It has been a long season, full of eager anticipation from those tracking the Red Bull Rookie Men’s and Women’s Standings with a watchful eye. The points have been tallied and new Red Bull Rookie of the Year (ROTY) Award winners are ready to be revealed. Without further ado, the 2022 Male and Female Red Bull ROTY Award winners are Felix Tornqvist (SWE), Alma Wiggberg (SWE), and Michaela Hájková (CZE).
The title Red Bull ROTY is awarded to the number one ranked Male and Female Rookie Athlete based on the year end 2022 Red Bull Rookie Rankings. This year, the Freeride Mountain Bike Association (FMBA) will award two Female Red Bull ROTY awards in recognition of the unbreakable tie between Wiggberg and Hájková due to their 2022 FMB World Tour season stats being the same.
Male Red Bull Rookie of the Year
With 915 points after a season featuring a third-place finish at O Marisquino and a second-place finish at Muret Bike Show, Felix Tornqvist found himself atop the FMBA Red Bull Rookie Men’s Standings. While Felix is no stranger to mountain biking, sharing in FMB Silver and Gold level podiums during his first season of competition is something he will never forget. “To get to step on the podium at O Marisquino was an unreal feeling, especially seeing the level of riding going on there. And to improve my run at the Muret Bike Show and get second place shortly after getting third at O Marisquino was incredible.”
Entering the 2022 FMB World Tour season with few expectations, the newly awarded Male Red Bull ROTY left with more than he anticipated. “I had zero expectations for this year, since it’s my first year competing, and I just wanted to have as much fun possible on my bike. The results that came along with it are a pure bonus from my perspective. The title 2022 Male Red Bull Rookie of the Year, represents to me that what I’m doing so far is good, and that I should keep going in this direction moving forward towards the next year!”
With next year’s season on the horizon, and a coveted wildcard spot to the first Crankworx Slopestyle event of 2023 already in hand, the Swede is focused on the future. “I am really grateful to get the opportunity to show what I can do at one of the biggest competitions that Slopestyle has to offer. I can´t even imagine how it would feel to get a full run through the course. I will use the off-season to continue to improve my riding, get more comfortable with the tricks I already know, and learn new tricks for the season to come.”
Female Red Bull Rookie of the Year
An unbreakable tie between Alma Wiggberg and Michaela Hájková ushers the Female Red Bull ROTY Award in with a bang. With two titles being awarded during the first year that a Female Red Bull ROTY Award is on offer, women’s freeride continues to grow at an exponential rate.
Swedish rider, Alma Wiggberg, found herself as one of the two riders atop the FMBA Red Bull Rookie Women’s Standings with 270 points after the 2022 FMB World Tour season. Feeling “overall very happy with the season,” a second-place finish at Zuri Dirt Contest was a large contributing factor in her achieving the goals she set out for herself this season. “One of my main goals for this year was to spend more time on the Dirt Jump and take part in some Slopestyle events. Even though the season has been filled with lots of ups and downs due to a remaining injury, I feel like I’ve gotten a good taste of it all, which I’m bringing with me to the 2023 season.”
On the growth that we can expect within the FMB World Tour Women’s Division, Wiggberg is feeling excited for the future. “I know that this year has awakened the interest in Slopestyle from more and more females around the world. I think we can expect a lot of new faces on the upcoming World Tour. And of course, also new tricks that haven’t been shown at competitions or events on the female side before.” The stylish rider finishing that she too has “a couple tricks that [she] would like to tick off.”
Also atop the FMBA Red Bull Rookie Women’s Standings was fellow competitor Michaela Hájková, with 270 points after her second-place finish at Birell BikeFest. “I couldn’t be happier about Birell BikeFest; the course was the most challenging I have ever ridden. In the end, it was a really amazing event and a big accomplishment for me.” To add to her list of accomplishments for the 2022 FMB World Tour Season is the title Female Red Bull ROTY, which came completely unexpectedly. “It’s really exciting and I didn’t think I would be up for title, certainly not next to Alma [Wiggberg] because she is so good on her bike, so it’s such an honour for me.”
Already focused on what next year will bring, with the goal of competing at many more FMBA sanctioned events, Hájková considers the title a “big motivation to work hard on her tricks for the next season.” The Czechia rider continued with what she’ll be working on during the offseason, from “backflips to trying to learn a 360 and hoping [she] can get some combos.” She’s also got her sights set on the future of women’s freeride, noting that “it’s unbelievable how fast women’s freeride is growing and, in a few years, there might be women starting in Diamond [level] events.”
“I can’t wait ‘til it happens!”
Neither can we.