One Diamond, three Silver, and eight Bronze level events later, we are halfway through the 2022 FMB World Tour Season. Add in the return of the Red Bull Male Rookie of the Year (ROTY) Award, launch of the Red Bull Female ROTY Award, and introduction of Best Trick Award, and you’ve got season brimming with action.
From Emil Johansson becoming a 7x Crankworx Slopestyle gold medalist (that’s in a row btw!) to the women of freeride absolutely stomping the courses (check out Tania Lillak defying the laws of Mother Nature)... A lot has gone down since our last update. Keep reading for a full debrief and get a sneak peek at what’s still to come.
The FMBA Announced Red Bull Male and Female ROTY Awards & Introduced Best Trick Award
In early June, the Freeride Mountain Bike Association (FMBA) announced that the coveted Red Bull Rookie of the Year (ROTY) Award would now up for grabs by both male and female riders. In the same announcement, the FMBA shared how Best Trick Award, the replacement to the previously held Best Line Contest, would provide riders of all levels with the opportunity to showcase their skills across the mountain biking community. This marked the first year that female riders would be able to compete on the Rookie Ranking, and with an opportunity to compete at the next level on the line, riders had a lot to say about what lay ahead.
“It is a huge motivation (because of everything that you get if you win) to improve, to try new stuff, and to push yourself so you can get a chance to be the Rookie of the Year. Healthy competition is always a good time to improve,” said Renata Wiese on the addition of a Red Bull Female ROTY Award. Tim Bringer, 2019 Red Bull ROTY Award winner, echoed Wiese’s thoughts as he reflected on his own win: “Being the 2019 Red Bull Rookie of the Year was a big change in my mountain biking career. Thanks to this opportunity, I’m now able to ride every Crankworx [World Tour] stop, which is the dream for a Slopestyle rider.”
The 2022 National Series Are Seeing Impressive Competition
Three of four National Series – Swiss Dirt Series, Dirt Wars UK, and Freebird Slopestyle Series - are well underway for the 2022 FMB World Tour season (the Australian Slopestyle Tour will be kicking things off in July) and are seeing an impressive turnout of riders and fans alike. The first installment of the Swiss Dirt Series – Zuri Dirt Contest – saw more than 2,000 fans in attendance to watch over 50 riders take to the course and put down their best run for the judges. The FMB Bronze level event, Swiss Dirt King, saw a similar level of stoke only a few weeks later, leaving no doubt that Davos Dirt Jam at the end of July will wrap up the National Series quite nicely.
Dirt Wars UK is a six-part event that has returned with a bang to the FMB World Tour after a two-year hiatus. Evident of how much the freeride scene is growing across the UK, the event has been continuing to evolve since its inception back in 2010 and now features three dirt jump and three slopestyle events. With two events having already come and gone, two more on their way this month, and the final two taking us through August and September, we’re feeling pretty good about what’s still to come. Check out this recap for a preview!
The first stop of the Freebird Slopestyle Series arrived on an unseasonably cold weekend in June, bringing with it strong winds that made competitors make some tough calls. With the more than 20 athletes committing to a difficult mental game and opting for last-minute changes to their runs, it made for quite the show with course officials tracking the wind and strategically timing the starts (and without a single injury across the entire weekend!). It was the first time in a few years that Highland Mountain Bike Park was able to welcome some friendly neighbours from Canada to the competition, making us excited for the remaining two editions of the National Series, who might make an appearance and how the competition will unfold.
Birell BikeFest Brought the Vibes and the Action
If you were on social media the weekend of June 4 (or maybe you were one of the lucky ones attending live and in-person), chances are you saw someone posting about the Birell BikeFest absolutely going off in Slovakia. How they got the vibes so perfectly through the camera, through the phone, and around the world, we don’t know but we’re stoked. As one event organizer put it, “the event this year was pretty amazing and the atmosphere there was just insane!” Here’s a snapshot of the highlights from this FMB Silver level event:
Crankworx Innsbruck Slopestyle Kicked Off the 2022 Crankworx FMBA SWC
The first FMB Diamond level event of the season brought 14 of the world’s best Slopestyle riders to Innsbruck, Austria for the 2022 Crankworx FMBA Slopestyle World Championship (SWC) kick off. Representing the pinnacle of the discipline of Slopestyle, every year the competition sees riders elevate their skills to levels we’ve never seen, and this year was no exception. With the top four final scores all breaking into the 90s, it’s hard to imagine where we even go from here.
That’s likely the same thought Emil Johansson had when he topped off the 2021 season with his sixth Crankworx Slopestyle gold medal in a row and the Triple Crown of Slopestyle... Nevertheless, the Swedish rider found a way to outdo himself yet again by continuing his winning streak with his highest score ever, a 98.0. Erik Fedko and Tim Bringer rounded out the podium with scores of 95.25 and 93.75, respectively, making us all wonder what’s about to go down at the return of Red Bull Joyride after Crankworx Whistler’s two-year hiatus.
What’s Next on the 2022 FMB World Tour Calendar?
Halfway through the 2022 FMB World Tour and we’re only getting started... With more than 25 events still on the schedule and six coming up within July alone, it’s going to be a pretty jam-packed next few months. The first Gold level events of the season – Eurobike Skyline Ride and SilverStar Slopestyle - are set to determine the wildcard spots for Red Bull District Ride and Red Bull Joyride. As well as four Bronze level events will keep riders busy, going from Europe to Australia and back again. Get the full 2022 FMB World Tour schedule.