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© Bartek Wolinski / RBCP
© Bartek Wolinski / RBCP

The Rampage 2017 Debrief

Rampage left us with a lot of stoke for the new generation of freeride (Ethan Nell being the only representative, sadly), but it also left us with a lot of questions. Did Sorge really have the best run? What would have happened if Zink landed the frontflip on his second run? And what if Bizet’s landing had not collapsed days before the contest? We touch upon this and much more below. It’s time for the Rampage 2017 Debrief…

#jesuisbizet (or in our case, #noussommesbizet)

Let’s address the elephant in the room from the get-go. Did Bizet get robbed on his run? We would like to think so. Was it a Rampage winning run? The answer is simple, it wasn’t. Should he have been placed higher? Definitely. (We would have ranked him right behind Tommy G, but we’ll talk about Tommy later).

Bizet dropped into a fairly exposed ridge to start his run, but in order to line up his tricks, he chose a more shielded, easier line down to the valley floor, where he proceeded with back to back backflips, nailed a front flip and then went all in, repeating his double backflip (which earned him a podium spot) and absolutely nailing it. All of this got him the meager score of 81.66.

Visibly disappointed, Bizet made his way back to the top for his second run, but without the huge drop (his landing decided to roll down the mountain 2 days before Rampage, so there wasn’t any time to rebuild it), his chances of improving were slim, which was also very visible when looking at the scores of the other riders (Tom van Steenbergen, for example, dropped in with a huge caveman drop and nailed his frontflip, all while riding a very steezy line, and the judges gave him 0.22 points more than for his first run and Tmac ran into a similar story while nailing a steezy superman can that will be a trick for the ages).

We guess that while Bizet was on his way to the top, he decided that one run was all he was going to do and when it was time for his second run, he just rolled down the hill, while still being all smiles. That just shows how much of an appreciative and all-around stoked rider Bizet is, which is actually the case for a lot of the french riders, like PEF, or those faking to be French, like Tommy G.

In his own words, Bizet summarized it as follows; “Thanks so much to everyone who supported me all these years, and to those who got me the People’s Choice Award! You guys should all get paid, you are by far the best juges! Enjoy what you do is all that really matters: What a great riding day it was!”

Taking home the People’s Choice Award with over 40% of the final votes, at least there was some degree of justice for the Frenchie. While he might not have been the judges’ favorite, it was completely different for the fans.

Crankworx Rotorua is only a few months away, and we heard that Bizet will be spending some time in New Zealand before that, just roadtrippin’ around, biking and surfing to prepare for next season.

Sorge or Zink? Cam or Kurt?

When Cameron Zink dropped in on techy line and hit that massive backflip off of the top flatdrop (the biggest flat drop flip in Rampage history), following it up with another backflip on what was perhaps one of the techiest lines at this year’s Rampage, we witnessed history in the making. With a score in the 90s, Zink took the hot seat and watched rider after rider come down the exposed ridges throwing down tricks that we’d never seen before, but they were all unable to beat Zink’s score.

Rampage 2017 Debrief
Zink sending it big into the backflip. © Christian Pondella / RBCP

That was the case up until Kurt Sorge dropped in. The two-time Rampage winner was one of three riders that were up for a Rampage hattrick – the other two being Brandon Semenuk and Kyle Strait.

It’s probably best if you just watch Sorge’s winning run as well as Zink’s second place before we talk about it.

Sorge sent arguably his biggest line ever, riding down the riders right ridge with a unique double drop, carrying good speed and style all the way down the mountain, with a backflip tuck no hander, a backflip (that looked like his tire exploded on the landing), a suicide no hander and a corked flip to finish off his run. While Zink went down the mountain steep and fast, Sorge rode fast and stylish, with big tricks in his arsenal.

However, with the second run still to go, Zink had plans to take back his hot seat, but exploded on the final feature, landing off-centre in that fine Utah dust following a sketched frontflip. This secured Sorge’s first place as he was the only rider still at the top. Making the most out of his victory lap, he still threw down a couple big drops with steeze

“I am speechless. I can’t believe it. It was a lot of work out here for a couple of weeks, and to make my diggers, everyone back home and the fans proud, is out of this world. All riders were going huge and doing technical tricks off all of the big features – putting together really technical flowy lines,” said Sorge after finishing his victory run.

Rise of the Rookie

While this should have been called Rise of the Rookies, Reed Boggs came up short on the canyon gap in practice, went OTB and aggravtated his shoulder injury, which was the aftermath of his adventure at Red Bull District Ride. Vinnie T meanwhile threw down a decent run, but was never in the position to score a Top 5, especially looking at the competition. This meant that all eyes were on Utah native Ethan Nell, who had previously proven himself about going big at Nico Vink’s Fest Series.

And boy, did he deliver.

While his first run fell flat and lacked a bit of flow, his second run put him straight into Rampage history. As many of the freeride veterans, Nell’s line was exposed, technical and high risk, high reward. Nell rose to the occassion and then some, with a flatspin on his first trickable feature (which was way exposed, just so you know), nailing a backflip clean, putting in a sui no-hander on his lilly pad and finishing it off with another huge flatspin which almost sent him tumbling over, but holding on, securing a third place.

Our Honorable Mentions

While there is always discussion about judging and how the scores are messed up (just look at Bizet), their words are final. We don’t need to agree with them, but the history books will show what the judges deemed to be the best riders. While Semenuk crashed in his first run and almost sketched out in his second, it was still enough for him to get 4th. We’re not sure about that one, as there are a few riders that deserve to be placed higher up, with two of them who should have been at least ahead of Semenuk. As we already discussed Bizet, we’re talking about Tyler McCaul, Tom van Steenbergen, Thomas Genon and Brett Rheeder.

All these riders had huge second runs, while only gaining fractions of points in improvement. All of these riders rode exposed, techy lines and tricked features that other riders shied away from.

Tyler McCaul landed a huge superman can right after landing a huge tricked drop, van Steenbergen Caveman Dropped (or Ninja Dropped) out of the startgate as well as putting a frontglip in his run, while Thomas Genon nailed a huge flip on a very, very exposed ridge, and not to mention Rheeder, who sent a suicide no hander down a huge cliff and nailed his corked 720 on the canyon gap.

Final Ranking

  1. Kurt Sorge 92.66 points
  2. Cam Zink 90.33
  3. Ethan Nell 90.00
  4. Brandon Semenuk 89.66
  5. Brett Rheeder 89.33
  6. Thomas Genon 89.00
  7. Carson Storch 87.66
  8. Kyle Strait 87.33
  9. Tyler McCaul 87.00
  10. Tom van Steenbergen 84.33
  11. Andreu Lacondeguy 83.00
  12. Antoine Bizet 81.66
  13. Darren Berrecloth 81.00
  14. Vincent Tupin 78.00
  15. Pierre Edouard Ferry 76.33
  16. Logan Binggeli 69.66
  17. Bas van Steenbergen 68.66
  18. Ryan Howard 67.66

So there you have it. Another edition of Rampage is in the books. What was your favorite trick? Sound off in the comments below! 

All photos below: © Bartek Wolisnki / Red Bull Content Pool

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