The most insane mountain biking competition on the planet, Red Bull Rampage, crowned a new champion on Friday in Kurt Sorge, a 26-year-old from British Columbia.
The preeminent free-ride mountain biking contest in the world did not disappoint, not even a little bit. Among on the 26 other nut ball riders from around the world hucking themselves off vertical drops and flipping through the air, Sorge managed to outdo them all with a no-handed back flip over the 75-ft canyon gap.
To see just how punishing the famed canyon gap can be, watch Kelly McGarry over shoot the landing during a practice run.
Just to be fair, here’s a video showing how he pulled off a back flip later on. McGarry was the first to launch a back flip over the gap in 2013.
Pushing the sport to its absolute limits, Red Bull Rampage took place as it has beginning in 2001 outside Virgin, Utah. Riders spent days carving out lines out of a formidable landscape. Beginning on a ridge line, riders can peel off at any time to a massive ledge, some choosing a 360 or a kicker for extra points. Then it’s jumping and flying off drops without hesitation, terrain that would otherwise horrify average riders.
Drawing off the crowd, French rider Antoine Bizet pulled off a front flip on the upper section and had what looked like a championship run in the works after he flipped the canyon gap. But then he pushed it too hard and went for a double back flip and biffed the landing sending him flying over backwards and landing hard against the ground.
As with any sport of such consequence, there were a fair number of injuries. More than a few riders took a trip to the hospital. In the most inspiring moment of the event, and likely the biggest crash in Rampage history, Nicholi Rogatkin literally fell off a cliff. He spilled at the top and tumbled over the edge backwards without his bike.
At the bottom, he struck his head so hard it drew blood over his nose and he passed out for a second. A few moments later the 19-year-old from Boston was finishing his run. And not only that, he spanned the canyon gap and did a flip at the end. It was runs like Rogatkin’s that characterized the spirit of Red Bull Rampage, a no-holds barred contest of guts and glory. Did we mention how insane these guys are?
In addition to the overall scores, awards were also give for best trick to Sam Reynolds for his “super-man” over the canyon gap.
To watch all the race action click here.