Darkfest 2024 was a week-long extravaganza of freeride mountain biking held in the scenic Vuurberg mountains near Stellenbosch, South Africa. This year’s event, hosted by the mastermind behind Darkfest, Sam Reynolds, showcased some of the most progressive riding ever seen on the XXL course. From mind-blowing tricks to heart-stopping crashes, Darkfest 2024 was a testament to the spirit of freeride MTB. Let’s dive into the results and highlights of this epic event.

Photo By Eric Palmer

King & Queen of Darkfest 2024: Elias Ruso and Vaea Verbeeck

The coveted titles of King and Queen of Darkfest 2024 went to Elias Ruso and Vaea Verbeeck. These talented riders pushed the boundaries of big air and showcased their skills with jaw-dropping performances throughout the week. The rider-voted awards were a testament to their incredible talent and fearless riding.

Photo By Eric Palmer

For Elias Ruso, the King of Darkfest 2024, the event held deep personal significance. Growing up watching videos of Pure Darkness and Darkfest, Ruso dreamt of one day riding in these awe-inspiring big air events. To his disbelief and overwhelming joy, that dream became a reality. Ruso’s heartfelt gratitude goes out to the entire Darkfest crew and everyone involved for giving him the opportunity to live out his childhood dream.

Monster Moments: Tom Isted’s 110ft Backflip and Robin Goomes’ Backflip Train

Darkfest 2024 had its fair share of monster moments. Tom Isted wowed the crowd with a mind-boggling 110ft backflip on his very first drop. The sheer audacity and precision of this trick left everyone in awe. Another standout moment came from the duo of Robin Goomes and Harriet Burbidge-Smith, who executed a flawless backflip train on the step-up feature. These moments showcased the true power and skill of these riders, pushing the boundaries of what was previously thought possible.

Photo By Eric Palmer

Spank Bikes Best Whip: Dan Paley and Vinny Armstong

Dan Paley and Vinny Armstrong stole the show with their jaw-dropping whips. Paley, in particular, was holding it down all week with some of the most insane leaned-out whips ever seen on the Darkfest course. Unfortunately, he suffered a severe injury during the event, breaking his leg and wrist. A GoFundMe has been set up to help cover his medical expenses, and support from the MTB community has been pouring in.

Click here if you’d like to donate towards Dan’s medical bills.

Photo By Eric Palmer

GoPro Best Run: Bienvenido Aguado

Bienvenido Aguado’s flawless run earned him the GoPro Best Run award. His technical prowess and smooth style stood out among a field of incredibly talented riders. Aguado’s performance truly captured the essence of freeride MTB and left the crowd in awe of his skills.

Photo By Eric Palmer

Kenda Mind Bender (Best Trick) Award: Kurtis Downs

Kurtis Downs amazed everyone with his world-first, FMX-inspired trick. He executed a Nothing to Double Grab (Holy-Grab) to Rock Solid, a trick that had never been done before on a downhill bike. The creativity and innovation displayed by Downs earned him the Kenda Mind Bender Award for the best trick of Darkfest 2024. This groundbreaking maneuver pushed the boundaries of what is possible in the world of freeride MTB.

Pinkeye Vision Biggest Burke: Vero Sandler

Vero Sandler claimed the Pinkeye Vision Biggest Burke award with a spectacular display of bravery and skill. Sandler conquered the massive jumps and drops of Darkfest 2024, showcasing her fearless riding and determination. Her achievement is a testament to the incredible talent of female mountain bikers and the progress being made in the sport.

Photo By Eric Palmer

Darkfest 2024 was an incredible event that showcased the very best of freeride mountain biking. From mind-blowing tricks to heart-stopping crashes, the riders pushed the boundaries of what is possible on two wheels. The event was not without its challenges, with changing wind directions and high temperatures testing the riders’ skills and endurance. Despite the obstacles, Darkfest 2024 set the tone for a year of fast-paced progression and groundbreaking tricks. The rider-voted awards honored those who pushed their personal limits for victory and glory, further cementing Darkfest‘s reputation as the premier event in the world of freeride MTB.

Stay tuned for the full video highlights of Darkfest 2024, coming soon. Until then, let’s celebrate the riders, their incredible achievements, and the spirit of freeride MTB that continues to inspire riders around the world.

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Kurhula David Ngobeni

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