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Illustrations from practice in the desert

Paint Fast: Red Bull Rampage 2022

Words Cy Whitling
Date Oct 20, 2022
Reading time

The evolution, the revolution, the progression, the expression, whatever breathless cliche you want to attach to it, the fact remains that it’s Rampage season here in the desert outside Virgin, Utah. Eighteen riders have spent the last week and a half carving their lines out of the narrow ridges and dusty chutes of this year’s venue.

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Thursday will be the last day of practice and digging, as riders try to connect top to bottom runs before comp time Friday morning

Water

This year, water available for diggers from the top of the course, supplied by a wildly elaborate pump, hose, and tank system. This allowed for more complex and safer builds than ever before.

This course is a return to the 2008-2013 Rampage site, as well as 2021 Formation, and it’s been interesting to see some riders resurrect lines and features from previous events, as others enter the event for the first time with fresh eyes. 

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This venue has seen some historic moments, including Kelly McGarry’s canyon gap backflip. This year the site doesn’t have any wooden features, but the canyon gap has been rebuilt from dirt, and Dylan Stark and Szymon Godzeik have both built lines that incorporate it. 

Szymon has been quickly gaining confidence in the canyon gap since this first hit, and flipped it in practice on Wednesday after tweaking the lip to make it a little steeper. 

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The canyon gap funnels into a drop to trick step up. With the pop Szymon is getting in practice, don’t be surprised to see a double flip happen here. 

In the center of the course, Brandon Semenuk’s line drops straight off the center of the start gate into the gut. 

The physics of this drop don’t make sense – it’s so short, so deep, and so steep. There have been rumblings that he’ll acid drop into this line off the start platform, but we’ll see what happens between now and comp day. It then funnels into a shared catch berm with Andreu Lacondeguy’s line, before tying back into Brandon’s line from the last time Rampage was held here, and then dropping into some shared features with Jaxson Riddle. 

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Semeunuk’s dig team has rebuilt this wild hip/transfer/drop feature from his last time at this site, almost ten years ago.

Brandon not only took his fourth Rampage title last year, but more recently is coming off a win of the 2022 American Rally Association championship last weekend that required him to miss some dig days. But, with his old lines available at this site, and an experienced dig crew, his team has made up for lost time.

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In the center of the course, Rampage veterans Cam Zink and Kyle Strait are resurrecting the old Oakley Icon Sender, as a 68ish foot dirt-to-dirt drop. There are already rumblings of Zink flipping it, which would tentatively be a world record. 

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The last time anyone spun or flipped this drop there was a lot more wood up top.

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Resurrecting the Oakley Icon Sender’s landings has been a family affair for Cam Zink.

Further right, Kurt Sorge and Alex Volokhov are carving out a technical ridge line run that incorporates some relentless flowing jumps with very techy sections. It will be interesting to see how many of these lips they trick come comp day.

Just to their left, Ethan Nell and Tom Van Steenbergen have a technical line with some creative transitions and flowing hips into a huge drop.

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It’s great to see Tom back on the bike after last year’s brutal crash

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DJ Brandt was already tricking this drop high on the course early in practice. 

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Brett Rheeder has been methodically checking off features and tricks on his line looker’s right of the main gut.

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This year the battle for fork crown supremacy is on full display with a solid mix between single and double crowns. 

Brandon Semenuk apparently has two bikes here at Rampage, one with a single crown setup, and another with a dual crown, although so far we’ve only seen him practicing on the single crown.

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Semenuk casually tailwhipped this drop on his third hit.

On Thursday riders will put their finishing touches on their lines and link together hits and tricks; Friday morning is the big dance, and we’ll be here to cover it!

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Comments

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
1 month, 1 week ago
+7 Andrew Major ElBrendo Kos Pete Roggeman Cr4w trumpstinyhands Nick Maffei

I need that battle of the crowns painting!

Amazing job as always Cy! Hats off!

Who is your money on?

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
1 month, 1 week ago
+2 ElBrendo Pete Roggeman

Second on battle of the crowns! Awesome. Monster-gap-monster is killer too.

Can’t wait for more coverage. Love the Paint Fast features.

Reply

Cydwhit
Cy Whitling
1 month, 1 week ago
+1 Cr4w

Thanks! I’m such a Rampage newb that I’m not sure I should be throwing around any predictions, but of all the wildly impossible features here, Semenuk’s start gate drop makes the least sense to me, and everyone I’ve spoken to. But that’s just one move, who knows how the rest of his line will score!

Reply

craw
Cr4w
1 month, 1 week ago
+1 Cy Whitling

How long did each of those take?

Reply

Cydwhit
Cy Whitling
1 month, 1 week ago
+1 Cr4w

They vary but usually between 20 and 40 minutes each!

Reply

kperras
Kenneth Perras
1 month, 1 week ago
+7 Niels van Kampenhout Jerry Willows JVP Cy Whitling Cr4w Pete Roggeman Metacomet

Amazing Rampage report; best one I've seen to date.

Reply

LoamtoHome
Jerry Willows
1 month, 1 week ago
+6 JVP Cy Whitling 4Runner1 Pete Roggeman Metacomet HughJass

agreed....  better to have 1 great article than 20 articles of fluff

Reply

kos
Kos
1 month, 1 week ago
+3 Pete Roggeman JVP Cy Whitling

Great stuff! Third on Battle Of The Crowns.

Gonna have to be an auction or rochambeau.

First, I kick you in the ...........

Reply

JVP
JVP
1 month, 1 week ago
+3 Niels van Kampenhout Cy Whitling Pete Roggeman

This was great!  I never really follow rampage, but totally got into it with this writeup/paintup.

Reply

cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
1 month, 1 week ago
+1 Pete Roggeman

Wait, Cy isn't competing? Given how cool the first race report was, I'm disappointed here.

Reply

Cydwhit
Cy Whitling
1 month ago
+1 Cooper Quinn

Given how many times I’ve crashed at regional enduros, I’m not sure I’m ready for the big stage….yet.

Reply

cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
1 month ago
0

There's always next year.

Reply

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