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Red Bull Rampage Finals

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Cam Zink comes up aces with a 360 off of the Oakley Icon Sender during the Red Bull Rampage in Virgin, UT.

By: Colin Meagher

It was a wild one at the 2010 edition of the Red Bull Rampage. Yesterday’s practice day saw a sudden thunder cell and an accompanying windstorm play havoc with the venue at the end of the day. Many riders had spent the day sculpting their lines but had next to no opportunity to ride them before the winds forced the crowds off the hill en masse. A similar forecast for today’s Red Bull Rampage Finals had event organizers pushing for riders to get both runs done back to back before the threatening weather moved in.

In the first round, Gee Atherton flashed the upper portion of his qualifying line from 2008, and claimed top honors. Other rides of note were Kyle Strait’s line down the second ridge, including a no hander off the Oakley Icon Sender. The one that got away was Cam Zink’s attempt to 360 the same feature. A slight over rotation saw the Reno native kiss dirt and ring his bell, but a cursory medical examination had Zink cleared for round two.

Round two saw the ridge one riders sending, with the exception of Atherton. Firmly entrenched in the hot seat, Atherton saw little need to risk another run; after all, as he put it, “What else can I do? I nailed my line perfectly. Why ride it again?”

Then the forecasted weather moved in, sending riders on ridges two and three down the hill to avoid potential lightning strikes. A quick rider pow-wow saw a consensus decision to continue with the comp, but to hold a weather delay to minimize wind effects on jumps.

After a lengthy delay, riders again began descending the ridges that have made Virgin, UT, synonymous with progressive free-riding. But all eyes were on the Oakley Icon Sender, waiting to see if Cam Zink could pull off what would undoubtedly be the Rampage winner: sticking the massive 360 step down. Zink flowed down the hill, paused for just a moment at the entry to the sender, then sent it and spun a flawless 360. In his own words, it wasn’t as good as his first attempt, but he stomped the landing on this one, and then held on to the bucking bronco of a landing before riding the lower section of the run clean and claiming the hot seat from Atherton.

With that run, the remaining contestants were on notice that they would need something extraordinary to claim the win. There was talk of Kurt Sorge or Graham Aggasiz back-flipping the canyon gap, but in the unpredictable winds left by the early afternoon thunderstorms, that seemed an unlikely trick for either rider to stick, let alone even attempt. Kyle Strait wasn’t able to better his earlier runs, so he was out. Darren Barrecloth slayed some demons by stomping his ’08 line, including a massive 360 near the bottom of the course, but was likewise unable to take over the lead. With only two riders remaining—Mike Hopkins and Curtis Robinson—it was looking more and more like Zink was going to land the biggest win of his career. Hopkins rode first, but he was forced to eject on the canyon gap, leaving just Robinson with a chance to take things to another lever. However, the Race Face rider simply could not pull it off, and crashed in his second run, thus making Zink not only the winner of the Rampage, but also the winner of the first Freeride Mountain Bike World Tour.

Cedric Gracia giving the low down on his line  to Richie Schley as riders come off the hill for their pre-final meeting.

Cedric Gracia giving the low down on his line to Richie Schley as riders come off the hill for their pre-final meeting.

Pre competition meeting led by H5's Todd Barber: ''We have weather moving in, so we'll be pushing to get both runs in as quickly as possible. There will be no break between rounds.''

Pre competition meeting led by H5's Todd Barber: ''We have weather moving in, so we'll be pushing to get both runs in as quickly as possible. There will be no break between rounds.''

Josh Bender holding court for the press on the conditions that could effect the day's event.

Josh Bender holding court for the press on the conditions that could effect the day's event.

Vegas odds anyone? The betting pool...

Vegas odds anyone? The betting pool...

''It's a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll''-AC/DC. Gee Atherton taking that refrain to heart as he heads up to the top of ridge one.

''It's a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll''-AC/DC. Gee Atherton taking that refrain to heart as he heads up to the top of ridge one.

Tyler McCaul dropping into Ridge One to start off the finals

Tyler McCaul dropping into Ridge One to start off the finals

Alex Pro was oozing style on his line but wasn't quite able to seal the deal, crashing in his first run.

Alex Pro was oozing style on his line but wasn't quite able to seal the deal, crashing in his first run.

Cedric Gracia was hoping for a stronger Finals run, but the gusting winds forced the Oakley rider to play things a bit conservatively. CG's now competed in every Rampage except the first one, making him the grandfather of the bunch.

Cedric Gracia was hoping for a stronger Finals run, but the gusting winds forced the Oakley rider to play things a bit conservatively. CG's now competed in every Rampage except the first one, making him the grandfather of the bunch.

Almost. Kyle Strait's time on the World Cup circuit has done little to diminish his raw talent on two wheels. He not only stomped the ''Sender'', but tricked many of the features with a style that showed just how strong of a rider he is.

Almost. Kyle Strait's time on the World Cup circuit has done little to diminish his raw talent on two wheels. He not only stomped the ''Sender'', but tricked many of the features with a style that showed just how strong of a rider he is.

Geoff Gulevich had two strong runs, but they simply weren't strong enough to take the top spot.

Geoff Gulevich had two strong runs, but they simply weren't strong enough to take the top spot.

Run one saw Darren Barrecloth make few errors, but at this level, failing to stick every landing will cost you. Run two was a clean one for ''the Claw'', but not good enough for the win.

Run one saw Darren Barrecloth make few errors, but at this level, failing to stick every landing will cost you. Run two was a clean one for ''the Claw'', but not good enough for the win.

Enough said....

Enough said....

Tyler McCaul took on the lower section of Gee Atherton's line but washed out on the landing, possibly fracturing his wrist.

Tyler McCaul took on the lower section of Gee Atherton's line but washed out on the landing, possibly fracturing his wrist.

Gusting winds saw Chris Van Dine struggling to maintain control of his bike and crashing out.

Gusting winds saw Chris Van Dine struggling to maintain control of his bike and crashing out.

CVD hitting the ejection button.

CVD hitting the ejection button.

Walking wounded was the call of this Rampage; the dirt here at Virgin may be forgiving, but a gust of wind, a moment's distraction, or a missed landing can wreck your whole event and then some.

Walking wounded was the call of this Rampage; the dirt here at Virgin may be forgiving, but a gust of wind, a moment's distraction, or a missed landing can wreck your whole event and then some.

Hard winds and lightning strikes on nearby Gooseberry Mesa saw riders coming down off the ridge on a weather delay.

Hard winds and lightning strikes on nearby Gooseberry Mesa saw riders coming down off the ridge on a weather delay.

Oakley's Steve Blick wiping down the Oakley Icon Sender before the restart of round two.

Oakley's Steve Blick wiping down the Oakley Icon Sender before the restart of round two.

This trick would have won the 2004 Rampage: Thomas Vanderham going 60 feet across the Canyon Gap with the suicide no-hander.

This trick would have won the 2004 Rampage: Thomas Vanderham going 60 feet across the Canyon Gap with the suicide no-hander.

Cam Zink stomping the biggest 360 step down of his career.

Cam Zink stomping the biggest 360 step down of his career.

''I think I broke my wrist. I've broken it before, so I know what it feels like.'' -Tyler McCaul.

''I think I broke my wrist. I've broken it before, so I know what it feels like.'' -Tyler McCaul.

The Claw slaying demons by sending his 2008 line.

The Claw slaying demons by sending his 2008 line.

Mike Hopkins had potential to take the win until he had to eject off the bike on the Canyon Gap.

Mike Hopkins had potential to take the win until he had to eject off the bike on the Canyon Gap.

Cam Zink with not only the win, but the best trick award as well.

Cam Zink with not only the win, but the best trick award as well.

Zink not only won the Rampage, but also claimed the overall for the inaugural Freeride Mountain Bike World Tour, with Brandon Semenuk in second and the Claw in third.

Zink not only won the Rampage, but also claimed the overall for the inaugural Freeride Mountain Bike World Tour, with Brandon Semenuk in second and the Claw in third.




Final Results:
1st – Cameron Zink
2nd – Gee Atherton
3rd – Darren Berrecloth
4th – Andreu Lacondeguy
5th – Geoff Gulevich
6th – Thomas Vanderham
7th – Robbie Bourdon
8th – Kyle Strait
9th – Logan Binggeli
10th – Kurt Sorge
11 th – Alex Prochazka
12 th – Tyler McCaul
13 th – Graham Agassiz
14 th – Cedric Gracia
15 th – Michal Marosi
16 th – Jamie Goldman
17 th – Greg Watts
DNF – James Doerfling
DNF – Mike Hopkins
DNF – Curtis Robinson
DNF – Chris VanDine




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