September 5th, 2013 1:45pm
Red Bull Rampage 2012 is in the books and the internet has been going crazy with photos and video clips from the spectacle in the Utah Desert.
For me it was the first time I made the trek to the mother of all freeride events. Armed with a camera and my bike I was not sure what to expect but excited to see what would manifest itself in my lens. A quick 6 six hour drive from the home base of Phoenix is spectacular. It's easy and one of the most scenic drives on the planet. Stopping at one of the planets best mexican food joints in Kanab,UT on the way in, we were ready to kick things off. We reached the site of the event during the last hour of practice on Friday. We rode the 4 miles to the site to have a bit of a scout around and maybe get some photo location ideas. We managed to see the last of two practice runs for the day and was over whelmed by the size of the mountain and the number of huge line choices I would have to try and cover. Unlike most of the other pro photographers out there, I was going to wing it when it came to shooting. The others had been there for several days learning what lines the riders would be hitting and walking the entire mountain to find that perfect spot to capture the magic of the weekend.
With a little scouting we headed back to find a camp ground in the beautiful Utah wilderness. Our luck had us find a grassy knoll near the river that flows from Zion National park and is across the street from the original Rampage site. Under an epic setting of Zion National Park, monster hucks and a blanket of stars we set our sleeping bags down on mother earth and dreamed of sweet rides.
Zion was just up the road from our camp ground.
Saturday was a break in the event as riders refined their lines and hit some practice runs. No spectators were allowed on site this day and we took the chance to ride Gooseberry Mesa for the first time. A great call. Sure I could have spent the day looking for photo opps on site, but like everyone who reads this site. I am a rider and wouldn't pass up a day of riding the semi-famous region. While this report is not about my ridiing adventures, I will share with you that Gooseberry Mesa is a great ride if you're ready for some techcical slick rock riding with EPIC views if your are riding the North Rim and South Rim trails.
Another day under out belt and it was time to shoot the Rampage. With afternoon winds kicking up each day the Organizers made the great decision to run the two single run sessions back to back to give the riders the best chance for bigger and safer runs.
Out in the dry desert and air filled with red dust and way too many specatators on the course, I broke out my camera to see what I could capture. Here is what I got, I hope you enjoy them.
The first run I got to see is Kyle Strait hitting the monster hip booter. Only one to hit it all day. This was huge and my first shot of the day.
This is the jump from the other side into space. What a backdrop.
Brett Rheeder on the attack into the canyon
Nico Vink styling it out on the bottom section.
Pierre Edouard Ferry dropping down the center ridgeline on the top half.
Brandon Semenuk hit the biggest lines but wasn't quite on. Here he is dropping the side of the Oakley booter before..
hitting the hip gap at the bottom.
If big is the name of the game McCaul is in. Successfully hitting the canyon gap on each run helped put Cam into 3rd place and win best trick. Note the moon in the top left.
This is big mountain ridge riding in awesome scenery.
That leads to this drop in by Kyle Strait.
James Doerfliing dropping in. James rode solid all weekend and is one of THE most under rated big mountain riders on the planet.
Wil White was a dark horse invitee. The 18 year old did not dissappoint. He qualified and had a respectable 12th place finish. White's flowing locks and style off the booter were a crowd pleaser.
Using the speed from the Oakley drop, riders were tricking the jumps just below. Here White does a solid superman imitation.
Kona's Antoine Bizet on his way to a second place showing.
Seat buzzing off the booter. The transitions are steep on big hits like this but they need to be.
Brett Rheeder showing how to do a real knack knack..sic
James Doerfling pilots his Knolly in a sea of blue. Doerfling took 6th place overall.
Vink Whipping it out above the crowd.
Rheeder table top off the hip jump against the Virgin Utah valley.
Tyler McCaul dropped the main ridge all the way down. It was one of the bigger lines and one of my personal favorites to watch. Big, fast and flowy, Tyler took home a well earned 5th place.
Sweet gap drop on the end of Tylers run.
Followed by Big Brother Cam - making the final run of the event for being the highest qualifier and Since Cam Zink got hurt on the canyon gap the day before and was unable to ride. McCaul won best trick for his crowd pleasing canyon jump and took 3rd place honors overall.
Kurt Sorge won going away. Kurt set a huge first run score then followed it up by pulling down three back flips during his run. The start gate is in the middle left of the photo.
Perspective - Vanderham dropping in... The transition was moved closer in this year and actually made it difficult to trick.
Dust trailing after a missed landing, Semenuk rode good but left his A game at home. Brandon made the big hits and crashed on two smaller hits near the bottom to end his day.
Brandon still finished one place higher than Martin Soderstrom to win the overall FMB crown.
Coming down probably the gnarliest chute on the hill Ramon Huntzinger goes down with little help from the terrain to stop his fall.
Wish I had a bigger lens. But this close up shows how dangerous it is. Huntizinger came to a stop just about 5 feet from the next drop and walked away shaken but not stirred. This could have been ugly.
Local favorite Logan Binggeli came back after a top ten finish in last years event with an even more impressive third place finish by flipping a feature on the top and the bottom of his run. Logan is the only DH racer in the field but can throw down the big stuff with the best of them. Props Logan.
Thomas Vanderham is like big mountain royalty. Super cool, super talented and earned all his stripes. Thomas with a small (cough coough) drop just below mid run.
The final results from the 2012 Red bull Rampage.
For me it was a great weekend. While I may have gotten off my bike a few times more than I wanted to thanks to tesing some new pedals, every call we made was a home run. From the camping and food, to the company and the weather, it was awesome to see and glad everyone made it home safe. I hope you enjoyed the photos.
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