If there’s one thing that’s consistent about Red Bull Joyride each year, it’s that it always brings out the best from the riders. It’s the biggest event of the year after all.
The field that will fight it out at Crankworx this year is insane. It’s so strong it could probably break a Nokia 3310. And that means that picking an outright winner is near enough impossible.
That’s why we’ve put together this short guide to just some of the key figures that will be stomping it on Saturday. Any one of these guys could take the win…
Brandon Semenuk is the hometown hero, king of the freestyle world and defending champion when things kick off in Whistler.
The Canadian first tried to qualify for Joyride when he was 14, and although he failed on that attempt, two years later he managed to podium at just 16 years old. This guy is insane.
Semenuk went on to win his first Crankworx title in 2011 and doubled his title count at the event last year. He’s won the entire FMB tour title twice already, and this is his turf.
Why He’ll Win It: He knows what it takes to win it. Brandon will be the first person to ever win three Crankworx titles if he does come out on top, and it’ll be no surprise to anyone if he’s the victor.
The showdown between Brett Rheeder and Brandon Semenuk is one of the main reasons we’ve been losing sleep in excitement for Joyride.
Brett laid down the gauntlet when he won the first ever mountain-bike slopestyle at the X-Games last summer, but an injury shortly after this meant he was unable to build upon the win.
This didn’t prove to be a problem though – after getting back on his bike this season, Brett took back-to-back slopestyle wins at Monster Energy’s City 8 in Quebec and the Colorado Freeride Festival.
Why He’ll Win It: He’s in the in-form man. Brett’s been riding fluently and ferociously, and he’s got a huge shot at the top spot.
In Nicholi Rogatkin you’ve got a man with an endless bag of tricks. His signature ‘cash roll’ is seriously one of the sickest we’ve seen in recent years.
The American rider holds the record for being the youngest person to ever pull a 360 double whip, a 360 backflip or a double backflip – the latter of which he stomped when he was 13.
Rogatkin made his mountain biking freestyle debut last year in Colorado, finishing sixth in his first event. This year, he’s already won 26TRIX in Austria, and plenty of folk fancy him to be at the head of the sport in the future.
Why He’ll Win It: Nicholi goes big everywhere he goes. With the cash roll and an endless amount of crazy tricks in his bag, he’s always got a chance.
British Columbia born Anthony Messere arrived on the scene in 2011 when he hit a crazy hip air and took third place. He was 15 years old.
The Canadian kid would progress to the point where he picked up the win at Crankworx Les 2 Alpes this year, meaning he’ll go into Joyride leading the ranks in the Diamond Series.
He’s got style and loves to show it off, and win or not, he’s great to watch.
Why He’ll Win It: Anthony shreds hard and flies high. He’s shown that he has the fluency and consistency to win on the big stage, and Crankworx Whistler is the biggest of them all.
The great thing about Crankworx Whistler is that it’s the kind of place where names can be made.
Thomas Genon is a walking example of this – he arrived as a relatively unknown Belgian in 2012 and left with the winner’s cheque and a spot on the Red Bull riders team.
He’s also already won four times this year, and came second at Crankworx Les 2 Alpes, so he’s coming into Joyride hot.
Why He’ll Win It: He’s done it before and he loves to shine when the world is watching. There’s a lot of good memories in Whistler for Thomas, and with him riding so sweetly just now, he’s got a good shot at glory again.
Update: English rider Sam Pilgrim and Greg Watts will now miss out this year, and they’ve been replaced in the ranks by Simon Pages and Carson Storch!