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MONS ROYALE ATHLETES TAKE ON REDBULL FORMATION

“I cheated death already today”…

RedBull Formation has just just wrapped for its third year and while the previous two Formation events gave female freeriders a platform to showcase their skills and the experience of riding renowned Rampage sites as recognised freeriders, 2022 was completely different.

Group of girl bikers in the dust digging jumps

From the onset, the standard of riding was on a whole new level. Formation 2022 completely upped the standard of Women’s Freeriding. This year, Mons Royale Athletes Casey Brown and Robin Gomes returned to the steep cliffs of Virgin, Utah, accompanied by fellow kiwi Kelsey Timpany, who was a digger this year.

Robin Goomes and Casey Brown hugging each other

Set against the dramatic backdrop of the iconic red desert, the world’s top female Freeriders joined diggers, industry mentors, and other professional athletes to carve their unique lines into the dirt of Utah.

The goal:build a top to bottom line that amplifies their style, skill and poise before successfully executing a top to bottom run linking all features. Based on unforgiving and exposed terrain, they had three days to build, two days to ride.

The common theme was domination. Domination of individual lines, features and attitudes. The air was thick with determination, capability and raw talent. The twelve selected women were there to slay; to work together to resurrect Rampage lines from 2015 and rule them with precision, poise and calm elegance.

Girls digging bike jumps in the dirt with shovels

After three days digging through both challenging terrain and draining heat, the landscape was transformed into rideable lines reflecting everyone’s skills and strengths. The process of envisioning, dreaming and executing a line on terrain which, to the untrained eye, appears vertical, is an incredible accomplishment in itself. There were multiple challenges such as access to water, meaning multiple treks to the top ridge lines hauling water, resembling Yak’s at Everest. Every dig day wrapped up with dusty smiles and dirty teeth, everyone showing off blistered hands and tan lines, forging new friendships through hardships and a sense of accomplishment.

Casey Brown and Hannah Bergeman resurrected Brett Rheeder’s 2015 line – indicative of their level of riding. The most technical part: a blind roll to begin, straight into a steep chute followed by a sweeping right berm, dubbed ‘Berm-adette’, a series of chutes, impressive drops and technical features. The line finished on an exciting jump line at the bottom which Casey styled her way through, casually throwing a no-footer.

Casey brown riding bike, hitting a big drop without her hands on the handle bars of her bike

When asked if she would go back for run two, Casey said “No way, I cheated death already today”. Reflecting on her run, Casey said she felt “literally sick” at the top. The sheer relief when she reached the bottom was extremely inspiring and emotional for those who witnessed it.

For Robin Goomes, the line she built with Harriet-Burrbidge Smith and Sam Soranio played to each riders’ strengths. With variations for each, Robin’s line included ridge-riding, varying types of jumps, features, ‘natty’ (her slang for ‘natural’ and untouched terrain) and a massive drop.

Robin’s run was electrifying from the drop-in. Poised and in control, she dominated the ridgeline and breezed through the ‘natty’ section with style and dominance. On her drop she threw a Sui, with unbelievable comfort and ease, worthy of Rampage legend Kyle Strait. Coming into the finish, Robin solidified her place as one of the world’s best freeriders; casually backflipping the final jump to a wild cheers from the crowd of diggers and supporters.

Rodin goomes throwing a huge backflip off a jump on a bike
“Since Formation is not a competition, everyone wants the best for you. We’re all on different levels here, but we’re pushing each other to make that shift to whatever the next stage of progression may be.”

The result of Formation 2022? A powerful event and an even more powerful finish. Emotions, tears and adrenaline were running high as each woman reached the bottom of their line and cruised through the arches to the athlete tent. Endless smiles, relief, and pure joy were projected throughout the Messa.

No longer can people say women lack the skills to ride the intense and unforgiving terrain of Virgin, Utah, where the top males of the sport have previously put down in RedBull Rampage. Together, these riders, diggers and mentors, united to create the foundations for womens freeride, raising the bar to an undeniable standard, worthy of comparison to the wider freeriding scene.

Here at Mons Royale we’re privileged to support this incredible work, by incredible women.

Check out Casey Brown’s Honk If You Freerideepisode here and follow the mayhem as the girls road-triped to Redbull Formation 2022.