- Red Bull Rampage Retrospective box set
Bike DVDs are a fine way to while away a few post-ride minutes or during periods of inclement weather when you just don’t fancy riding at all. But sometimes there’s just not enough of them, particularly if the period of inclement weather can be described as, say, “February”. Fear not, though, for Red Bull’s Rampage Retrospective box set stretches across five discs and something around four hours.
So how are they filling them all up? The box set is essentially the collected films of the four years of the pioneering Red Bull Rampage freeride event in Virgin, Utah. You get one disc per year from 2001 to the final event in 2004, plus the Retrospective disc itself – a sort of combined documentary-style history/compilation of best bits. They’re all the work of Freeride Entertainment (also responsible for the New World Disorder series) so you’re guaranteed decent stuff.
All the discs have been available separately in the past, but the earlier ones have been reworked and extra material added. The 2001 film has some additional interviews, shot later, which lend it an interesting historical perspective. Working through the discs you get a real sense of evolution, although it’s more about the riding than the bikes, which aren’t really that much different in 2004 than 2001. It’s remarkable how low-key the 2001 event looks now – it could almost just be a bunch of guys chucking bikes around the desert, with only a few flags and photographers to indicate that there’s an actual competition going on.
All the well-known names are represented (most of them several times) and you will, of course, see again all those pivotal Rampage moments – Bourdon’s canyon gap crash, the Bender Sender, Gracia’s backflip etc and so on. Most of the discs contain full, unexpunged top-to-bottom runs from the top riders as extras, which give the whole thing a sense of perspective that’s sometimes missing from footage that focuses on particular drops or jumps.
The highlight is the Retrospective disc, though. It’s a great mix of event footage and interviews that traces the history of Rampage and, by extension, MTB freeriding itself. We particularly liked the film of freeride pioneers Richie Schley and Brett Tippie doing ski-style turns on the huge shale banks of Kamploops in the mid-90s on hardtails. Rampage is very much presented as having been central to the development of freeride, and that’s not much of an exaggeration – it was the first MTB event that was more about size and style than speed.
Retrospective makes a lot of use of Kyle Strait as a peg to hang the historical bits off, which works well – he rode the 2001 event when he was 14 and he changes as much as Rampage itself over the following years. By the time of the last event in 2004 the mountainside is covered by thousands of people (it was held just after annual industry shindig Interbike, just down the road) that the riders often found themselves having to elbow their way through in a manner oddly reminiscent of the Tour de France on the famous cols.
Rampage followed the age-old maxim and quit while it was ahead, which makes this box set satisfyingly self-contained and complete. And it comes in a nice shiny box…