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With a terrifying drop of over 100 feet, Red Bull Hardline 2024's Canyon Gap MTB jump is huge, but is it asking too much of riders who already risk life and limb?

 Jim Monro racing Red Bull Hardline 2022.
Jim Monro racing Red Bull Hardline 2022.

Red Bull Hardline 2024 is happening this weekend and the excitement is building for the toughest and arguably the best downhill mountain bike event on the planet. After Red Bull Hardline 2023 was canceled due to adverse weather, and this year also being the event's 10th anniversary, the Dan Atherton-designed track has seen the 2.3km course being taken up a level, and it has undergone some major changes for this weekend's event.

The new Canyon Gap is the standout feature and is quite an incredible site to see, measuring 70ft across with a reported 100ft+ drop down to the rocks and river below. Anyone who has seen the jaw-dropping footage of test riders Bernard Kerr, Matt Jones and Jim Monro would have viewed it with amazement and total respect for these guys who were the first over this previously untested jump. It also appeared to have very little in the way of safety coverage, with just a few crash mats placed at the bottom of the drop.

However, it soon took a shocking turn as the footage of Jim Monro flying over the 70ft Canyon Gap after having bailed from his bike went viral. Jim was seen taking on the gap before being jettisoned from his MTB and flying across with flailing arms and legs in what looked like a desperate attempt to clear the gap before slamming into the landing deck on the other side. Thankfully his bike was the only victim of the drop. The massive crash landing was witnessed by numerous riders including Gee Atherton who described it as one of the biggest he'd seen for a long time and resulted in a hospital visit and Jim escaping with 'just a concussion'.

The clue is in the name, Hardline is without a doubt hard. The invited riders are the best in the downhill MTB business, but the questions being asked across social media were – has it gone too far? Is the risk just too much? Riders have done and do bigger jumps, Darkfest for example features way longer jumps, but the attention Red Bull Hardline gets means this jump and potential consequences for the riders have been thrown into the spotlight of opinion.

The rider list was also revealed at the weekend and these guys are more than capable and professional, but I’m sure many will be questioning long and hard whether they want to take on the Canyon Gap, especially after seeing the Monro footage and when under the pressure of competition, hitting that gap for real mid-run, with their adrenaline pumping and the clock ticking if it's worth the risk.

I’ll be on site this weekend photographing the event and I’m excited as most fans of mountain biking will be, but I’ll have mixed feelings on viewing riders hitting the Canyon Gap. Even with the build team making adjustments to the launch lip and a safety net reportedly being installed, it’ll still be an intense and nervous viewing experience. We can only hope everyone will clear it with ease and they probably will, but does it mean the stakes get raised still further for next year too?

Red Bull Hardline 2024 full rider list

  • Ronan Dunne, IRL

  • Bernard Kerr, UK

  • Brook MacDonald, NZL

  • Charlie Hatton, UK

  • Adam Brayton, UK

  • Craig Evans, UK

  • Theo Erlangsen, SA

  • Matteo Iniguez, FRA

  • Juanfer Velez, COL

  • Gaetan Vige, FRA

  • Jim Monro, UK

  • Matt Jones, UK

  • Edgar Briole, FRA

  • George Brannigan, NZ

  • Sam Gale, NZ

  • Jono Jones, UK

  • Sam Blenkinsop, NZ

  • Brendan Fairclough, UK

  • Josh Bryceland, UK

  • Dennis Luffman, UK

  • Sam Hockenhull, UK

  • Josh Lowe, UK

  • Taylor Vernon, UK

  • Thibault Laly, FRA

  • Thomas Genon, BEL

  • Szymon Godziek, POL

  • Sebastian Holguin, COL

  • Alex Storr, UK

  • Vincent Tupin, FRA

  • Harry Molloy, UK

  • Matteo Iniguez, FRA

Red Bull Hardline will be broadcast live globally on Red Bull TV on Sunday 2nd June. Ahead of the event, fans can enjoy the week’s best action from course walks and practice on Red Bull Bike YouTube ahead of the main event.

For further Red Bull Hardline ticket information, live screening locations, rider updates and more visit RedBull.com.