The Journey to Semenuk’s FMB 2011 World Tour Win

Another Freeride Mountain Bike (FMB) tour first place at Bearclaw’s Invitational secured the overall win for Brendon Semenuk before the final event, the Red Bull District Ride in Nuremberg, Germany, which will be held on the 9th and 10th of September. Below is a summary of the previous few FMB events that have been comprehensively covered by Pinkbike: Red Bull Joyride, Crankworx Colorado and Bearclaw’s Invitational.

Whistler’s Red Bull Joyride course, to many the most eagerly anticipated slopestyle event on the calendar, was built in response to the ideas culminated during consultations between the organisers and the contestants. While it may not have had obstacles as large or plentiful as in previous years, there were still a number of huge jumps and hips, and reducing the size of the drops provided riders with more confidence to go all out on tricks. New boy on the slopestyle scene, 15 year old Anthony Messere, blasted out front flip drops and ridiculous boosts on one of the hips. You can tell from this video that this kid was going somewhere from a young age, but thats still a lot of progression in four years!. 2010 winner Cameron Zink was determined to take it home once again. 

Luck came into play once again at this event, this time in favour of Semenuk. The previous year he under-rotated a flip breaking his collorbone, which ended his slopestyle season. Zink and Messere, both contenders for the top spot, crashed in their final runs. As a result, Semenuk’s highest scoring second run secured $25,000 and the win in front of a home crowd. Zink 2nd, Messere 3rd. Semenuk’s winning run.

Best quote from Red Bull Joyride: "I'm kinda nervous dude there's a lot of people here" (Andreu Lacondeguy)

At Crankworx Colorado Cam McCaul fought his demons (he broke his femur in 2010 at the same event front-flipping a drop) and nailed a front flip no-hander during his final run to take the win. Semenuk finished 2nd and Sam Pilgram took 3rd. Highlights video.

Earlier in the season Darren Berrecloth broke his back doing a frontflip at his house. For many this would be the end of their time on a bike, but for the Claw this only meant an eight week break from riding, and not much longer before a return to competition. Darren is no stranger to quick injury comebacks, having competed at Rampage last year weeks after breaking his hand at Crankworx, but this was obviously way more serious. Video of his comeback. Nothing but a huge level of mental and physical strength, and a massive amount of devotion could have enabled him to compete so soon after a critical injury, as well as manage to plan, build and guinea pig his huge course, which was next in the FMB tour. 

Bearclaws Invitational at Mount Washington was described as “probably one of the most fun courses of the year. [.. and] weird to trick” (Greg Watts - trick machine). A lot of riders made analogies with BMX trails, due to the perfect landings required to carry on through the course. Berrecloth’s track was also very mountainbike orientated with big drops and skinny ladders; not a surprising combination given his BMX and freeride background. 

Cam Zink and Sam Pilgram’s final runs were cut short. Among the highlights was Justin Wyper front flip off the ‘bonor log’, and Aptos local Ryan Howard’s super flowed and stylish runs. Berrecloth was sending smooth twist drops, twist combos and turndowns to finish 3rd, Messere placed 2nd with big tricks on every obstacle, and Semenuk won with an amazing run which included a double tailwhip on one of the finishing jumps. Messere won the highjump out of the final quarter. Freeride Entertainment videoPhoto's from qualifying. 

While the top spot of the FMB tour is taken, the other sports are still up for grabs. Cameron Zink approaches the final event in 2nd, Sam Pilgram in 3rd, and Greg Watts in 4th, although Yannick Granieri and Anthony Messere could still make the overall podium. One thing’s for sure, 2011 has been a huge year for Brendon Semenuk.