The 2021 FMB World Tour season has brought with it many highlight moments, from incredible riding at the highest level to sportsmanship and community to the introduction of mind-blowingly talented young riders ready to take the mountain biking world by storm. If a singular person were to encompass everything that this past year represents, with its many twists and turns and ups and downs, it would be the 2021 Red Bull Rookie of the Year.
The Red Bull Rookie of the Year is a rider who whole-heartedly embraces the spirit of mountain biking, pushing for progression in the sport, both from an individual and holistic perspective. Committed to growth, determined to learn, and exhilarated by any opportunity to move forward towards something greater, the Red Bull Rookie of the Year has anything but a rookie mindset.
Riders, your perseverance and fight through an extremely long and challenging year leaves us ecstatic to share some good news: a new Red Bull Rookie of the Year has been named. The international competition saw Alejandro Bonafe rise amongst his competitors to showcase an amount of skill, style, and composure that truly set him apart.
Bonafe will now have the chance to ride amongst the pros at one of the biggest Slopestyle competitions in the world - the Crankworx FMBA Slopestyle World Championship stop in Innsbruck, Austria. In 2022, Bonafe will join the likes of Emil Johansson, Nicholi Rogatkin, and Erik Fedko, as they hope to score big in front of the Austrian crowd, and the world watching on Red Bull TV.
Although still trying to process his remarkable feat, Alejandro walked us through everything he’s experiencing, coming down from the past year and celebrating his phenomenal season to starting to plan for 2022 and the riding ahead.
First off, you are the 2021 Red Bull Rookie of the Year. How does that title sit for you?? Is it settling in yet?
“I’m beyond stoked to have won this title, but to be honest, I still can’t believe it.”
What went through your mind when you found out that you were the 2021 Red Bull Rookie of the Year?
“When I saw the email, it felt like a dream. I have been waiting for this moment for a long time!”
For those who don’t know you, beyond being an incredibly talented rider, can you introduce yourself?
“Well… I’m 22 years old from Ibiza, but now I’m living in Barcelona. Apart from riding bikes, I am also passionate about diving and the ocean; I’m studying to get a ship captain’s license. I also really enjoy travelling with the camper and sleeping anywhere I want.”
What were your expectations for the 2021 FMB World Tour season, if any?
“Just ride all the events I can and try to do my best every time.”
As you progressed throughout the season, did your goals or mindset change?
“Not really. This is something that I have been working on, in order to achieve this goal, and finally the hard work paid off.”
Have you found it challenging staying focused this season, with the extra challenges that have been going on in the world? If yes, how did you rise above it all?
“For sure, the COVID-19 pandemic is something that has had an impact on everyone, but we have to adapt our life to new circumstances.”
How does having the opportunity to compete at the Crankworx FMBA Slopestyle World Championship contest in Innsbruck, Austria make you feel?
“Ufff… It makes me feel so happy and motivated. It is actually impossible to put it into words.”
Why is the Red Bull Rookie of the Year Award such an important initiative in the mountain biking community?
“I think it [provides] a lot of opportunities because it is the most important event in the sport and only the best riders in the world can participate. So, it helps to raise the level [of riding] and make the bike scene bigger.”
Who are the riders you’ve looked up to who have helped get you to where you are?
“I grew up watching Andreu Lacondeguy and Xavier “Sherwy” Pasamonte. As a kid, I just wanted to do the same [as them,] but now [I’m] 22 years old and still have the same mindset, haha! Now I can say that I’m lucky to have Sherwy as one of my best friends - he taught me a lot along the way - and of course this wouldn't be possible without my family.”
What are your plans for the off-season?
“After this amazing news, I only want to prepare myself for Crankworx. So, riding my spot “Morrilla” every day because I built it with the idea of getting closer to Crankworx type courses.”
Is there anything that you’re most looking forward to in the upcoming 2022 FMB World Tour season?
“For sure! Now I have another goal in mind, which is to ride Joyride and [get on] some podiums at Crankworx! I can’t really describe this moment right now… I just want to say thank you to everyone involved in this and that this is not the end.”
Red Bull Best Line Full Results
NOTE: The Red Bull Rookie of the Year title is awarded to the #1 ranked Rookie Athlete based on a combined score from the 2021 Rookie Rankings and results from their Best Line video submission. The below scores are averages of all scores submitted by the Red Bull Rookie of the Year Award judges.
Best Line Award Winner Voted by the People
NOTE: All Best Line video submissions were judged and ranked into finalists by an FMBA approved Judging Panel before releasing the top five to be voted on by FMB World Tour fans.
When it came to the best line of the season, it was up to the mountain biking community to determine the rider who would take home the title of Best Line Award Winner. 2021 saw riders from all over the globe submit clips featuring their four best hits and voters from around the world turn up (digitally) to cast their vote.
The weeklong battle for top spot was a close one, with the vote tally seeming to change on the daily, but ultimately, we saw Chance Moore secure his position as the 2021 Best Line Award winner, a title worth €750,00 in prize money. Moore was closely followed by Lukas Skiöld and Kaidan Ingersoll, who will receive €300,00 and €200,00 in prize money, respectively.
Rounding off the 2021 FMB World Tour season with a massive win, we connected with Chance to see what he had to say about his newfound title.
What were your goals for the 2021 FMB World Tour season?
“My goals for the 2021 FMB World Tour season was to compete and gain points but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there weren’t any events in Canada. Unfortunately, this also affected my ability to travel to events all over.”
How did you prepare yourself mentally to pull together the line that’s ultimately won you the 2021 Best Line Award?
“I have been training really hard all season and having lots of fun on my bike. I felt very prepared and ready from training all season.”
How did it feel to get the news that you’d won?
“My dad phoned me and told me that I had received an email saying that I won Best Line. I was so excited; the Best Line contest had such great riders with amazing talent. It is such an honour to win Best Line.”
Looking ahead to the 2022 season, how do you think this is going to impact you as a rider?
“I think more people will know who I am now and what I am capable of doing. I hope to compete and travel with friends to every event I can. My goal for 2022 is to compete in Diamond level FMB events and have lots of fun with fellow riders. I am stoked to see what the future holds, I can’t thank everyone enough for this amazing opportunity.”
Well riders, that officially closes out the 2021 FMB World Tour season. Congratulations to everyone on another incredible 12 months of racing, we’re already looking forward to 2022. We'll see you in the New Year, rested and ready to get back at it!