Just one week after their memorable head-to-head battle during Red Bull Joyride at Crankworx Whistler, Brett Rheeder and Brandon Semenuk went at it again during the Bearclaw Invitational, but this time switched spots on the podium.
Rheeder came out on top in the mountain bike slopestyle contest held Saturday, Aug. 23, at Mount Washington, while Whistler's Semenuk finished in second place and France's Yannick Granieri wound up third.
Rheeder's win ended Semenuk's three-year reign as champion of the annual competition hosted by Darren Berrecloth, and came after both riders posted two outstanding runs that made life tough on judges.
Rheeder and Semenuk sat one-two after the first of two runs, and Rheeder managed to step it up another notch on his second attempt, scoring a 97.5 with a run that worked in a cork 720 and flip-whip off the two biggest jumps, plus a flair on the course-ending quarter-to-dirt feature.
Last to drop in Saturday's finals, Semenuk assembled a run that included a 360 whip and cork 720 of his own, and a 540 barspin to end it off, but he wasn't able to overtake his Canadian counterpart and finished with a score of 95.0.
"The runs that we did are just insane, and the fact that we both went up, both did two runs and both one-upped our runs (is) just insane," Rheeder told RedBull.com after the victory.
Though neither Rheeder or Semenuk were major factors in the first FMB World Tour Diamond Series event at Crankworx Les 2 Alpes earlier this year, the back-to-back stops in B.C. have seen the two make it difficult for the rest of the field to keep up.
"It's just like a game of inches and it's really up to opinion," Semenuk told RedBull.com. "I was just impressed we both made it down the hill both times. That was a rad event."
Anthony Messere finished fourth on Saturday, and the Surrey teen's consistency this season has him clinging to a small lead atop the FMB World Tour Diamond Series standings. The winner of Crankworx Les 2 Alpes and the bronze medallist at Joyride is just 20 points up on Semenuk, while Rheeder is third with two events left.
The next Diamond Series contest takes place Sept. 6 at the Red Bull District Ride in Germany, while the series concludes with Red Bull Rampage in Utah on Sept. 28.
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