TOM VAN STEENBERGEN WINS BEST TRICK AWARD AT 2021 RED BULL RAMPAGE
25-Year-Old Freeride Icon Also Suffers Multiple Fractures in Crash; Monster Energy’s Cam Zink Earns Toughness Award and Claims Fourth Place in Rampage Event
PRESS RELEASE FROM MONSTER ENERGY
VIRGIN, Utah – October 2021 – Triumph and disaster so close together! Monster Energy congratulates Tom Van Steenbergen on taking first place in Best Trick at the 2021 Red Bull Rampage mountain bike competition this weekend. In the invite-only event near Zion National Park, Utah, the 25-year-old from Vernon, Canada, stomped the gnarliest trick of the entire event but suffered multiple fractures on his next steep jump.
Tom Van Steenbergen earned the Best Trick award for this front flip at the start of his run. Unfortunately, he was so stoked on nailing the front flip so perfectly that he lost focus a few seconds later while doing a backflip and ended up in the hospital. Photo by Fraser Britton.
Also bringing home a coveted trophy at Rampage, 35-year-old Monster Energy athlete Cam Zink took home the Toughness Award for enduring a heavy crash heading into the event. He visited the hospital the day before finals to get a CT scan, was cleared to ride, and still put together a great performance. The multiple world-record-setting athlete from Reno, Nevada, also finished the main Rampage freeride competition in a strong fourth-place position with 86.33 points.
Cam Zink, on his way to fourth place and the year’s Toughness Award. Photo by Fraser Britton.
Rampage is the premier big-mountain freeride event in mountain biking. Every year since 2001, the contest features the world’s best athletes on challenging tracks built by the riders themselves with support from a dig team. After the 2020 edition was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the showcase returned in October to celebrate its 20th anniversary.
For the 2021 edition of Rampage, 15 invited riders unleashed their biggest stunts upon the rugged desert landscape of Utah’s Zion National Park. Judges were looking for difficulty of line, air amplitude, control and fluidity, tricks, and style. No stranger to all these ingredients, Monster Energy’s Van Steenbergen returned to Rampage looking to improve on his bronze medal from 2019.
When the competition kicked into high gear, Van Steenbergen found the perfect spot to drop a major trick: A massive drop off a cliff into a steep incline below as the landing. When the freeride icon proceeded to drop a flawless frontflip into the deep chasm on his first run, there was no doubt about taking home the Rampage 2021 Best Trick trophy. Done deal!
Unfortunately, disaster struck soon after when the freeride icon hit the next step-down jump on the desert track. A mistaken landing on a backflip sent Van Steenbergen crashing over the handlebars. After on-site medical staff provided immediate assistance, doctors at a local hospital diagnosed several fractures.
Van Steenbergen commented that with the “adrenaline of landing the front flip on the first try he lost a momentary focus and overcooked the backflip” that he had hit several times leading into the event.
Steenbergen pulled numerous backflips in practice before “overcooking” the one he did in the finals. Photo by Fraser Britton.
“I’ve broken my left and right hip sockets into multiple pieces, a piece off the top of my femur, and a piece of my lower vertebrae. Unfortunately, I separated the same shoulder I just healed as well,” said Van Steenbergen in an update to followers on social media, adding: “Feeling extremely lucky to be able to make a full recovery after that horrible slam. Going in for a long surgery tomorrow. I’ll keep you guys posted.”
Ethan Nell drops down a steep section that would keep most riders from even thinking about entering the event. Photo by Fraser Britton.
The second highly coveted trophy of the weekend went to Monster Energy rider Cam Zink. The 35-year-old freeride mountain bike icon suffered a heavy crash heading into the final competition on Friday, and still put on a strong performance, earning him the Toughness Award at Rampage 2021.
When all was said and done, Zink also finished this year’s Rampage event in fourth place after the two-run final with 86.33 points, behind Brandon Semenuk in first place with 89 points.
“Making it to the start line with a bruised lung seems almost conducive to this indescribable event,” said Zink. “Getting to the start line involves so much building, dreaming, and guinea pigging, that even dropping in on game day is anything but guaranteed. The struggles we have faced over the years don’t make it any easier, but I always try to remember how gratifying pushing through the pain is, and even though I ended up 4th today after some mistakes in my runs, I know I had the win in me and I’m elated to be hugging my family at the bottom of the mountain, happy and healthy.”