A Utah native, Nell matched his rookie performance of last year with another respectable 3rd place against 21 of the world’s greatest freeriders.
“This was a huge dig week at this new venue,” said Nell. "We had to build a top to bottom line, which was super gnarly. We built some big features and had some stressful situations coming into today without a lot of practice. It was also pretty windy this morning, and half of our day was wasted due to rain. It was great to just get everything done and it’s a lot less stress now! As of now there’s not one thing that is gnarlier than what went down today, it was insane! Everyone crushed it. Everyone went in to build a winning line this year, so coming out top three I’m pretty stoked!”
The 21 year old charged down the mountain putting together a run that included a suicide no-hander off the very first feature out of the start gate and a massive step down backflip. He followed that up with another suicide no-hander off of the biggest feature on the mountain — a 55-foot drop that many riders took smaller options around. He finished up with a flat spin 360 off the trick jump near the finish corral and solidified a place in the Rampage record books with another podium finish.
Monster Energy’s Adolph Silva (ESP) took home the People’s Choice award in his first year of competition in the event. People’s Choice is voted on by fans via the Internet for their overall impression of a run. Silva’s run included one of the largest drops that Rampage has ever seen at speed, and the Spaniard somehow hung on through a massive head bob on landing after going extremely deep down the landing.
Best trick went to Monster Energy’s Tom van Steenbergen (CAN) for his insane flat drop backflip off of the biggest cliff on the side of the mountain. Van Steenbergen also took home 4th place overall.
“This year was the most dangerous venue yet because of all the big cliffs,” said van Steenbergen. "Obviously every year there are big drops, but this year the cliff bands were a bit bigger and the drops were way bigger than last year’s. I’m super stoked to pull that flip off. It’s all I’ve been thinking about this week. Fifty-five feet from tip to tip and I went a little deep so I probably went 60 feet off a cliff. I don’t know if I can go much bigger than that! After that I did the rest of my run blind because after the flip my helmet slipped down and my nose went inside of my goggles so I couldn’t see anything for a bit. I tried to adjust it just in time for the final flip on the trick jump. I had more planned down there, but I was just stoked to land that flip. Next year we have a lot of things to improve on except for that drop, I can’t go any bigger than that!"
Finally, Monster Energy’s Brendan Fairclough (GBR), the racer turned free racer took home the Kelly McGarry Spirit Award. The trophy goes to the rider who best embodies McGarry’s positivity, friendliness and absolutely never gives up.
“I am super happy to come away with the Kelly McGarry Award", said Fairclough. "After 10 days out in the desert digging and putting the runs together was cool so to get that award was a nice little cherry on top. Obviously super gusted with the result, but to come away with that award was a nice touch.”