Red Bull took over the mountain biking community’s past two weekends, as its highly anticipated Gold level FMB events, Red Bull Copenride and Red Bull Roof Ride, took center stage. With some of the world’s top riders – Emil Johansson, Dawid Godziek, Nicholi Rogatkin, Paul Couderc, Erik Fedko – featured on the start lists and world-class courses having been teased for weeks prior, excitement for the events continued to grow as the days drew nearer.
So, how did it all go? Let’s just say that you’ll want to keep reading...
Red Bull Copenride took over Refshaleøen, Copenhagen, an island in Denmark, already one of the world’s flattest countries, for a Slopestyle event on August 13th and 14th. Replicating the mountainous terrain for the first-time event was no small feat, but after several challenges, “the team created an amazing course..., the feedback was very positive, and riders were extremely impressed by the set up,” said event-organizer, Tarek Rasouli.
Rasouli continued that “[athletes] thought to expect a FMB Gold level event course but experienced something that was beyond Gold level standards.” Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate quite as well as the rest of the setup, with heavy winds and rain making for less than favorable riding conditions.
After a minor change in schedule, spectators, 2,000 on Friday and 3,000 on Saturday, outlasted the harsh conditions to be rewarded with impressive Shimano Best Trick contests on Friday and Saturday evening. Rasouli noted that “it was the first time in about 18 months that the athletes performed in front of a bigger crowd, [so] the riders were motivated to show their best tricks and catch a podium spot.”
Tim Bringer introduced two “World’s First” in a mountain bike competition with his flair-drop and flair-whip. Nicholi Rogatkin pulled a 1440 (that’s four full rotations!), the second time ever in a FMB competiton. Dawid Godziek landed a twister no hander, despite the heavy wind. Griffin Paulson showcased an epic double backflip barspin and Diego Caverzasi performed a perfect backflip barspin cliffhanger.
Emil Johansson brought it home with his winning run that featured an opposite 360 tailwhip, alleyoop double barspin, and backflip double tailwhip. However, with the less than favorable conditions, although Johansson was “happy with the outcome of [his] run,” he was more “stoked that no one got seriously injured and [that] most [riders were] able to get what they wanted [out of the competition].”
The results were close between 22 of the world’s top riders.
Regardless of the challenges that almost kept this event from happening, Rasouli saw it through to success, as “the Danish crowd went nuts, the riders were super stoked, and the organization is still buzzing from what [was] created.”
If that wasn’t already enough action for you, Red Bull Roof Ride pulled out all the stops for its event, as it took over the Polish city of Katowice on August 20th and 21st.
A little over a year ago, Szymon and Dawid Godziek found themselves dreaming of creating a Slopestyle course that started at the top of the city’s International Conference Centre. Flash forward to last weekend and the brothers saw their track visualization turned into a reality, as they hosted Poland’s very first FMB Gold level event.
While the conditions were quite windy during Friday’s training and qualification sessions, the skies cleared and the sun shone through for Saturday’s final where 12 of the 28 competitors showcased their skills in front of the judges.
Across the entire event, more than 20,000 spectators showed up to watch some of the world’s best riders compete in what was deemed a legendary Slopestyle course. Many athletes, including Matt Jones, described the first jump after the roof drop to be the biggest ever in Slopestyle competition, as the minimum distance to the landing was 14 metres. Combine that with a rider’s flips and spins, and they were going well over 20 metres...
The podium was dominated by hometown heroes and event hosts, Szymon and Dawid Godziek, with many saying that Dawid “won indisputably, [as he] was the only rider who [pulled out a] tailwhip on [the] big drop.”
Reflecting upon his run, Dawid was “more than happy with [his] result” as he had no expectations of taking the gold; however, what brought him the most joy was being able to share the podium with his brother, Szymon, and “win in front of [his] home audience.”
Following the main event, Nicholi Rogatkin dominated the Best Trick competition with his spectacular twister and left event organizer, Andrzej Lesiewski, “hope[ful] that [the] event inspired kids to start riding so that [the] Polish scene can grow stronger!” Fellow event organizer and podium finisher, Szymon Godziek, also felt “hope[ful] that [they] managed to make fans fall in love with [the] sport,” noting that “every event of [this] kind motivates [him] to work even harder” to progress the sport.
These past two weekends showcased some of the best talent within the international mountain biking community, leaving us wanting more action from the world’s top riders. Luckily, the 2021 FMB World Tour is far from over; with events set for well into November, riders will continue to make their mark, hone their skill, and have some epic rides.