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Recap: Red Bull Pump Track Worlds

October 15, 2018 by · Comments Off 

David Graf of Switzerland wins the  first-ever Pump Track World Championships

By Brian Strieby

In action sports Red Bull is known for putting on some very innovative events, so last year when details came out about a pump track world championships, with qualifying events all over the world, and a final, there was a lot of interest.

Pump tracks have been popping up all over the world, and have became a great venue for a broad spectrum of riders. Young or old, race, street, or mountain bike, all you need is a set of wheels to have fun.

Red Bull tapped into this rider base with no limits on wheel size, or proficiency for their series, and had a class for the ladies also.

When the news started started showing up about the first event held in Indonesia, I was excited to see that the event looked like a blast, the pump track was rad and well built, and had attracted a lot of riders on a bunch of different bikes. At that point, one had to wonder, what kind of bike would have a advantage: BMX, or a mountain bike?

I knew I had to get in on this new format, so in May, after begging for time off work, made my way down to the event in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The first thing that became apparent was that these events were extremely fun. There was a pretty relaxed attitude, even to the point you would find yourself cheering for the rider you knew you were going to be going against in the next round.

It also demonstrated the ability to pull riders that were relatively unknown into the spotlight. This was demonstrated there when a rider wearing a flannel shirt by the name of Keagan Nelson beat out Free Agents Alex Bob to go head to head with Tommy Zula. Zula took the win on his mountain bike, and it started to look like the bigger wheel size might have a ever so slight advantage. It was hard to judge, but looked like Tommy might have been able to win on your grandma’s bike.

The final event of the series went down this past weekend in Springdale, Arkansas. I decided to make the short 12 hr drive in a desperate attempt to qualify at the last chance qualifier the day before.

The surrounding area has become a biking mecca of sorts, with a USA BMX track nearby, and a vast mountain bike trail system funded by the Walton Foundation. WalMart’s corporate headquarters are in nearby Bentonville.

Velosolutions had been taking care of designing and building all of the pump tracks for the events, and had just recently finished building the track.

When I arrived for practice and started riding the track, I was very impressed. This was the most technical, smoothest, and well designed pump track I had ever seen. All the features were excellently designed, including the back to back, tight, steep triple berms, and some steep, deep “consecutive rollers” that only a hand full of riders were jumping. The corners could hold so much speed it was scary.

It quickly dawned on me what a truly world event it was when realized how many countries and the depth of talent from a variety of biking disciplines that were represented.

Brian Strieby at the Red Bull Pump Track World ChampionshipsLet’s be honest, it’s not every day when you have a mix of past BMX Olympians, the current Elite Women BMX World Champion, assorted other Elite Men and Women BMX racers, Mountain Bikers that race enduro, riders that race both MTB and BMX, hardcore Mountain Bikers, dirt jumpers that have never raced, and one washed up vert ramp riding vet pro BMX racer (above…the photo was Carruth’s idea)–all at the same event.

Rain started to fall as the time trials got under way for the LCQ. Barry Nobles won on the men’s side, securing him a spot for the final the next day. He had failed to qualify at an earlier event with a wreck that, as he told me later, allowed his competitor that day, a rider that was over 50 years old, to move on in qualifying, a dream come true for him.

Jordan Scott won the women's LCQ at the Red Bull Pump Track World Championships

Jordan Scott won the women’s LCQ at the Red Bull Pump Track World Championships

The Worlds final that kicked off the next day truly-was a world championship event, with riders from far from locations around the globe. Red Bull had poured-in a ton of support for the top riders, with paid airfare and hotel rooms to get them to the event.

On the men’s side, the field of 40 was narrowed down to 16, with one hour to put your fastest time up.

You got to do a rolling start to get up to speed before starting your time. Later in qualifying and all the way to the final events, the format was different, with riders going head to head starting from a dead stand still.

This format was a little controversial, with some of the mountain bikers making the argument that the BMX bikes had more of an advantage off the start. All the participants were having a blast and having fun with fist bumps and hugs after races, despite the light rain that had set in.

Tommy Zula had the top qualifying time till the French rider Eddy Clerte posted a faster lap. The Swiss ride of David Graf was looking good, as well.

Clerte made it to the final round to go head to head with David Graf. Barry Nobles almost made the final, but in the semi round against Graf, he was ahead at the half way mark but a bobble in the triple s-corners kept him out of the final.

In the final race, David Graf and Eddy Clerte lined up, the starting gun was fired, and Clerte slipped his petals, costing him the title of world champion and three thousand five hundred dollars in prize money. Graf rode to an easy victory and became the first-ever pump track world champion.

Christa Von Niederhausern wins the Womens World Final at the Red Bull Pump Track World Championship
On the woman’s side, it was cool to see the rainbow jersey of the current UCI BMX Elite Women World Champion, Laura Smulders. She ended up in the semis going head to head with her sister Merel, with Merel winning and moving on to face Christina Von Niederhuasern (above) in the final lap. Von Niederhausern prevailed in the finals for the title.

It was really cool to participate in an event like this. Red Bull did a great job of marketing the series and put a lot of work into it. The pump tracks are top notch, the format is great, letting you race riders you would have never otherwise had competed against.

There is talk of the series making a comeback next year, so if you missed out this year, keep your eyes open for next years series details.

I think this style of racing has potential to become a force to be reckoned with. Even though BMX racers took the top spots this time around, I’m sure the question as to what bike size is faster is far from over.

It was fun racing with people that I usually don’t race with. It was crazy to see how good these riders were. There is a 16 year old kid on a jump bike from Scotland just killing it, then moments later, pro BMXer David Graf.

It’s not about classes or age or the bike you ride, it’s relatable to a whole family. It’s amazing that it gets so many different types of riders together. Coming to this race I was just super excited to see where I was against other riders, both male and female. If they bring it back to the States in 2019, I’ll definitely be there.

Editor’s Note: Strider Bikes was set up at the event, to introduce the next generation of riders to the two-wheeled lifestyle. News will have some photos and a brief recap of their experience later in the week.

Highlights from the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ)

Highlight reel from the Final Day:

Red Bull Pump Track World Championship Results

Men’s Podium
1. David Graf (SUI)
2. Eddy Clerte (FRA)
3. Barry Nobles (USA)

Women’s Podium
1. Christa Von Niederhausern (SUI)
2. Merel Smulders (NLD)
3. Laura Smulders (NLD)


Photo Credits
Top Photo: Dan Griffiths / Red Bull Content Pool
Jordan Scott Photo: Ryan Fudger / Red Bull Content Pool
Brian Strieby Photo: Ryan Fudger / Red Bull Content Pool
Christa Von Niederhausern Photo: Ryan Fudger / Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull Settles “Wings” Lawsuit

October 8, 2014 by · Comments Off 

Red Bull Settles Suit

“The beverage you are about to enjoy is extremely hot.” Sounds like the most obvious statement in the world when getting ready to drink a cup of coffee, right? The reason coffee cups have that warning is largely due to a lawsuit, Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants, filed in 1994, where a 79-year old woman burned herself by accidentally spilling her McDonald’s coffee in her lap, after going through a drive-through.

No doubt, it was a tragic accident, but the case was also held up as an example of frivolous lawsuits. In the end, Mrs Liebeck was awarded $2.86 million by a New Mexico jury, an amount which was later reduced to $640,000 by the trial judge, and the case was settled for an undisclosed amount prior to appeal.

On January 16, 2013, Benjamin Careathers, of Bronx, New York, and others brought a class action suit against Red Bull GMBH, Red Bull North America and affiliated companies taking issue with the company’s catchy advertising claim that “Red Bull Gives You Wings.”

The complaint claims, in part, that “the Red Bull defendants know, or should know that there is no greater benefit to ingesting Red Bull energy drinks than ingesting an equivalent dose of caffeine, and have taken no meaningful steps to clear up consumer misconceptions…”

While admitting no wrongdoing, but to avoid further litigation, Red Bull agreed to withdraw the marketing claims challenged by the suit, and has settled with the class members, along with anyone else in the United States who has purchased Red Bull from January 1, 2002 to October 3, 2014, and will provide reimbursement, in the amount of $10 by check, or $15 in Red Bull product to settle any claims.

The settlement must still be approved by the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, where the case was filed. A hearing will take place on May 1, 2015 to determine whether it is fair and equitable. If you feel the Red Bull marketing claims somehow deceived you, you can file a claim no later than March 2, 2015 via one of the below-listed methods for the $10 check or $15 in Red Bull product.

Links

Red Bull Online Claim

By email to the Class Action Settlement Administrator at energydrinksettlement@gcginc.com

By fax to the Class Action Settlement Administrator at 844-553-1373

By mail to the Class Action Settlement Administrator at
Energy Drink Settlement, c/o GCG,
P.O. Box 35123
Seattle, WA 98124-5123

Connor Fields Tops Red Bull R.Evolution

August 17, 2013 by · Comments Off 

BMX Racing News - Connor Fields Wins Red Bull R.Evolution

With a start list of 36 riders from 10 countries, the 2013 Red Bull R.Evolution race went down today at Mellowpark in Berlin, Germany.

Riders from the Netherlands, Germany, USA, France, Canada, Japan, Australia, Colombia, Switzerland and Denmark flew in earlier in the week, and were treated to the Red Bull VIP treatment and one of the burliest BMX tracks we’ve ever seen.

Coming off a traditional BMX Supercross starting hill, there was a “ski jump” at the end of the hill, which made the riders jump a 15 foot gap. Then over a first jump that was over two shipping containers, side by side (which also doubled as a stage for the between-rounds action). Then a couple giant matterhorn-sized jumps into and out of turn one (the second, dubbed “The Wall”–get it– Berlin…)

In the second straight, the track split into two “lines,” the Left-side “Flow” line, and the Right-Side “Jump” Line. At the top of the hill, before the gate dropped, a “wheel of fortune” was spun, and the riders were told which line they had to take this lap–it wasn’t a decision maker, in other words.

The race would have a few different twists like that, over normal BMX racing. Another was that the racks would be stacked with six instead of eight riders. We’re not sure if that was to reduce traffic on the gnarly track, or to stretch the “ingredients” of the race to show more racks. Either way, Quarterfinals and Semis were taking three instead of the usual four riders to transfer.

The Mellowpark house was packed, under the lights, with the crowd estimated to be 5,000+, including an “infield party” that was a standing-room, minglefest.

The best part of the racing vibe at R.Evolution is that it is a for-fun race. No points, no pressure (aside from the $10,000 Euros for first), no coaches. In fact, for one of the quarterfinals, the wheel of fortune landed on one of the choices (which it had just landed on the race prior), and suddenly, off camera, it changed to the other line. Jokesters in action.

Last year’s event was only two weeks after the Olympic Games. That was a perfect wind-down for some, and too-much,too-soon for others. For example, we did not see Connor Fields at last year’s event.

This year, the freestyle/do-a-trick part of the program was removed, in favor of straight-racing.

By the quarters, 1/3 of the starters were eliminated, with four racks of six ready to do it up.

In the first quarterfinal, the 2012 R.Evolution champ, Twan van Gendt made it out with a win followed by Renado Rezende and home crowd favorite, Luis Brethauer. Vincent Pelluard, Red Bull helmet pilot Joris Daudet and Damien Godet were the next trio in for the Semi.

Connor Fields, Martijn Jaspers and Remy Riccardi were next, then Sharrah, Ramirez and a good battle between Barry Nobles and Sean Gaian (Nobles got the three-spot, and the transfer).

After an awesome flatland freestyle show by some Haro-sponsored spinmeisters, the semis were gated up and ready to rock.

First Semi

BMX Racing News - Red Bull R.Evolution Coverage

Barry Nobles had the outside (lanes one and eight were not being used), then Brethauer, Riccardi, Fields, Rezende and Pelluard. Connor and Pelluard were close into turn one, as #11 vectored hard to the inside. Over “The Wall,” it looked like Pelluard had a smoother trip over it, and caught up to Connor, as the pack raced down the Jump Line on the second straight.

BMX Racing News - 2013 Red Bull R.Evolution Coverage
Vincent got a little out of shape taking the extreme inside into turn two, but saved it, and actually passed Connor in the process.

BMX Racing News - 2013 Red Bull R.Evolution Re-Cap
The bridges that connected into the last straight were on top of shipping containers, and had a wooden rhythm section which looked to be about 18″ deep (check the photo).

A quick rail around the last turn, and it was Pelluard, Connor and Rezende as the first half of the main event. Barry boosted a back flip for the fans after the finish line.

Second Semi
The second rack was lined up, with Carlos Ramirez on the outside, then Corben Sharrah, Damien Godet, Martijn Jaspers, Joris Daudet and Twan van Gendt.

BMX Racing News - 2013 Red Bull R.Evolution Re-Cap

Corben was in a lead spot at the bottom of the hill (above, second from left), seemed to have some trouble after this screenshot was snapped, and pedaled the container jump instead of clearing it, and was way outside in sixth. Twan and Joris were down the hill, and over the container jump in a flash.

BMX Racing News - 2013 Red Bull Revolution Re-Cap
Just then, however, Godet landed funny, and went to the ground, taking Jaspers out with him. Up front, it was Joris, Twan and Ramirez, with Corben close behind at the line, but out of a qual spot.

BMX Racing News - 2013 Red Bull Revolution Re-Cap

This was one of our favorite camera angles, showing the massive crowd, and BMX racing front & center.

Between the semis and main, a beatbox duo rocked the mic for about 10 mins, as those of us at home refilled our beverage of choice, and the crowd got jazzed up for the big show on the big track.

Main Event

A lot was on the line for this final lap. For Twan van Gendt, it was the repeat of his R.Evolutuon title. for Joris Daudet, he was the only Red Bull helmet in the main event, so a win for him would put a special crown on an amazing Red Bull evening. For Connor Fields, his Monster Energy helmet was the only other energy drink represented, so a win by him would be a big opportunity to put the Claw in front of the Red Bull faithful. And, of course, the big payday that the top three were rolling for–$10,000 Euros for the win, according to Johan Lindstrom on our Announcers Tower Live Show last week.

Daudet was starting from the inside, then van Gendt, Ramirez, Pelluard, Fields and Rezende.

BMX Racing News - 2013 Red Bull Revolution Re-Cap
Over the container jump, Fields had a slight edge over van Gendt, but the inside had some powerful sway on this first straight. For as big as this track was, the approach to turn was was more a thinking man’s process than a balls-out blitz. If you watch the replay, all the riders are coasting toward the approach to turn one.

BMX Racing News - 2013 Red Bull Revolution Re-Cap
Twan happened to land funny just before the step-up into turn one, and took down Daudet and Ramirez. Only three guys up, with Fields in the lead, then Rezende and Pelluard.

BMX Racing News - 2013 Red Bull Revolution Re-Cap
The deep rhythm section was the only thing between Connor and a big payday.

BMX News - Connor Fields Wins the 2013 Red Bull Revolution
Connor Fields hits the finish line at Red Bull R.Evolution with a #1-hander

BMX News - Connor Fields Wins the 2013 Red Bull Revolution
An amazing show by world class BMX racing talent, brought to us by a sponsor who is known for some of the most exciting and adrenaline-charged events in sports. The whole affair was very well executed by GSX Events and Elite Trax. The live stream at our location dropped a couple times, but was well produced, and well anchored by Troy Manering and Pete Dylewski. A big congratulations to all who worked hard to bring it to the fans!

*Screenshots via RedBull.TV Webcast

Links

Watch the 2013 Red Bull R.Evolution On-Demand (redbull.tv)


Red Bull Manchester Re-Cap Edit

April 30, 2013 by · Comments Off 

Red Bull Manchester BMX SX Edit

Red Bull is out with a 4-minute video edit, recapping the Manchester SX. It features all the popular Red Bull riders, like Elite Women winner, Shanaze Reade; plus guys like Joris Daudet, Sifiso Nhlapo and Corben Sharrah. We’re also treated to cameos by Sam Willoughby and Connor Fields, who are decidedly-not Red Bull riders, but props to the Bull for including them.

We have covered the Manchester SX, ad nauseam, but this is one final splash before we start gearing up for next week’s USA BMX pro race in North Carolina.


Red Bull Co-Founder Dies in Thailand

March 19, 2012 by · Comments Off 

Red Bull Co-Founder Chaleo Yoovidhya Dies

Chaleo Yoovidhya, co-founder of energy drink giant Red Bull died of natural causes this past Saturday in his native Thailand. He was 88.

Mr. Yoovidhya founded the company with Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz in 1987, and grew the brand from zero to selling a reported 4.4 billion cans last year, in 162 countries.

Red Bull remains a privately-held company, and has made its founders multi-billionaires. Yoovidhya was worth an estimated five billion dollars at the time of his death (making him the third wealthiest person in Thailand)

The brand has been involved in BMX Racing for several years, through its “Red Bull Helmet” sponsorship of top athletes such as Mike Day and Corben Sharrah in the US, and Mariana Pajon and Sifiso Nhlapo in Colombia and South Africa, respectively.

In the early 1960s, Yoovidhya developed a beverage containing sugar, caffeine and other ingredients, called “Krating Daeng,” which means “red bull” in his native Thai. The drink became a hit with truck drivers, construction workers and others who needed to sustain performance on long shifts. Mateschitz discovered Krating Daeng on a trip to Asia in the early 1980s, declared it a magical cure for his chronic jetlag, and the two soon formed a partnership to market the drink, beginning in Austria in 1987.

The partners invested $500,000 each to establish a 49/49 ownership in the new company, with the remaining 2 percent going to Yoovidhya’s son, Sarawut.

Mateschitz runs the company, based in Fuschl am See, Austria, and it is expected there will be no material change to operations resulting from Mr. Yoovidhya’s death.

“The Nation” newspaper reported that Mr. Yoovidhya was married twice and had 11 children.

—Mike Carruth

Links

Video: Red Bull – How an Empire Was Created




This article appeared as the Speedco Top Story on March 19, 2012


Speedco Top Story, Presented by Speedco Bicycles

Red Bull Rolls US Presses on Print Mag

May 11, 2011 by · Comments Off 

Once upon a time, the only way you could get your brand’s message out to massive audiences was to cozy up to reporters and other media types, or pay princely sums to their ad reps. Newspapers, Magazines and TV held the mic, and they would allow you to speak into it only when, and as long as it suited them.

Of course, the Internet and rich media have eroded the foundation of that castle on the hill, and continue to do so each day. Traditional roles have been tossed into the air, like a game of “52-pickup.”

Despite all the doomsaying and handwringing, a full-page ad in Sports Illustrated’s print edition is still $238,000 to reach their monthly audience of 3,150,000 readers.

Brands are more powerful than ever, with millions of “followers” (Twitter, and otherwise). These people are receptive to content, and marketers are bringing it to them in interesting ways.

Red Bull is one shining example of a brand that thinks outside the box. They have refined the art of Brand-as-content through putting the brand next to readers via athletes, music, and special events like the “Red Bull Manny Mania” skateboarding tour.

In January 2009, they took it a step further by launching the “Red Bulletin–” which brings the far-reaches of the brand’s extreme sports, and entertainment empire into a monthly magazine format. The magazine has been operating in Europe, South Africa, the Middle East and New Zealand since launch, but will put its arms around the US market as of the June issue.

The inaugural issue’s cover (above) features San Francisco Giants’ pitcher Tim Lincecum. The Red Bulletin us edition will be initially available at 20,000 retail outlets nationwide, and claims monthly distribution of 1.2 million copies (4.6 million worldwide). Subscribers of the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald, Houston Chronicle and New York Daily News will get the issue delivered free on the third sunday of each month.

BMX News is looking forward to seeing Red Bull-sponsored BMX Racers Mike Day, Mariana Pajon and Sifiso Nhlapo in its pages.

More info, including past issues at http://bmxurl.com/redbulletin

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