Red Bull Joyride Slopestyle 2015 – Number 3
Words and Photos by Laurence Crossman-Emms
There is one time every year when the whole mountain cycling world make the pilgrimage to the mecca that is Whistler for the festival of Crankworx. Arguably the most exciting ten days in the MTB calendar, this year’s festivities were to be nothing but incredible. The highlight feature of excitement that goes down here is the Red Bull Joyride, the world’s most anticipated Slopestyle competition of the year. But this year, the number ‘three’ had a distinct significance to the celebrations!
The Third and Final Round
Crankworx Whistler marked, for the first time, the third and final stop of the Crankworx World Series. Kicking off in Rotorua, NZ in March, then on to Les Deux Alpes, France, we closed this year’s worldwide tour where it all started in 2004, which saw Paul Basagoitia take the win of the inaugural event on a borrowed bike!
3’s are out
The days that big 360’s on bikes were innovative are long behind us now. The 3’s are out and the 720’s are in with several riders now packing these in their trick arsenals. It wont be long until the 720 variations make an appearance in Slopestyle events. Brandon Semenuk has already been seen perfecting his spins with a cheeky bearskin thrown in there, 720 double whips anyone?
3cm in 3 minutes
The heavens opened on the actual scheduled day of the event, all was set to go, the course was prime and just after Torquato Testa, the Italian wildcard, dropped in for his first run the rain came pouring in, with what felt like 3cm in 3 minutes. The organisers made the tough decision to postpone the event to the Sunday at 10.30am, just before the Canadian Open DH.
It was said that almost thirty thousand fans came out on the Sunday to watch the action unfold. Many people deep the whole way up and down the course, Slopestyle and MTB events are really starting to draw the fans, even when the viewing online is so good too. Red Bull did a top job of televising the whole event with Cam McCaul and Brad “Shut the Front Door” Ewens fronting the commentating.
The Triple Win
Brett Rheeder came into this event looking to win the Triple Crankworx Crown and take home the mega bucks. So much pressure was riding on him as he stepped up to the ring, so much so the nerves got to him on the first day with a stomach bug. Lucky for him, the rain that postponed the event gave him the day of recovery he needed.
Brandon Semenuk takes the win here in Whistler after a shape-packed run that included a flat drop, double whip and a huge 720 off the final feature. But Brandon didn’t only just win, but he won here in Whistler for the third year running, making him the only athlete in Crankworx history to do so, taking his total Joyride Slopestyle Gold medals up to four.
Third Time Lucky?
Unfortunate for Brett Rheeder, he will never know if the third times the charm with this Slopestyle event, two runs and two crashes saw him miss out on that Triple Crown he was dreaming so much about. But he still walked away with some cash monies with his 16th place, and it was enough to seal him the Crankworx World series overall leader, walking away with $25k.
The Top Three
Semenuk’s first run was nothing but perfect with his purse full of tricks, but he wasn’t out there just plain sailing, the whole podium threw it down. Thomas Genon made a return to the Whistler podium with a run that was equally as impressive as the run that saw him win back in 2012, taking third place. The American cannon ball, Nicholi Rogatkin, that seems to be destroying the completion in all corners of the globe this year, almost took out the local Canadian with a run that packed a 720, cash roll, huge triple whip and a flip bar onto the Red Bull Cabin.
The Three to Come
Crankworx is set to return again next year for another three stop action packed tour starting off in Rotorua once more. But with this growth of the event from its roots of Whistler the word on the street was of the event expanding even further. Maybe we could see another European round or possibly an Asian round. See you next time.