Gallery: Red Bull Rampage Enters a New Evolutionary Stage—Without the Carnage

The Progression Bar Was Raised Yet Again, With Minimal Human Damage

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Photos by Anthony Smith and Morgan Meredith
Words by Brice Minnigh

By now you’ve probably seen the live feed of the 2012 Red Bull Rampage. And the @bikemag Instagrams might have given away the results before you finished that feed. But you should look at these photos anyway. And you might want to read the captions, too.

We hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoyed the 2012 Red Bull Rampage.


Despite a horrific practice-session crash—one that left spectators amazed that he could walk away from—Cam Zink showed up on Sunday morning and rode part of his line to see if he could tolerate the pain. The fact that Zink decided not to compete in the finals is a testament to just how severe the pain in his heel was.


The sheer consequence of Brandon Semenuk’s uber-steep line from the top—combined with his unique hip step-down—made him the man to beat in this year’s Rampage. But unfortunate mistakes toward the bottom of both his runs ended his dreams of a second Rampage victory.


The Coastal Crew’s own Kyle Norbraten auditions for the ‘Cliff Crew’ on the incredibly precarious north-facing ridge. However, despite landing back-to-back 360s off these ridiculously steep drops, Norbraten didn’t manage to find a spot on the podium.


San Diego’s Wil White has been very outspoken against the presence of wooden features on big-mountain courses, yet he ended up hitting a number of them on the run that earned him twelfth overall. Ironically, he pulled off one of the most stylish drops off the Oakley Sender, in the face of a mounting wind.


Tyler McCaul was riding fast and free, and an effortless stretch no-hander tied together the middle of his run down another narrow, exposed spine. The fearless riding on both of his runs earned him fifth overall. But more importantly—and as he had tweeted the night before the finals—they were the rides of his life.


Older brother Cam McCaul puts an exclamation point on the long traverse above the now-infamous canyon gap (see next photo for further illustration).


An eternal crowd-pleaser, Cam McCaul once again proves that hundreds of people look up to him—on this and every day.


All eyes on ‘Lyle’—but on his second time off this drop, former Rampage winner Kyle Strait had his eyes firmly squared on the narrow runout, which he spent two days shoveling in by himself. “Fuck you nature,” he said to himself as he muscled his way through shale and scrub to get to the next feature. Just kidding. Kinda.


Brandon Semenuk’s step-down hip was probably the most anticipated feature of the 2012 Rampage. Yet even though he made this move look easy, an over-rotation on a backflip toward the end of his run ended up souring his hopes for the win.


At this year’s Rampage, it wasn’t just the competitors who were letting it all hang out….


‘Who’s Watching Lyle…?’ Even the Salt Lake City air traffic control had eyes on Captain Strait.


If it doesn’t look like Antoine Bizet was going to land this, that’s because no one who was watching thought he would, either. This backflip-riddled run took this Rampage rookie to a second-place finish.


For those mountain bikers who think big-mountain riding in remote, unforgiving places is about as rad as it gets, James Doerfling’s exploits are at the forefront of their imaginations. But, before this Rampage, Doerfling was unproven as a big-mountain competitor. His sixth-place finish should put any questions to rest.


Though Sweden’s Martin Söderström only finished fifteenth overall—due to small crashes on each of his two runs—the inimitable style you see in this photograph earned him second place in the Freeride Mountain Bike World Tour.


Flip to flat? Why wouldn’t you? Especially if you’re the only downhill World Cup racer who ends up on the Rampage podium….


Kyle Norbraten’s second 360 was the exact opposite of his first—and it was so unexpected that it even took Rampage organizer Todd Barber’s head for a spin.


For the record, every member of the Bike magazine staff wishes they knew how to make riding a bike look this goddamned good…maybe we could organize a foreign exchange program with Andreu Lacondeguy (and his older brother Luis).


If your reaction to this photo is ‘Oh shit, he’s going to crash,” then you’ll understand why his successful landing won him Best Trick of the competition.


Rampage winner Kurt Sorge is definitely stoked—and all of the riders and builders of the contest will be, too. That’s because of the ‘Ten Percent Rule,’ which dictates that ten percent of Sorge’s winnings from this day will go behind the bar in a salute to all of the people who made this perfect day possible.


You can say whatever you want about Kurt Sorge—but he’s the one who’s spraying the champagne.

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