Red Bull Night Shift

Riders meeting before qualifying

No fear is the best way to describe the Red Bull Night Shift. From sunrise to dusk the day was full of bikers pushing their abilities to make the fastest time to the finish line. It was an event all about the riders, Red Bull catered to those who came out for the downhill mountain bike race.

It was a blast to watch my friends practice for qualifying. As I walked the trails it was hard to believe most of the riders would race at night on a trail consisting of multiple table tops, 20 ft. gaps, and a 10 ft. drop.

Brandon Blakely at one of the 20' gaps on the course

The course was intimidating in the daylight, my angst for the riders was only heightened at night. The vibe of the race was chill.  The atmosphere was friendly and welcoming with music playing all day long and food and drinks provided for everyone.

Pedaling at high speeds and maneuvering through harrowing turns, the rider’s skills were put to the test by the challenging course.  The riders mounted headlamps on their helmets and floodlights were placed at certain drops and gaps throughout the course to help with visibility. those who qualified to race received a custom Red Bull Night Shift jersey with a number on the back.

Me with Pro DH rider Shaums March
The crew from WCU was ecstatic at the fact they got a jersey at a race with no entry fee. Red Bull does it right my friends. Professional downhill rider, Shaums March, was at the event stylin’ on the trails. He told me he had the wrong bike for the Clemson trails, yet when I saw him on ride there seemed to be no problems. But what do I know….

Matt Harshman and Brandon Blakely, both students at Western Carolina University qualified to race. Blakely placed 6th overall while Harshman got 19th. They are both pleased to have just qualified.

Matt Harshman at the last drop on the course

Harshman was just happy to have stepped up to hitting the larger stunts and features in the course.  He said he wasn’t worried about speed, he just wanted to focus on clearing the jumps and landing them consistently.

Blakely’s obstacle was finding the energy to do two qualifying runs and two race runs later, with practicing in between it all.  He was thankful Red Bull set of lights at the major jumps. Even though it wasn’t much, it was enough for him to be able to get the job done.

The flash a little bright for the spectators

Students from Western Carolina came out to watch the competition. It’s cool to see  a group of friends come out to support each other at events like such as Red Bull Night Shift.

All in all, it was a great day. Speed, vert, and wrecks…can’t get much better. Huckin’ it boys.


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