Over 25,000 wide-eyed fans were on-hand to witness 19-year-old Thomas Genon of Belgium claim the top step of the podium at Red Bull Joyride, the anchor event of Crankworx Whistler 2012.
In second place was Red Bull athlete Martin Soderstrom of Sweden and in third was American Cam McCaul. With this win, all three athletes earn themselves an automatic invite to come back to compete for the next three years.
Wind was a factor today but the riders chose to battle it out and threw down an impressive array of tricks on multiple lines of the highly trickable, rider-designed course built just for Red Bull Joyride in the Whistler Mountain Bike Park. "This might be my favourite slopestyle course at Crankworx, ever," says third place finisher McCaul. "I love the big jumps, huge drops and technical features."
Thomas Genon, a relatively unknown rider from Belgium, rode extremely clean and strong; executing high-risk tricks including the only backflip onto the Bud Light Cabin the entire night. "I was fixing my music at the top of the run and someone came over to tell me that I won the comp," says Genon, who seemed to still be processing his win at the press conference following the event.
The evolution of slopestyle
"Today we saw an incredible crowd turn out for the Red Bull Joyride," says Darren Kinnaird, Crankworx Whistler General Manager. "There were well over 25,000 people lining the course on the mountain and packed into the plaza making this the largest crowd ever for a sporting event in Whistler. We saw amazing talent and dedication to the sport of slopestyle mountain biking today. To be able to expose these athletes to such a huge live crowd and on top of that, a huge audience tuned into the webcast, is an amazing opportunity that only comes at Crankworx."
Some tough breaks for crowd favourite Brandon Semenuk took him out of contention for a podium at Red Bull Joyride. Martin Söderström knew this would be his night to get back in the driver's seat. "I had so much pressure to be first in the world and with only one event left, the Red Bull Rampage, I am ready to jump on my DH bike and get the title," says Söderström. Although Genon had a super strong run that earned him the win, everyone on the podium agreed if Söderström could have cleanly executed the 360 double tail whip off the cabin, first place and the Red Bull Joyride title would have been in his hands.
Red Bull Joyride Results
First Place: Thomas Genon (Belgium) $25,000
Second Place: Martin Söderström (Sweden)$10,000
Third Place: Cam McCaul (USA) $5,000
Rider Inspired Slopestyle
Fusing elements of slopestyle, dirt jump, and North Shore mountain biking, Red Bull Joyride once again culminated into one gravity-fed, season-defining freeride mountain bike competition. This year’s course delivered more action, more riding, and less braking. With two new major features – a 60-foot gap and a 35-foot drop at the finish of the track - Red Bull Joyride course designer Paddy Kaye and his crew started working on the course in May. They sculpted, manicured, and slaved to shape a course that was the anchor for the ten-day spectacle known as Crankworx Whistler. Paddy relied on feedback from the top six riders from last year to give input on what they would like to see changed in 2012. The consensus was that the speed needed to be controlled a little more.
Red Bull Signature Series
Watch Red Bull Joyride on Saturday, October 6 at 1:30 pm ET/10:30 am PST on NBC. The event airs as part of the “Red Bull Signature Series," the most progressive and innovative wakeboarding, surfing, mountain biking, freestyle motocross and BMX events. For more information, visit www.redbullsignatureseries.com.
Source: Whsitler Bike Park