It was all on the line today at Red Bull Rampage – 21 riders had two qualifying runs to try to make the cut to ten to advance to the Final on Sunday. It was the moment of truth to see if the work they’d put into their lines for the previous three days was going to pay off.
There’s really no way to predict just who is going to do well at Red Bull Rampage. The surface of the ridges from top to bottom is unpredictable and inconsistent, the environment can be hell on the bikes, and the wind can always be a factor. Although the head game is usually in play in most sporting events, these freeride pros appear to have those demons under tight control. Regardless, riders who look great in practice may have an unexpected washout or bail in their runs, while someone who’s been struggling all week might pull it all together after they pass through the start gate.
Unfortunately, 11 riders had to fall outside of the top ten today, but they definitely shouldn’t get too bummed about it – just being able to tackle a course like the one at Red Bull Rampage still puts them in the upper echelon of their sport.
Kenny Smith turned in two solid runs but landed just outside the transfer spots in 11th. Behind him were guys like Steve Romaniuk, who came up inches short on a huge gap into the wallride, and Wil White, who made his rookie Red Bull Rampage appearance at just 16 years old.
Hard charger Kelly McGarry recovered from yesterday’s crash on the Oakley Icon Sender to hit it clean today, but came up short on a huge backflip on the 45-footer just after it. Yannick Granieri (pictured above) had nailed the flip in his first run, but couldn’t stay on his wheels for full runs on either attempt. The wind kicked up as Garett Buehler took his place in the start gate and may have been a factor in him coming up short on the landing out of the Icon Sender. He crashed bad enough to wave off his second run.
Local boy Logan Binggeli (hailing from nearby St. George, Utah) fared better on his first run, posting a 74.4 that no one could match. He went big and fast on the top section out of gate #2, hit the Icon Sender and did a no-hander on the 45-footer, finishing clean in the lower section. Alex Prochazka, who’s been turning heads all week, held the top spot before Logan’s run by tearing through the top section out of gate #1, clearing a triple and taking a high-speed turn before dropping into the lower section and throwing in one more quick gap in for good measure.
Chris Van Dine rounded out the top three with a gap on the #1 ridge, the same triple Prochazka did, and a no-handed drop (pictured above). Geoff Gulevich bombed a creative line off the #2 ridge and took a stylish shot through the Icon Sender, looking clean and confident. Fifth went to Tyler McCaul (pictured below), repping for his brother Cam, who had to withdraw from Red Bull Rampage after breaking his femur at the end of July. TMac made him proud, riding fast and solid to earn a ticket to the Final.
Other top-ten highlights include James Doerfling’s psycho speed scrub near the top of ridge #2, Greg Watts’ no-handed drop and flip into the lower section, Andreu Lacondeguy’s clean ride on Bourdo’s 2008 line and his flip over the step-up jump, Jamie Goldman’s fast runs and no-footed can-can drop, and Curtis Robinson’s fast and stylish run down the mountain.
Those who made the cut will join pre-qualified riders Cameron Zink, Cedric Gracia, Darren Berrecloth, Gee Atherton, Graham Agassiz, Kurt Sorge, Kyle Strait, Michal Marosi, Mike Hopkins, Robbie Bourdon and Thomas Vanderham for Sunday’s Final.
Not only can you catch a LIVE webcast of the Final starting at 1 p.m. MST on Sunday right here on the Red Bull Rampage web site, you can also take part in a live online voting system so you can score each of the riders’ runs, giving props to the ones you think are the gnarliest.
Results (Qualifier) – Top Ten Advance to Sunday’s Final
1. Logan Binggeli (USA) 74.4
2. Alex Prochazka (Canada) 72.2
3. Chris Van Dine (USA) 71.0
4. Geoff Gulevich (Canada) 70.0
5. Tyler McCaul (USA) 69.6
6. James Doerfling (Canada) 69.4
7. Greg Watts (USA) 68.4
8. Andreu Lacondeguy (Spain) 65.4
9. Jamie Goldman (USA) 64.0
10. Curtis Robinson (Canada) 63.6
11. Kenny Smith (Canada) 60.4
12. Wil White (USA) 60.2
13. Yannick Granieri (France) 59.8
14. Mike Montgomery (USA) 59.4
15. Steve Romaniuk (Canada) 57.8
16. Kyle Norbraten (Canada) 54.4
17. Andrew Taylor (USA) 52.6
18. Kelly McGarry (New Zealand) 52.2
19. Ryan Berrecloth (Canada) 52.0
20. Jordie Lunn (USA) 48.8
Garett Buehler (Canada) did not complete a full run