We will never see the like of this again

Can you imagine Gwin or Bruni having a crack at Red Bull Rampage? Back in the early noughties the biggest names in downhill did just that.

>>> The 7 most controversial moments in Red Bull Rampage history

Red Bull Rampage is nearly upon us and we’re unapologetically jumping on the hype bandwagon. Red Bull Rampage is untouchably awesome. There is nothing else like it

Much like with other big sporting events such as the soccer World Cup and the Olympics, even wildly OTT or misguided external commercial factors cannot break Rampage’s spell.

Despite all the controversial things it’s been subjected to, namely several notoriously wrong-headed judging decisions and THAT era when it went all wooden (literally), there is no getting away from the kernel of truth at the heart of Rampage.

And this truth is that the riding at Rampage is completely amazing.

Take for example the video at the top of this page. Dating all the way back to 2003 – that’s fifteen years ago for (back)flip’s sake! – and looking suitably ripped-from-DVD, the riding may not look at unfathomably mind-boggling as the modern era but there’s still no way you’d attempt to ride any of it.

Especially not on bike’s with handlebars that narrow and reach numbers that short!

Anyway, yes, World Cup Downhill stars used to take part in Red Bull Rampage. Some are in this video (although it is really hard to work out who’s who when they’re not subtitled).

Cedric Gracia actually won this 2003 edition of Rampage. This was the era when he would be competing in World Cup Downhill AND World Cup 4X too.

Who else in the world of DH had a bash at Rampage? Gee Atherton, Ben Reid, Myles Rockwell, Steve Peat and even Greg GOAT Minnar.

This was, of course, mainly during the first incarnation of Rampage in 2001 through to 2004. Not as many DH stars returned to Rampage after the event’s three year rest period.

Gee Atherton and Cedric Gracia were still Rampaging in the 2nd era – Gee even made it on to the podium in 2010 – but it was pretty clear, pretty quickly that Rampage was a specialist event post-2008.

The subsequent era of Zink, Sorge, Strait and McGarry was another definite epoque, and one that feels like we’re witnessing the end of currently. We’re now in the era of Bizet, Agassiz, Storch and Semenuk.

Which is the best era of Rampage?

It doesn’t really matter. The fact that the event keeps on morphing yet remaining essentially the same – doing insane stuff on desert cliffs and ridges in Utah – is testament to the greatness of this iconic event.

It’ll be the same this year, but different.