Belgian rider Thomas Genon took top spot in Saturday’s (Aug. 18) Red Bull Joyride slopestyle contest while hometown favourite Brandon Semenuk was held out of the superfinal.
Genon’s second of two preliminary runs was electrifying — scoring a 90.2 and holding up over the rest of the evening to give him the victory and the $25,000 grand prize.
The 18-year-old grew up watching Crankworx competitions since he was a preteen and was thrilled to win the biggest event there is at Crankworx Whistler.
“What can I say? I’m just so happy to be invited (and now) happy to be first,” said Genon.
His winning run included a front flip near the top of the course, a double tail-whip, plus a backflip on the step-up to the course-ending cabin feature and a 360 off.
Sweden’s Martin Söderström (86.8) finished in second while American rider Cam McCaul (82.8) placed third.
Whistler’s own Semenuk fell early on both of his two runs and did not qualify among the top eight riders advancing to the superfinal. With just one chance remaining on his second run, Semenuk wiped out trying to land a 360 off the course’s second jump and was slow to get up.
After Saturday’s contest, Söderström surpassed Semenuk in the FMB World Tour standings with just one diamond-level event remaining.
Other favourites went out with injuries or were plagued by mechanical problems. Two-time champion and 2011 runner-up Cam Zink over-rotated a backflip over the 60-foot gap jump on his first run and did not return, while another former champ in Greg Watts was among several riders to end up with a flat tire on course and miss the superfinal.
Brett Rheeder (80.6) finished fourth to be the top Canadian. B.C. riders Anthony Messere (79.4) and Casey Groves (78.6) were fifth and sixth.
See Thursday’s (Aug. 23) edition of The Question for a complete wrap of the event and more Crankworx Whistler coverage.