Every year, it seems like, the Sports Backers dream up something new for Dominion Riverrock — the outdoor sports and music festival that returns to Brown’s Island next weekend. This year is no different, except that it’s Red Bull that did the dreaming.
The energy drink company, and promoter of insane outdoor physical feats, is bringing “Berm Burners” to Riverrock Saturday and Sunday (May 17 and 18) for its world premiere. The individual head-to-head pursuit, dirt-cycling competition, as a press release said, will test riders “core abilities on a dirt cyclone of moto whoops housed between two fast, steep berms.”
Thirty professional riders will compete in the qualifying round, in a five-lap heat. Sixteen riders with the fastest heat times will then compete in the Red Bull Berm Burners Pro Finals, in a head-to-head format. In addition to the professional race, the Red Bull Berm Burners open amateur race will take place on May 18. Cyclists from all age groups and classes are welcome to enter. Race format for the qualifiers and finals will follow the same format as the professional race.
Red Bull has hired renowned pump track builder Dave King to construct the track. When I caught up with King working on a project in Pennsylvania last week, he described the concept as “pretty simple.”
“It’s gonna be an oval pump track….with pretty close to vertical berms and then to connect the berms there will be a series of rollers. (The) rideable surface is probably about 90 feet long, 30 feet across. It’s gonna be real tight. That’s kind of the whole point.””
King said the 150 tons of dirt he’ll need to create the track will be dropped off above Historic Tredegar this weekend, and he’ll get started on the construction on Sunday.
“I’ll just use a Bobcat and lay it out, then I’ll hand shape it,” he explained. “Then I have a plate compactor and an ATV with car tires. That helps roll everything in, makes it real smooth.”