Since the start of the FMB Diamond Series at Crankworx Rotorua, three athletes have been pushing themselves and one another for the top spot on event podiums. Brett Rheeder has dominated the season but Thomas Genon and Nicholi Rogatkin have kept the pressure on throughout. Athletes can snatch up to 1000pts for a victory at a Diamond contest, so with just one event left on the calendar and less than 300pts between these three FMB heroes, the margin for error at Red Bull Rampage is wafer thin. The desert will separate the Champion from the rest. Genon currently leads the standings but can he defend his top spot? You can watch the riders send their final runs of the season live, exclusively on Red Bull TV and FMBWorldTour.com on October 17th at 10:30am MDT / 6:30pm CEST.
Relative freshman, Nicholi Rogatkin is currently sitting comfortably in third place on the FMB Diamond Series. While the lawndart frontflips remain a prominent feature in his repertoire, the American rider from Boston has developed a wide range of tricks. His diversity recently helped him claim second place behind the infamous Semenuk at Red Bull Joyride during Crankworx Whistler. But Red Bull Rampage is no slopestyle comp, so can he hold his own on a big bike? Well, after a week of viral online videos from Nine Knights there can be no doubt that Rogatkin can handle a double crown too. But can he a pin a line? That will be the question on everyone lips as we head to the desert. Here are a few words from the Boston rider:
How does it feel to be 300 points from the top spot and heading to Red Bull Rampage?
This season has been a blast! Starting in New Zealand all the way up until Whistler it’s been both insane and so fun. Every event has been mind-blowing and the best time ever. Luckily, I’ve had some quality results and am stoked to be in 3rd. But honestly that’s just a bonus to the epic experiences I’ve had this year on my bike!
Tell us about Joyride – you came so close to beating a living legend (Semenuk)!
My first run was my safe run, so I definitely could have stepped it up. The flat tire in my first run put a lot of pressure on me to nail a perfect second run. However, just getting to the bottom with a run that I was stoked on and with the Whistler fans behind me, was a feeling I’ll never forget.
Nine Knights demonstrated you can throw down tricks on a big bike as well – what is in store for Rampage?
Nine Knights was one of the funniest weeks ever, and I was so pumped to be able to put down a cork 7 and the world’s first cashroll on a DH bike. Rampage last year was a life changing experience and this year the nerves will of course be there again, but I’ll know what to expect going into it. A good run at Rampage takes WAY more than a big trick or two, so I’ll be building a gnarly line and pushing my limits throughout!
The Canadian, Brett Rheeder was (and likely still is) the favorite for the FMB title but his domination did not come without consequence. Understandably caving-in to the pressure at Red Bull Joyride, he not only let the Crankworx Triple Crown slip through his fingers but dropped down into second place in the FMB Diamond Series for the first time all season. Saying that, Rheeder doesn’t make the same mistake twice! Known amongst the riders and those-that-know, for his professionalism and commitment, make no mistake that he will be in top form when dropping in at Red Bull Rampage. This is what Rheeder had to say:
No doubt you have been a season favorite. How have you managed the pressure?
As fun as this sport is, the pressure makes it hard to have fun sometimes, but for me I block out as much pressure as possible and go out and ride those contests just like I would at home with my friends.
Thomas Genon moved ahead in rankings after Joyride. Knowing that he can also handle a big bike – does it make you nervous heading to Rampage?
Yes and no. I have worked up the ranks for the past couple years. Started with 4th overall, then 3rd, last year I got 2nd and now this year I’m so close to 1st. It all comes down to Rampage, but if for whatever reason I don’t get that result I’ve been striving for, there’s always next year and I’ll be stoked for Genon as he’s been killing it all year.
Do you feel a lot of pressure before dropping in at Rampage?
I feel like I have the least amount of pressure at Rampage as I haven’t had an outstanding result that I need to keep overachieving. I got 5th last year, so we’ll see if I can one up myself this year.
Thomas Genon is the 2015 FMB Diamond Series leader, ahead of Brett Rheeder by just 20pts. Genon has proven he has the skill to tackle the Red Bull Rampage mountain face so the competition will be fierce. The quiet Belgian tends to sneak under the radar at events, never making a fuss, but never failing to land on the podium. At Red Bull Rampage, Genon is keen to build a fast, technical line, which will seal the deal. Here are a few words from Tommy G:
How has your season been this year?
I am very happy with my season. I had the luck to stay away from injuries and have a lot of good riding and fun all year long.
Did you expect to be going to Red Bull Rampage and leading the Diamond Series ranking?
Well, not really. I took each contest like a new chance to perform without thinking too much about the overall ranking. So it’s cool to be able to fight for the overall at Rampage!
Brett Rheeder is no stranger to a big bike – do you think you can defend the lead at Rampage?
Brett is very good in everything he does. He proved last year he is one of the guys who can score high at Rampage. Last year, I was really disappointed on my line and riding there. So this time I am just gonna try to build a line which fits to my riding and send it!
Make sure to tune in live for the final battle of the FMB Diamond Series exclusively on Red Bull TV and FMBWorldTour.com on October 17th at 10:30am MDT / 6:30pm CEST. For all the behind the scenes stories and a look back at photos and videos from the last nine events, go to RedBull.com/Rampage!
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