(Virgin, Utah) – October 13, 2002 – The beautiful and intimidating landscape of Kolob Reservoir in Virgin, Utah served as the breathtaking venue for the second annual Red Bull Rampage, a freestyle mountain bike competition that invited 27 of the world's best riders to demonstrate their highly technical abilities in downhill, dual slalom and overall free-riding. Unlike traditional mountain bike competitions with set courses, the Red Bull Rampage took advantage of the burly terrain and let the riders choose their own lines. Judged similarly to a free skiing competition, difficulty of line selection, control, amplitude, fluidity and style all factored into the overall scores. Canadian Tyler Klausen, 20, had the winning edge and took home the title and a piece of the $10,000 US prize purse.
HOW IT ALL UNFOLDED
With the immense mountains, jagged edges, loose dusty soil, and intense desert sun, just getting in a starting position was a challenge. For two days, riders hiked up and rode down 1500 vertical feet to take practice runs and familiarize themselves with the terrain. On Saturday, October 12, the qualifiers got under way and narrowed the number of competitors from 27 down to 12 for the main event. Placed between two ridges, the qualifier course held numerous options, allowing riders to carve their own paths. World Cup downhill racer Cedric Gracia took on his runs with the same ferocity as he does racing, pulling out a frighteningly fast and amazingly smooth second run, putting him in 1st place at the end of day one.
On Sunday, October 13, twelve riders stood poised to conquer the course designated for the final round of Red Bull Rampage. The terrain featured even more severe vertical and sheer drops than the prior day. Red Bull athlete Shaums March had a mind blowing first run, riding off a 20+ foot drop at the outset and stomping landings at every point. As Lars Tribus said “That run was nasty!”
Thomas Vanderham took a chance by going off a huge drop at the end of his run, unfortunately he didn't quite stick it, but props to him for being the first rider to try it. That drop became the attempted grand finale for more than a few riders following Vanderham's attempt. Fifteen-year-old Kyle Strait followed him off that massive drop and stuck it!
Darren Barrecloth rockstar-ed his runs, pulling a 20+ foot jump off a lip that nobody had tried. Side note here: until 4-5 months ago when he began riding mountain bikes, Darren was purely a BMX man. Barrecloth is sure to been seen in more freestyle mountain biking competitions in the future.
Cedric Gracia killed it on both runs, even pulling a no-hander as he sailed across the canyon gap. He destroyed everything in his path, making it look way too easy.
The most stunning run of the day was from Tyler Klausen who started his run with a 30+ foot launch that he nailed! Nobody got over that run all day & it was just surreal. Tyler told us his secret of staying focused “I kind of think of the steps it takes to do it, maybe think of chicks & it takes your mind off it”. That run earned Klausen 1st place and $3,500 US at the Red Bull Rampage. As judge Jim Conway was heard saying after Tyler Klausen's run “boy, this sport's really coming along”.
Red Bull Rampage was an absolute success with a rare feeling of mutual respect and support between all of the riders. Athletes are already looking forward to next year because, as Robbie Bourdon said, “that was insane”.
2002 Red Bull Rampage
PRIZE PURSE breakdown
1st – Tyler Klausen – $3,500
2nd – Cedric Gracia – $2,200
3rd – Darren Barrecloth – $1,200
4th – Shaums March – $800
5th – Dave Watson – $600
6th – Kyle Strait – $400
7th – Richie Schley – $300
8th – Lance Canfield – $200
9th – Thomas Vanderham – $200
10th – Robbie “Air” Bourdon – $200
11th – Andrew Mills – $200
12th – Chris O'Drisscoll – $200
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