Red Bull Hardline Canyon Gap: The Bike World Reacts

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When photos first emerged of the canyon gap at Red Bull Hardline over the weekend we all gulped. Since then, quite a lot has happened. Here’s a round up of what’s what so far:

What Is That Canyon Gap?

For those who have been under a rock this weekend, here’s what the fuss is about.

Who Is Riding At Hardline Wales 2024?

Who is lined up to tackle the course, and that gap? Here’s the men’s start list for Red Bull Hardline, Wales 2024:

Adam BraytonUK
Alex StorrUK
Bernard KerrUK
Brendan FaircloughUK
Brook MacDonaldNZL
Charlie HattonUK
Craig EvansUK
Dennis LuffmanUK
Edgar BrioleFRA
Gaetan VigeFRA
George BranniganNZ
Harry MolloyUK
Jim MonroUK
Jono JonesUK
Josh BrycelandUK
Josh LoweUK
Juanfer VelezCOL
Matt JonesUK
Matteo IniguezFRA
Matteo IniguezFRA
Ronan DunneIRL
Sam BlenkinsopNZ
Sam GaleNZ
Sam HockenhullUK
Sebastian HolguinCOL
Szymon GodziekPOL
Taylor VernonUK
Theo ErlangsenSA
Thibault LalyFRA
Thomas GenonBEL
Vincent TupinFRA

Tahnée Seagrave, Cami Nogueira, Hannah Bergmann, Louise-Anna Ferguson and Vaea Verbeeck began training on Monday.

That Canyon Gap – The Reactions

Josh Bryceland reacted with a kit addition:

First Hits

Bernard Kerr tackled it first.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Bernard Kerr (@bernard_kerr)

Then Matt Jones.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Matt Jones (@mattjonesmtb)

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A post shared by Matt Jones (@mattjonesmtb)

Then Jim Monro.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Jim Monro (@jimbomonro)

Sam Reynolds didn’t like how it looked, and he wasn’t wrong:

Sam does the ‘OK’ in inverted commas, and indeed, is a concussion OK? Yes, it’s better than falling into the actual canyon, but a brain injury is still an injury.

Got spat out of this one pretty hard but somehow came away with just a concussion, thanks everyone for the help off the hill 

Jim Monro – Instagram

Brendan Fairclough is apparently less worried:

Dean Lucas thinks it’s all gone too far:

There’s a bit of debate over on the Forum about what’s driving this. Is it progression or attention seeking? Will people do this stuff anyway, or is it pressure for attention and sponsors? What’s the difference between this and Red Bull Rampage?

2p From Me

For me, the key difference between Red Bull Hardline and Red Bull Rampage is twofold. One: Nothing at Rampage is mandatory – even the built features that are provided don’t have to be ridden. You dig and build your own thing, to your own tune, to your own strengths. There’s no ‘here’s a thing if you think you’re hard enough’ pressure to add into the mix. Two: Hardline is a race. Riders aren’t just aiming to clear the features, they’re aiming to do it at speed. I’m unconvinced that switching between red-mist race brain and Nitro-Circus level feature clearing is a great combination.

I’ve have many debates with people before about the ways in which I think Red Bull Rampage manages to tread just the right side of controlled risk taking vs glorifying self destruction. I don’t think I can step to the defence of this feature in the context of Hardline.

2p From Mark

He’s lucky to be alive and the problem I have is that the cost of entry to trying something like this is a bike, some wood and a massively dangerous drop. The first death from this is probably likely to be someone copying it in their local quarry.

Caveat: I’m 53 years old.

Back in the ‘olden’ days impressive stunts like this were common on the tellybox. Saturday night TV was full of it. But there was always a big fat notice or a presenter who said, ‘Don’t try this at home…. professional this and that blah’. Not that this made any difference to whether kids went into the park and spannered themselves but it at least showed that the producers were aware of the risks and the danger that showing it could cause. Red Bull don’t seem to care at all as long as it gets the clicks and engagement. I have a moral issue with this stuff and the fact the driving force is weighted too much towards commercial interests with questionable care given to the consequences. The policy seems to be, go bigger than we did last time, which is kind of how it’s always been in all endeavors but at some point there’s going to be a limiting line and the price of crossing that line was almost paid in full by Jim here. If they really cared there would have been a net up right from the start, although it would not have helped Jim. They got really lucky. The Risk Asessement doc must be interesting read, if there is one.

I know, I know. I sound just like my dad.

2p From Benji

Maybe the riders like doing things like this? I imagine they’ve been doing stupid shit since young, which is how they got where they are. That’s my Devil’s Advocate mode. Not sure if I’m fussed either way tbh!

Add your 2p… head to the comments and/or vote in this poll:

How To Watch Hardline

If you’ve still got the stomach to watch it, Hardline will be broadcastlive globally on Red Bull TV on Sunday 2nd June at 2.30pm GMT. Ahead of the event, the week’s best action from course walk and practice will be on the Red Bull Bike YouTube. 

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  • This topic has 268 replies, 89 voices, and was last updated 1 month ago by DanW.
Viewing 40 posts - 81 through 120 (of 269 total)
  • Redbull Hardline – 2024
  • somafunk
    Full Member

    If anything it’s the awfulness of the landing that hit me- you can’t come up short of course but you also can’t go long, you go straight into unprepared hill, you’ve got to land and turn. And if you land to the left it’s just a less awful cliff, to the right it’s more unprepared hill.

    Could all be a moot point as the wind will whistle up that valley and hit that waterfall jump so if there’s the slightest breeze on the day I doubt many will wish to jump 80ft over such a sketchy gap onto a small landing, I hope they have an alternative route planned.

    reeksy
    Full Member

    Does appear that he let go of the bike as soon as he left the ramp, I imagine wasn’t ready for the compression or the kick?

    That’s what I thought – like the suspension was totally wrong. On BK’s video Matt talks about how intense the kicker was – he didn’t see the takeoff until he was on it because of the steepness. Matt also said he’d had his suspension ‘softened’ since Maydena, perhaps that helped him? He certainly looked the least out of control of the lot. BK looked like he was spat out off line.

    When they first looked at it the landing was straight on to the scaffold, then when they jump it the landing has been extended by a good metre or more

    Pretty sure in Matt’s vid that was already there when they were looking at it and they said it was temporary and going to be removed.

    tomhoward
    Full Member

    Same for rampage, man made lines where athletes go to have free choice not bound by overbearing international federations etc.

    Rampage lines are designed/built but the people that ride them. Here it’s the organisers that have built a massive, risky jump, ‘You want to do well? Clear it, try not to die.’

    Riders may well be prepared to take the risks, it’s whether or not they have the ability to back it up (sending 100ft canyon gaps, it’s not guaranteed), and to not kill them if they get it wrong. I had the bottle to send a double in a (last of the day) race run that would put me several places higher in the rankings, what I lacked was the ability and despite it being a grassroots beginner event, my screwing it up (coming up short) broke 6 ribs and a collar bone. Turning that up to 11 with no extra precautions? Wreckless.

    1
    robertajobb
    Full Member

    What came to mind for me, in Matt’s video, was the same debate/discussion  before the 1st real run, that I recall a few friends and I would have before we would kayak something new and hard and difficult and scary  (and in White water kayaking, what makes it hard is usually what makes it risky too). Whether the middle section of the Oetz (to swim is to die in that… I chose not to paddle it, 2 mates ran it a couple of times), or bolder-fests with sumps and syphons, or running big waterfalls.  And when I was paddling, nobody was sponsored or professional (but a couple of my much-more-talented-than-I mates were up there with the best in that era, as we all chose to have  real jobs that funded the boating trips to far away places).  So I’m not sure it is all because of the sponsorship.

    I do have real concerns about the long term health of those getting repeat concussions though.

    1
    tomhoward
    Full Member

    So I’m not sure it is all because of the sponsorship.

    So why the need for sponsors to facilitate this kind of thing, if riders were just gonna do it anyway?

    somafunk
    Full Member

    The one person that I thought would have a go (Gee) didn’t jump it, I wonder why?.

    I hope it’s self preservation for his sake, credit to Gee’s ability to bounce back from life ending injuries, also credit to his very extensive medical treatment and physios, I wish I had access to such as I’m sure I’d be in a better place, as would many others.

    If a rider is injured whilst competing in this event do Redbull cover their treatment costs and aftercare or do the riders have to rely on the nhs/personal medical insurance and their own pocket?  Genuinely interested?

    1
    reeksy
    Full Member

    I believe Red Bull are really good when it comes to looking after ‘their’ assets athletes.

    1
    tomhoward
    Full Member

    If a rider is injured whilst competing in this event do Redbull cover their treatment costs and aftercare or do the riders have to rely on the nhs/personal medical insurance and their own pocket?  Genuinely interested?

    https://m.pinkbike.com/news/paul-bas-walks-half-marathon-8-years-after-being-paralyzed-at-red-bull-rampage.html#:~:text=On%20October%2016%2C%202015%2C%20Paul,(21km%20%2F%2013.1%20miles).

    moonsaballoon
    Full Member

    Rumour is that it’s going to have to be pulled as the scaffolding isn’t designed to cope with a safety net .

    Northwind
    Full Member

    reeksy
    Full Member

    Pretty sure in Matt’s vid that was already there when they were looking at it and they said it was temporary and going to be removed.

    Plus, just look at it- it’s a bit of chipboard sheet with a bunch of planks screwed into it from the TOP, plus a few scaff poles under. I’m assuming it was a bit less shonky than it looked, probably the planks are sandwiched with others underneath, but I didn’t even like seeing people stand on it, you’d definitely not want to land a bike on it.

    somafunk
    Full Member

    The one person that I thought would have a go (Gee) didn’t jump it, I wonder why?

    He’s not racing the actual event. I mean, he’s also 39 now, and just recovered from smashing himself to pieces, and doesn’t have a lot to prove or really that much to gain from it either I reckon.

    reeksy
    Full Member

    Someone who knows what he’s talking about…IMG_7934

    monkeyboyjc
    Full Member

    Had anyone here been a spectator at previous hardlines?

    How much of a hike is it for spectators to get to the top of the course?

    I’ve tickets for Sunday but we have two full days of riding beforehand but would like to get to towards the top of possible. Just not sure how far my tired legs will hike me up the hill….

    joefm
    Full Member

    Sam has spent a lot of time building monster sized jumps so should know what he is talking about.  Even Bernie’s attempt was close to disaster when he landed really close to the edge.

    Kicky jumps and racing also never go well.

    1
    reeksy
    Full Member

    Sam has spent a lot of time building monster sized jumps

    And this too.

    tomfun
    Full Member

    I’ll presume that Jim was using flat pedals, that could have been a lot worse if he was clipped in 🙈

    rockhopper70
    Full Member

    I went two years ago on the Sunday Spectators were not allowed any higher than when they land after the cannon coming out of the woods. It’s still quite the hike up to that point with only one path set out, which include pull ropes it was that steep. As you may imagine, it got quite congested with spectators and it’s not the best spectator experience, save for being blown away by the size of the jumps!

    chrismac
    Full Member

    Rumour is that it’s going to have to be pulled as the scaffolding isn’t designed to cope with a safety net .

    Really. Given this is supposed to built by a pro builder with the backing of a big company Im amazed that no body thought about that at the design stage. I would have thought for the riders saftey basic things like would have been considered

    1
    Speeder
    Full Member

    there was a bit on BK’s video where Matt J was talking about an 8 metre radius – it wasn’t clear if he was talking about how it was or how it should be but they were obviously mindful it was a bit kicky for the speed even before they tried it.

    I got the feeling from the Jim Monro vid that he lost the front end at the highest g point of the transition as if it was a slick surface.  It didn’t look as if it was a grippiest for sure.

    I don’t know how I feel about it, I don’t know if it’s any more or less dangerous than Rampage but guys have been paralysed there before and it wouldn’t be good for that to happen here.  £15k isn’t enough to risk that much.

    Gribs
    Full Member

    I’ve tickets for Sunday but we have two full days of riding beforehand but would like to get to towards the top of possible. Just not sure how far my tired legs will hike me up the hill….

    I went 2 years ago on the Saturday and officially you could go as high as the cliff drop/cannon. Plenty of people were on the hillside above and I walked/scrambled to within sight of the start. That’s unlikely to be possible this year as the course now goes that way. I’d expect to only be able to get as high as the cliff drop but that should give good views.

    4
    sharkattack
    Full Member

    You know that joke about Michael Bublé emerging from his cave just before Christmas? That’s like Chrismac before Hardline

    Screenshot_20240528-125034

    fingerbang
    Free Member

    I can’t see the race happening on the gap jump, even if they adjust the take off and install safety nets (if possible).  I just can’t see how that shonky landing is going to last with so many riders and high impacts.  There’s all kinds of issues!

    Therefore it seems that they’ll have to hastily install a bridge across the canyon or re-route to the original track.  The new track seems to still have a lot of bang for its buck in terms of features as you’re eliminating the steel step up and cliff drop and gaining some gnar drops and that odd hip wooden feature.

    speaking of which any idea what’s happening with that?  BK seemed to cast doubt on whether it was doable in the LSD vid.  It looked insane.  I suppose if Dan Athy isn’t guinea pigging these features and is leaving it to BK then we’re still in the development stage of the new track

    ratadog
    Full Member

    loads of people have called for the TT to be banned. However they have done all they can realistically do with safety

    All of this may be true but people still die every year, everyone taking part knows the risks involved and are prepared to take those risks,

    Not just the riders at the TT making these decisions. I have spent a lot of time pulling people out of badly parked rally cars over the last forty years and went as part of the safety cover for the Manx Rally on several occasions. Regularly got invited to come back for the TT and said no thanks. Fatalities on rallies do happen of course but they are few and far between. It tends to be metal that hits the scenery first rather than flesh and bone. Although I have had to deal with some bad accidents I have been lucky not to have attended any life changing injuries or worse.

    Going on a “holiday” where I could expect several of the medical crew to deal with a fatality really does not appeal. I was aware that some of the medics based on the island were somewhat torn as they didn’t want to have to deal with a serious injury or fatality either but found it difficult to opt out of what was happening on their doorstep. One, no longer with us, told me he dreaded it, but felt morally obliged to try and make sure the safety cover was as good as possible.

    I don’t know whether they had any form of first aid/medical cover for that Hardline practice session or for the event itself but if I had turned up to find that jump I would have said thanks but no thanks and walked away, but then I am old and grumpy.

    chrismac
    Full Member

    @sharkattack. I’m not sure what to think that you are bored enough to collate my comments. The title sponsor is not relevant to my views it’s just nobody else does these events. Im interested in which comments you think aren’t accurate when it comes to what event sponsors want from an vent

    8
    sharkattack
    Full Member

    Pinkbike collates your most recent comments not me. (Also I’m at work so who cares?)

    No one is as vigorously active as you are, on multiple platforms, raging against riders being used to “sell fizzy drinks”. It just makes me curious.

    Did your wife run off with a Red Bull executive?

    monkeyboyjc
    Full Member

    As others have said, BK and Gee were the official test riders for the sections of the course, Matt J and Jim just happened to be in the area and agreed to also test out the new features. The whole point being to get rider feedback back and develop the course so that it’s ridable before all of the other riders turn up this week.

    The whole point of hard line is that it’s the most challenging of DH courses and not a WC style event.

    RB are sponsors, just like rampage, where similar jumps and risk is involved (and no safety netting) so I’m sure that they have contingency/insurance and legal teams too.

    One thing Jim’s crash has done is give the event a whole bunch of additional marketing and promo over a week before the actual event.

    8
    teenrat
    Full Member

    Referencing comments above regarding the TT.

    What’s going on at hardline is not comparable in the slightest, except it’s dsngerous.

    TT Riders know the course, the course doesn’t have radical changes introduced at short notice, it’s all rideable, the danger comes from how hard they want to push it. It’s a professionally run event where rider safety is at the forefront. This goes on all year round, highlighting how much time, effort and thought goes into it.

    Hardline 2024 on the other hand appears to be very amateurish.  Why does testing happen in the week before the event? How can features, built by professional trail builders, be so poor and wrong? Why was it built without any consideration for rider safety and the only thought of a net came a few days before the event after someone had got hurt? It really isn’t difficult to see the risk and danger associated with that feature.

    If Jim Munro wasn’t an official tester, why was he allowed to hit an untested and unapproved feature. Again, no H&S consideration and amateur hr. I’m sure if he had died, the H&S executive would have had a field day.

    I’m sorry, but the Athertons aren’t covering themselves in glory here and are dragging hardline down into a farce.

    1
    monkeyboyjc
    Full Member

    Why does testing happen in the week before the event?

    Calender and other commitments – same as every other event.

    How can features, built by professional trail builders, be so poor and wrong?

    This is why they test. Smart for every other event – lips changed at darkest for example.

    Why was it built without any consideration for rider safety and the only thought of a net came a few days before the event after someone had got hurt?

    As far as I’m aware only keyboard warriors have talked about a safety net…?

    Jim Munro wasn’t an official tester, why was he allowed to hit an untested and unapproved feature.

    He’s one of the riders and as such took the call to test the features himself. I’m sure he’d have signed safety wavers with RB.

    Looking at events like RB Rampage, where there’s similar features and arguably bigger coverage, and with previous life changing accidents at rampage,  I’m sure RB and the Atherton’s are far from amateur….

    1
    thebunk
    Full Member

    Looking at events like RB Rampage, where there’s similar features and arguably bigger coverage, and with previous life changing accidents at rampage,  I’m sure RB and the Atherton’s are far from amateur….

    Feel the same way about Rampage so this isn’t the compelling argument you might think it is. Look, if Matt and Gee and the gang want to chuck themselves off ridiculous stuff for the laughs and the views, I wouldn’t watch it, but I wouldn’t have a problem with it. But because it is an organised event with an insanely wealthy and well known brand backing it and publicising it, it should be subject to a higher level of scrutiny and safety. Baffled as to how anyone thinks otherwise.

    monkeyboyjc
    Full Member

    But because it is an organised event with an insanely wealthy and well known brand backing it and publicising it, it should be subject to a higher level of scrutiny and safety. Baffled as to how anyone thinks otherwise.

    This could be said about many events and sports, mountain biking is an ‘extreme sport’ and has risks at all levels, life changing injurys and deaths have happened at trail centres, Hardline and events like it are at the most extreme end of the sport.

    2
    FunkyDunc
    Free Member

    As far as I’m aware only keyboard warriors have talked about a safety net…?

    No it was either Matt, or BK in one of their videos.

    Calender and other commitments – same as every other event

    Sorry thats trollocks and smacks of amateur approach. If you are planning ‘the hardest DH mtb event in the world’ you should take H&S seriously and make sure you do build time in.

    This is why they test. Smart for every other event – lips changed at darkest for example.

    Yeah but the design of the ramp just looks wrong. Lots of key board warriors were saying so before it was ridden, and apparently their daft thoughts were backed up by someone who knows what hes talkiing about. Darkfest they tweaked, not rebuilt.

    The chances of getting a week without wind at Hardline are next to nil. They were lucky on that day to get no wind, its been windy every day since. After seeing 1 crash, 1 barely make the landing on the left side, and 1 ending up on the right side, the chances of getting down the middle in windy conditionals dont look great on current probability.

    1
    teenrat
    Full Member

    This could be said about many events and sports, mountain biking is an ‘extreme sport’ and has risks at all levels, life changing injurys and deaths have happened at trail centres, Hardline and events like it are at the most extreme end of the sport.

    Yes, it is an extreme sport, and because of that, every effort should be made to minimise risk in a high profile event such as hardline.  Any remaining risk is a residual that can’t be mitigated due to the nature of the sport.

    5lab
    Full Member

    I’m not sure a net would be of much use – the run in (from stationary) is smooth, long and pedal-free – its really unlikely that someone’s going to slip a pedal, snap a chain, or something else that might result in them going over the lip at a pace where they’d land in the bottom – you’d have to be going barely over walking pace for that to happen.

    the actual landing is significantly extended backwards so anyone going a bit less than full speed (ie a gust of wind or taking off squiff) will get to the landing – the guy who binned it landed 5m down the ramp, not right at the top, so there was no chance of him coming short.

    What does appear to be an issue is landing to the left-hand-side of the landing, so maybe that should be built up a bit

    Stevet1
    Free Member

    My issue with this feature, apart from the fact that it looks poorly built to almost everyone who has ridden any jump ever, is that it’s not really hard in the sense that it’s just roll down the slope and hang on. Yes I know, “just”. It’s about pure risktaking appetite and not skill.

    5
    Kramer
    Free Member

    Just because something is inherently risky doesn’t mean it can’t be risk managed.

    2
    kayak23
    Full Member

    Johnny Walker, motorcycle enduroist rides hardline course.

    Gunz
    Free Member

    If someone gets seriously injured will it be seen as an inevitable result of an extreme sport or would the organisers be retrospectively vilified online. As I suspect it would be the latter that suggests this is pushing things too far.

    leffeboy
    Full Member

    full marks to the social media team.  they are doing a great job of generating interest in this

    martinhutch
    Full Member

    https://www.instagram.com/p/C7ehyhtostt/?igsh=MTNpeWQ2dDNuMm9ydw==

    Needs a panel of judges holding up ‘artistic impression’ scores, really. :)

    Even if the riders were happy after seeing that, isn’t the real problem that, with normal Welsh weather in the next couple of weeks, it makes the event even more vulnerable to being called off if there is a bit of a breeze?

    thegeneralist
    Free Member

    Should the Red Bull Hardline canyon gap have been allowed to happen?

    This is an absolute shocker of a statement. Who the **** are you to decide what someone else does or doesn’t do.

    Is the Red Bull Hardline canyon gap in really bad taste

    Or

    Will you be boycotting Red bull/Hardline/Wales as a result of this jump being used

    Or

    Would you …

    But to actually state that you think it should be ” not allowed to happen” is totally out of order.  What would you to if someone else did this to whatever part of MTB you enjoy?

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Hannah Dobson

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