Here we go again. The FMB World Tour is back and getting things rolling on the 2022 season. With 24 events (and many more in the works!) confirmed to be coming down the pipeline, the 2022 FMB World Tour is set to deliver a season not experienced since pre-pandemic. From the return of Red Bull District Ride to a new stop being added to the Crankworx FMB Slopestyle World Championship (SWC) to the homecoming of esteemed FMB Gold level events like O Marisquino and Big White Invitational, the calendar is filling up fast.
With the 2022 FMB World Tour kicking off in less than two weeks, the Freeride Mountain Bike Association (FMBA) is stoked to share what riders can expect from the season ahead. So, what exactly is on offer this year?
The 2022 FMB World Tour will see five FMB Diamond level events in the same calendar year for the first time since 2017. As well as the SWC will feature four events for the first time in three years. Yup, it’s been that long... As to where the new tour stop is though, Crankworx hasn’t spilled the beans just yet. Expect an announcement in the coming weeks!
Riders can also get pumped for the return of many beloved FMB Gold level events, as well as the introduction of an entirely new event in Canada with SilverStar Slopestyle. Remember that epic Slopestyle course that Brett Rheeder and Matt MacDuff debuted during Crankworx BC last year? A course like that can’t just sit around...
The 2022 FMB World Tour is also on track to host three National Series in support of regional freeride mountain bike events creating their own ranking – Australian Slopestyle Tour, Freebird Slopestyle Series, and Swiss Dirt Series.
Above all else, the mountain biking community can expect to witness one of the most progressive seasons yet. With sanctioned Women’s Divisions already scheduled at 13, and counting, FMB Bronze and Silver level events, 2022 is history in the making.
2017 was the last time that FMB Diamond level events were so plentiful, and athletes are already chomping at the bit to earn their place on those coveted rosters. “My dream is to be back in Nurnberg again for Red Bull District Ride – such an iconic event that you won't [want to] miss – but also a new Crankworx stop sounds very interesting!” said Diego Caverzasi on the upcoming season. “We all are aiming for the Diamond events and that’s where I want to be,” echoed Mike Ross. “I’m nervous and excited! My goal for the season is to aim as high as I can and work as hard as I can to achieve them.”
With the return of Red Bull District Ride and the Crankworx FMB SWC announcing the addition of a fourth stop, the 2022 FMB World Tour calendar is shaping up to be an exciting one. Szymon Godziek is one of the numerous riders impatiently awaiting the homecoming of Crankworx Whistler. “I have some unfinished business in Slopestyle there,” the Polish rider said on his goal of competing at the event in 2022. “I feel super motivated for the 2022 season. After my last year in 2018, lots of things happened and the progression of the sport went up so quick. I see riders like Emil [Johansson] doing tricks that I was always dreaming of [and it] gives me even more motivation. Unfortunately, my 2021 plan didn't go exactly as I wanted, and I haven't got back into Crankworx yet. That's my main goal for this year.”
The 2022 FMB World Tour calendar will also see the return of esteemed FMB Gold level events O Marisquino and Big White Invitational after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. “This blank space of two years has served us all to reflect on the future of O Marisquino and see how we want to approach it for the next editions,” said Pablo Moreno, O Marisquino Dirt Jump Director. On what riders and fans can expect from the event this year, Moreno shared: “This 2022 it seems that we have returned to pre-pandemic normality, so we hope to see thousands of people from the public cheering on the riders, a great atmosphere, and the best Dirt Jumps we have seen so far in Vigo. This year the riders are going to find a circuit similar to the 2019 edition, but a little faster and with bigger jumps. We have decided to extend the receptions and improve the speed so that they arrive more comfortably at the jumps and can comfortably demonstrate their best tricks.”
With these, the new SilverStar Slopestyle competition in Canada, and two more highly anticipated FMB Gold level events on the calendar (stay tuned for more details!), the upcoming season is set to include nearly triple the amount of FMB Gold level events that were on the 2021 schedule. Based on what’s coming down the pipeline, it is expected that six FMB Silver level events and 16 FMB Bronze level events will round out the 2022 FMB World Tour calendar, increasing the total number of events by more than 50% in comparison to last year.
Of the upcoming FMB Bronze and Silver level events, nine will fall under one of three National Series competitions taking place – Australian Slopestyle Tour, Freebird Slopestyle Series, Swiss Dirt Series. While Freebird Slopestyle Series and Swiss Dirt Series are returning to the calendar, the Australian Slopestyle Tour will be making its debut this 2022 season. With three FMB Bronze level events – Xup Freeride Festival, Big Air Bike Park Slopestyle, and Kooralbyn Mountain Bike Festival - all featuring both a Men’s and Women’s Category, the newest National Series is set to confidently enter 2022.
Despite fewer contests taking place around the world last year, riders’ progression was still on point, and many are ready to get back to competition. Take it from Renata Wiese who shared that her “overall goal is to win the Freebird Slopestyle Series.” Adding that she hopes to “learn as much as [she] can, unlock more tricks, make new friends around the world, and of course, go to as many dirt parks as possible,” it’s clear that riders are eagerly awaiting the March 26th season start date.
Many are also keen to see what their fellow riders have in store for the upcoming season. “I think 2022 is going to be one of the most progressive years ever seen, with opportunities opening up for both up and comers and established riders, it's going to be mind-blowing and I’m excited to be a part of it,” said Mike Ross. Event Organizer for Züri Dirt Contest, Dominik Bosshard, further commented on the development and growth that he has witnessed from athletes over the years: “Some of the athletes, like Lucas Huppert, have been competing at [Züri Dirt Contest] since 2015. It's very nice to see how the athletes improve from year to year. Even if you look at the results over the years, it is very exciting to see that they are constantly higher up in the rankings.”
Kicking off the 2022 FMB World Tour in less than two weeks is Australia’s Highline Mountain Bike Festival. “With only a few to go until the festival kicks off, the pressure and excitement is building!” said Event Manager, Shannon Rademaker. “Our Mini and Pro Slopestyle courses are prime and ready for competition; we have done plenty of test tune sessions to ensure the best quality riding experience. [The] goal for this event is to showcase the quality of Australian male and female riders across the Slopestyle categories on offer.”
This is the first year that the event is sanctioned as a FMB Silver level event. Combined with 25 new amateur Slopestyle riders competing for the first time and the addition of a Women’s category, Highline Mountain Bike Festival is boldly entering the 2022 season. Mike Ross is one of the many athletes ready for its return to the Land Down Under. “Highline Mountain Bike Festival is definitely the event I’m most excited for. It’s kicking off the season and it's a great event to showcase the Australian Slopestyle scene we have down here. Bring it on!”
A recent addition to the FMB World Tour, that will be coming into effect this year, is the FMB World Tour Women’s Division, which gives FMB Bronze and Silver level events the option to host a sanctioned Women’s Category.
Competing in her first Slopestyle event back in 2016, Kathi Kuypers reflected on how opportunities haven’t always been readily available for Women in freeride: “I couldn’t focus on developing my skills on the Slopestyle bike because my sponsors didn’t see a market, so I rode all the other disciplines like Enduro, a little bit of Downhill, [did] loads of magazine story productions, and so on. But I never gave up and continued progressing.” Now in 2022, “brands are hiring [Women], especially for freeride events and content, and [with] the FMB World Tour Women’s Division, there will be even more attention on [Women in freeride] and their accomplishments.” Kuypers added simply: “This is all I’ve ever wanted.”
On how this will transform the competitive landscape of mountain biking in 2022 and beyond, Dominik Bosshard sees nothing but positive change. “It will definitely broaden the horizons of all of us. New brands will emerge, new sponsors, new opportunities will arise, and a new image will be cast on the sport. Women like Kathi Kuypers ride FMB World Tour events and have been fighting for this moment for over 10 years. I am very pleased to see that this effort is now paying off.” Similarly, Renata Wiese is thrilled with the recent addition: “I love it!! I feel like it is going to be awesome to see what the girls can do! I like what the FMBA is doing by adding a Women's Division and giving us the chance to compete equally.”
Most of all, it seems as though the riding community is ready to once again experience the feeling of comradery that is so deeply rooted in mountain biking culture. On track to visit 12 different countries across three continents, the 2022 FMB World Tour is more than a circuit of mountain bike competitions. “The pure love for the sport and to watch the progression of riding from all levels, professional to beginners,” said Mike Ross on what unites such a widespread, diverse community. Diego Caverzasi echoed these thoughts as he shared that “biking is fun and it’s the same all over the world, no matter where you [are] from or where you live.”
Chilean rider, Renata Wiese, further highlighted the excitement that comes from “bik[ing] around the world, going to new spots, meeting new people who love to ride and will show you some local trails, and [visiting] some local food or skate parks.” Although Dominik Bosshard may have captured the feeling best as “the shared love of the sport, nature, travelling, pushing the limits, and have a really good time,” seems to be what drives home the sense of community.
And at the end of the day, that’s really what it’s all about.