Each year RedBull sponsors some of the best mountain biking events in the world, and as each year passes we see the level of riding at these events taken up a notch. This year's Rampage was no exception; at the 2003 event we saw the top riders, the elite of the event go BIG, this year everyone went BIIIIIIGGGG.
Gee Atherton, Ben Reid and Glyn O'Brian had made the trip out to the Utah desert to represent our corner of the globe, and the boys didn't let us down. We've seen Gee huck his stuff plenty of times, and Glyn was a returning Rampager, so we knew these guys could do their thang. We've only seen Ben on the Gap Tour article so although we knew he could drop, we didn't realise he was up to this standard! He happily throws his old Giant ATX off stuff bender was hitting with 12" front and rear not so long ago - this boys gonna go far.
Glyn was on his usual form, spending hours perfecting his takeoffs and landings, shaping the Utah terra firma to perfection before breezing off them. Glyn is too cool right now, but it was Gee who going big and styling things up. Hitting Lance Canfields drop, then hipping into a drop on his immediate right, he then did the big stepdown hip, quickly dropping off to the right to avoid the big hole that ate Ben Reid. All this took split second timing and cat like reactions, but Gee made it look easy - as usual - and subsequently qualified first n both runs, with Glyn in ninth and Ben in eleventh, just inside the 12 man cut.
In the finals Glyn was recovering from a leg injury obtained while trying to help out Ben after his brief dive into "the hole", but he still rode great and finished a fantastic eighth. Ben blew all the spectators away; no-one could believe the stuff he was nailing on his ATX when others were on custom machines made specifically for this event. He impressed everyone on his maiden voyage and finished sixth!
A very unfortunate Gee was pipped at the post after the highest scores in qualifying, Kyle Strait threw down a massive Suicide off the Bender line, the judges giving him a 85.8 to Gee's 83.8 giving the 17 year old the win.
For more info and full results check out redbullrampage.com and read Warner's full report in the magazine soon.