A world first

Red Bull District Ride finally returned for its fifth instalment on September 1-2 this year. Here’s Nicholi Rogatkins’ winning run…

The World Cup Downhill may be over and most folks’ eyes are on the forthcoming World Champs in Cairns or the insanity of Red Bull Rampage BUT we all needed something bikey to watch at a weekend didn’t we?

Nicholi Rogatkin put it all on the line to snatch exciting Red Bull District Ride win.

The fifth edition of Red Bull District Ride went right down to the wire in Nuremberg with Rogatkin snatching victory in the final moments.

The American, 21, had already won the Best Trick contest on Friday evening and ensured his weekend was an even greater won by overcoming Emil Johansson in a tense battle on the streets.

Johansson was leading after a phenomenal first run in the old town of the German city but the teenage Swede could do nothing about Rogatkin’s second effort, which included a stunning 1440 cork.

Szymon Godziek completed the podium at one of the most prestigious freeride mountain bike events in the world.

red bull district ride

Nicholi Rogatkin of the United States performs during the finals of the Red Bull District Ride 2017 in Nuremberg, Germany on September 2nd, 2017 (Photographer Credit:
Flo Hagena / Red Bull Content Pool)

Rogatkin said: “I was so motivated up top on the roll in, I had to give 100% in the run but my confidence was pretty high dropping in.

“The jump is so big you are just dropping in hoping it is the right speed. You never know what is going to happen but I made it happen when I needed to and I am so thankful for that.

“This sport is progressing at an astronomical rate, all of us are going to keep pushing and who knows where it is going to go.”

What is Red Bull District Ride?

It’s basically the twenty best slopestyle riders in the world doing jaw-dropping stunts off massive ramps in the middle of a city. The 950 year old city of Nuremberg is the venue this weekend.

The course this year sees riders dropping in from the Kaiserburg and then winding their way through cobblestone streets and across twenty ‘trickable features’ on their way to the ‘Hauptmarkt’ where they will end their runs with their biggest tricks. Seven judges decide on the victors.

Full rider list

Emil Johansson, SWE

The young Swede has established himself at the top of the sport phenomenally quickly. At only 18-years old, Emil has already made a name for himself with his highly complex trick combinations with multiple barspins and whips. Following his rookie season, Emil is now leading the FMB Diamond Series and could win the biggest title in slopestyle in what is only his second season.

Nicholi Rogatkin, USA

Half Russian, half American and possessed by the absolute will to win, the phrase ‘Go big or go home’ fits the 22-year-old like a glove. Rogatkin consistently wows the crowds and pushes the sport with world-firsts. After introducing the ‘Twister’ to the world last year, Rogatkin has seemingly defied gravity and upped the ante once again this year by premiering a ‘Cashroll-Tailwhip’ and 1080-X-Up. The defending FMB World Champion will be hell-bent to defend his title in Nuremberg.

Brett Rheeder, CAN

After nursing a knee-injury earlier in the year, Rheeder found back to his old strength this summer. The king of opposite tricks showed everyone what he was made off with his victory at Crankworx Les Gets and underlined his strong form with a battle for the ages against Nicholi Rogatkin at Crankworx Innsbruck. Rheeder is incredibly strong mentally and always a contender for victory.

Thomas Genon, BEL

Thomas Genon is the only Belgian to ever wear the crown of the FMB Diamond Series. Two years have passed since he became the FMB World Champion but the 23-year-old is still hungry. Having fully recovered from a broken ankle earlier in the year, Tommy G is charging full-steam ahead. After ‘only’ coming in third at Red Bull District Ride 2014, he will be highly motivated to take the top-spot on the podium.

Szymon Godziek, POL

‘What the @%&! was that?’, was probably the sentence uttered the most after Szymon Godziek flew high above the crowd on the ‘Hauptmarkt’ with a world-first tsunami-backflip in 2014, securing himself the title in the best-trick category. The Polish rider is always one to watch for crazy tricks and with a third and fourth place at Crankworx Innsbruck and Les Gets this year, he has shown that he has what it takes to be on top.

Ryan Nyquist, USA

Ryan Nyquist has delivered one of the best stories on the slopestyle circuit in recent years. The BMX-legend felt like trying something different three years ago and hopped onto a mountain bike. After adjusting to the new sport for a year, the 38-year-old continued to reach new heights and established himself amongst the top tier of slopestyle riders. Always in good mood, the American is one of the most popular riders amongst his peers. Nyquist likes to dig deep into the bag of BMX tricks he built in his 20-year-long career and continues to creatively combine the two sports.

Tomas Lemoine, FRA

The French Alien-fan Tomas Lemoine is one of the most extroverted riders in the field and has developed into a figurehead of not only style and fashion but also the sport over recent years. After narrowly missing out on the Top 10 at Red Bull District Ride 2014, his career has only known one direction: upward. The 20-year-old has now firmly established himself amongst the elite of slopestyle mountain biking and underlined his status with a third place at Crankworx Innsbruck this year.

Matt Jones, GBR

Matt Jones has had an extremely unlucky year and will be frothing at the mouth to show the world that he has what it takes to win. After injuring himself at Crankworx Rotorua just before the final he came back with guns blazing at Crankworx Les Gets and Innsbruck. However, his signature double backflip has become an evil beast to tame and had the 22-year-old going hard at least once at each contest. Jones will be looking to get back on track at Red Bull District Ride, but is always a competitor to be reckoned with.

Torquato Testa, ITA

Torquato Tests pulled back the curtain a little, when he invited Cam McCaul to his home spot in Italy to start the season for the Red Bull TV production “McCaul Meets”. The 24-year-old had a fantastic start to his competitive year coming second at both FMB Gold and Diamond Events, but has had difficulties to stay consistent on a regular basis. Testa certainly has it in him to get back on the box and will have another chance to do so at Red Bull District Ride to close out the season.

Nico Scholze, GER
Logan Peat, CAN
Anthony Messere, CAN
Mehdi Gani, FRA
Diego Caverzasi, ITA
Simon Pagès, FRA
Reed Boggs, USA
Jakub Vencl, CZE
Lukas Knopf, GER
Erik Fedko, GER
Sam Pilgrim, GBR

Interview with designer of ‘gnarliest urban course of all time’

“An elevator will take athletes to the fourth floor of the city hall”

Red Bull District Ride finally returns for its fifth instalment on September 1-2 this year. Course designer Martin Söderström gives us the lowdown.

>>> Red Bull Hardline 2017 tickets on sale now

Red Bull District Ride in Nuremberg, September 1/2, 2017

Even if you don’t know your Superman-Seatgrabs from your Tsunami-Backflips and Twisters this autumn, Red Bull District Ride will be well worth watching. The biggest event of its type of the year and here’s Martin to explain why this year’s course will be one of the most spectacular and diverse slopestyle events ever.

Already enjoying a legendary status from previous hostings, the unique contest within the city centre of Nuremberg, Germany, will also be the stage for the crowning of the FMB World Champion.

The newly designed course will definitely challenge the abilities of the 20 top athletes at the FMB Diamond Series final. To have a shot at the title, the world’s best slopestylers will have to show their most ridiculous tricks in five districts. No other contest on the FMB World Tour features such variety in an urban setting.

A drop feature from the Kaiserburg, the city’s castle and landmark – logrides, wallrides and dirt jumps at historic locations will deliver a healthy dose of adrenaline and atmosphere in the more than 950-year-old city.

The bonkers highlight will come at the end: an elevator will take athletes to the fourth floor of the city hall where athletes will look out onto the ultimate Big Air District, where up to 20,000 smartphone-wielding spectators will be eagerly awaiting a spectacular finish/crash to the riders’ runs.

All the action from the FMB Diamond Series is broadcast LIVE on www.redbull.tv.

red bull district ride

Martin Söderström (blue beanie) seen during the location check of the Red Bull District ride in Nuremberg, Germany. (PIc: Red Bull Content Pool)

Martin, your name is tied to the history of this event. What makes Red Bull District different?

Martin Söderström: “Red Bull District Ride has always been my favourite event. Since most of our other events on the FMB World Tour are located on top of a mountain, it’s a very special feeling to stand in the start gate and look over the beautiful city of Nuremberg. That gets you in a good mood straight away and then you have the cheering crowd right next to you the whole way down the course. All of this will put a smile on your face even if you are scared of the big tricks you are going to perform.”

What is your favourite memory of riding through Nuremberg, when you look back?

MS: “When I look back at my whole career I would say that one of the most surreal experiences that I have ever had is from the last jump during the Red Bull District Ride event. I was standing on top of the 10-meter-high roll-in that was built on the big square in the city centre of Nuremberg, the adrenaline was still pumping from the tricks I had performed earlier in my run. As I dropped in, I realized that it was impossible to even recognize the square, because every inch of it was fully packed with 20,000 spectators. The feeling I had during that last trick is one I will never forget and I am very jealous of the riders that will experience that feeling again this September in Nuremberg.”

What was your motivation to become part of this mega event again?

MS: “I never managed to win the event as a rider, I just finished 2nd. So, now I at least get the chance to build the best course in District Ride history (laughs).”

red bull district ride

“And then they get in the elevator, right…” (Pic: Red Bull Content Pool)

You designed the course together with Drew Bezanson and the Mellow Park Crew. What will be new this year?

MS: “I am very happy with the crew that we have put together. Drew is an unbelievably creative BMX rider. I am sure he will add an interesting twist and some surprises to the Park District. I on the other hand hope to use my 10 years of experience in the slopestyle sport to create something that will take the riding to a new level. The thing I am most excited about on this year’s course is the new double drop in the Big Air District. If you send a backflip on the first jump, then you will see the huge crowd upside down for the first time. That is going to be awesome!”

A lot of FMB World Tour Events are set in the mountains. How do athletes have to adjust to compete in an urban setting?

MS: “I would say that the most amazing part of the event is to have the crowds so close to the course, but that is also one of the hardest things for the riders. When you are performing tricks on this level your focus has to be 110% on yourself and your own riding. Whether you can stay within your own contest bubble or not is more often than not the difference between a great result and a big crash.”

What is the biggest challenge for the athletes in the five districts?

MS: “I would say just that, the five districts. Usually on the FMB World Tour we have around 5-10 different jump features. On the Red Bull District Ride course we have 15-20, spread over all five districts. That doubles the risk to make a mistake on your way down and to lose a lot of points. I would say that the most consistent rider is the one that we are going to have on top of the podium and not the one with the biggest tricks.”

Which district would Martin Söderström love to shred in September and which tricks would he send?

MS: “I have always been a big fan of the technical riding. The fourth district will have many obstacles in a small area. This is a part of the course where you can either gain tons of points, if you have my riding style, or lose tons of points if you haven’t practiced your technical skills. I would probably do quite alright for myself in that district, but on the bigger hits on the rest of the course we are going to witness tricks that I wouldn’t even dream of!”

Who do you think will be contending for the title this year?

MS: “As I mentioned before the most consistent riders are going to do good on this course. To become consistent, you need many years of experience and practice so I would say that we are going to see many of the more established riders at the top. My guess would be: 1st Brett Rheeder (CAN), 2nd Max Fredriksson (SWE), 3rd Thomas Genon (BEL).”