The biggest urban slopestyle event of the year has found a deserving victor. Nicholi Rogatkin (USA, 92.05 score) showed the best run of the day in front of tens-of-thousands of spectators at Red Bull District Ride in Nuremberg. In was an insanely hard fought final, the 21-year-old edged out Emil Johansson (SWE, 91.34) with his second run that included a 1440 on the final jump. However, in the fight for the FMB World Champion Title Johansson’s second place was enough for him be crowned. The podium at Red Bull District Ride was completed by Szymon Godziek (POL, 89.66).
Nine world-class athletes rode through the historic town center of Nuremberg during the final of Red Bull District Ride. A lot was at stake on the day: the course designed by Martin Söderström was not only the setting for the legendary urban Slopestyle event but also the deciding event in the hunt for the FMB World Champion crown. Mehdi Gani (FRA) was the first rider to send the crowd wild and pass the 80-point mark. His time in the hot-seat was short lived though, as German rider Erik Fedko pushed aside the pressure of riding in his first-ever FMB Diamond Event. Cheered on by his home crowd, he put down a strong run that saw him take over first place with a score of 83.34. Fedko’s lead lasted until the defending FMB World Champion dropped in.
After Rogatkin scratched at the 90-point mark with a strong run that was capped off with his signature ‘Twister’, the tens-of-thousands of fans lining the cobblestone streets of Nuremberg had three more riders to look forward to. Diego Caverzasi (ITA) and Szymon ‘Extension Man’ Godziek both showed exceptional style and huge tricks but it was not quite enough to push Rogatkin out of the hot-seat. Then came the time of the FMB Diamond Series leader and true to his style the ‘King of Combos’ made his way down the 700m-long course pulling technically demanding tricks and making them look effortless. The crowd’s roar after the final hit foreshadowed the judges score; 90.23 points and the lead for the young Swede.
The contest was far from over though and rider after rider managed to step up the level. Ryan Nyquist (USA), Jakub Vencl (CZE) and Anthony Messere (CAN) all improved on their scores before Mehdi Gani had the unluckiest incident of the year. Briefly resting on the bridge between the Jeep the Rhythm District and the Tech District, his back tire blew ending his run out of nowhere and leaving him and the crowd scratching their heads. After a short break, the action was back on and the roar of the crowd could only mean one thing: German rider Erik Fedko was about to drop in once again. Fedko managed to step up his run, improved his score and celebrated with the now completely ecstatic crowd.
Diego Caverzasi wasn’t done yet though and, dropping in straight after Fedko, stepped up his run as well and took his position back from the German rider. Szymon Godziek was up next and once he reached the elevator to the final run-in, it became apparent that the crowd was in for a treat. With help from Best Trick rider Bienvenido Aguado Alba (ESP), he taped off his handlebar and stem in the elevator, sped down the 15m-high ramp and showed a picture-perfect version of the Backflip Superman One Handed Seatgrab he premiered at the Best-Trick Contest the day before.
With the two leading riders still at the top, the urban slopestyle event entered the next dimension of excitement. Nicholi Rogatkin conquered the first four districts in demanding fashion before reaching the elevator of the town hall. Stepping out of the fourth story window, the crowd sensed that Rogatkin was about to show something special. True to his ‘go big or go home’ style. Rogatkin dropped in and dropped jaws with an insane 1440 that catapulted him into first place. At the top of the course, Emil Johansson shook his head and couldn’t help but smile. The young Swede gave it his best and threw a whole array of technically demanding combinations but in the end, it wasn’t enough to best Rogatkin.
As a result, Red Bull District Ride saw two winners: Nicholi Rogatkin secured himself the victory at his second showing at the legendary urban Slopestyle event, whereas Emil Johansson celebrated being crowned the youngest FMB World Champion in history in what was only his second year on the FMB World Tour. During the course of the weekend 94,000 spectators watched Red Bull District Ride in the streets of Nuremberg.
It means the world to me to win this event. Red Bull District Ride is like no other. The feeling is incredible. The moments the crowd gave us were unforgettable. Thank you Nuremberg for letting us take over your city this weekend.
I am over the moon. It was an indescribable event, so many spectators! I have dreamed of this weekend at Red Bull District Ride and was really nervous coming in but showed a really good first run. Now I am the FMB World Champion! I have worked towards this for so long and it was always my goal. It feels incredible!
Photos: Red Bull