.
While Andreu’s scores only netted him a 17th place finish due to crashes in both runs, his rides were some of the most impressive of the day. Massive flips and tricks on nearly every launch had him riding on the ragged edge all day. His legendary skills and strength were the only thing which kept him from flying off course and into certain disaster. The crowds roared in approval as he showed his Catalan spirit from top to bottom with some of the biggest airs of the 2019 event. Always a fan pleaser, Andreu finished second in the people’s choice voting for his amazing performance.
Defending champ Brett Rheeder was riding at a level few thought possible on the terrain of Virgin, Utah. His mix of technical tricks, huge air, and unmatched style once again had him fighting for the top spot of the podium. His first run had some uncharacteristic mistakes on landings which cost him precious points. Heading into the second run he sat in seventh place, needing to clean up his run and find a few more points to get him close to the leaders. He did just that with one of the most impressive runs we’ve ever seen at a Rampage event, and his score of 91 came within 1.2 points of first place. In addition to his silver medal, Brett walked away with the Best Trick award for his massive can-can backflip off one of the biggest drops of the event.
Congrats to all of the riders at this year's Red Bull Rampage, including Fox Mexico’s own Johny Salido who suffered a training crash on Thursday. Despite his pain, he tried to push through for the finals on Friday, but after attempting two practice runs he decided it was best to not risk additional injury. His choice was the correct one as it was later learned he had ruptured his spleen during the previous day's slam. Johny is doing well, is on his way to recovery and no doubt looking to get another shot in 2020.
The 2019 Red Bull Rampage will go down as one of the most competitive in its 14-year history. Riders new and old pushed progression to levels thought unimaginable only a few years ago; now we start the countdown for the 2020 edition next October.