Crankworx Rotorua 2017 Wrap-Up

Stoke levels were high at Crankworx Rotorua.
Stoke levels were high at Crankworx Rotorua.

This year, Crankworx Rotorua played host to no less than seven different events, as well as numerous riding clinics and the huge expo area that’s open to the public everyday, showcasing the latest and greatest from brands across the world.

Competitors and spectators received a traditional Maori welcoming ceremony.
Competitors and spectators received a traditional Maori welcoming ceremony.

Let’s take a look back at all the action over the past week- is it too early to start getting excited for next year? 


Pump Track Challenge Highlights:

The Pump Track Challenge is always a crowd favourite due to its tight racing, which makes for awesome spectating.

Keegan Wright edges out Barry Nobles in front of a full house.
Keegan Wright edges out Barry Nobles in front of a full house.

This year’s event saw the best pump track course yet at Crankworx Rotorua, as well as a big field in both the men’s and women’s categories.

Jill Kintner was edged out by none other than Caroline Buchanan.
Jill Kintner was beaten in the final by none other than Caroline Buchanan.

New Zealand young gun Keegan Wright took out the men’s category, whilst Caroline Buchanan took out the women’s in a great start to what’s set to be a big year of mountain biking for Caroline. Check out some of the best shots from the event below!

Cody Kelley turns the style up to 11.
Cody Kelley turns the style up to 11.
Sage advice from pump track master Adrien Loron.
Sage advice from pump track master Adrien Loron.

Dual Speed and Style Highlights:

Dual Speed and Style is an event unique to Crankworx that draws together racers from all disciplines, as well as trick maestros competing in the Slopestyle, resulting in an interesting mix of approaches.

With time bonuses on offer for tricks, Dual Speed and Style sees some interesting match ups.
With time bonuses on offer for tricks, Dual Speed and Style sees some interesting match ups.

For 2017, the riders were praising changes made to the course that allowed for more speed and bigger jumps throughout.

The course was in absolutely prime condition.
The course was in absolutely prime condition.

Oceania Whip-Off Championship Highlights: 

The Oceania Whip-Off Championship was held under lights this year, and more riders than ever before lined up to get sideways off the massive step up.

Riders turned it on in front of a huge crowd at the Whip-Offs.
Riders turned it on in front of a huge crowd at the Whip-Off.

Young American Reed Boggs took out the main event, but there was so much style on offer that we don’t think we could’ve picked a winner! Have a look at some of the best shots, and see how many Aussies you can recognise.

Jackson Davis flies the VANZAC flag.
Jackson Davis flies the VANZAC flag.
These aren't your regular media squids.
These aren’t your regular media squids.
Reed Boggs and Casey Brown took the wins.
Reed Boggs and Casey Brown took the wins.
And it's not hard to see why.
And it’s not hard to see why.

Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza Recap: 

Crankworx slopestyle contests are arguably the highest profile events in our sport, attracting an audience within the mainstream media, and offering serious prize money.

The Kelly McGarry designed course once again played host to some insane trickery.
The Kelly McGarry designed course once again played host to some insane trickery.

The Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza at this year’s Crankworx Rotorua lived up to the hype. With Brett Rheeder and Thomas Genon out with injury, and Brandon Semenuk failing to get his run dialled, it was Nicholi Rogatkin who took the win ahead of some rising names in the sport.

Brandon Semenuk boosts through the trees.
Brandon Semenuk boosts through the trees.
It doesn't get much better than this.
It doesn’t get much better than this.

Rotorua Downhill Highlights:

The downhill track in Rotorua is a steep, gnarled mess at the best of times, but this year wet conditions made it a true test for all riders.

Loic Bruni mistimed the pond jump just a tad in practice.
Loic Bruni slightly mistimed the pond jump in practice.

Australian young gun Jack Moir came out on top in the men’s, dominating in the wet conditions in a strong showing of early season form, and securing yet another win from an Australian rider at the first Crankworx stop for 2017. Tracey Hannah made it an all-Australian affair on the top step by taking out the women’s.

Shark Attack Jack took the win in the downhill.
Shark Attack Jack took the win.
Two Australians on the top step.
Two Australians on the top step.

Air DH Recap:

The last event of Crankworx Rotorua 2017 was the Air DH event. Held on Skyline Rotorua’s Mr Black trail, riders jumped and pumped their way down the buttery smooth track that is similar to Whistler’s famous A-line.

Richie Rude shows Mr Black who's boss.
Richie Rude shows Mr Black who’s boss.
We think it's fitting to finish up with yet another shot of Casey Brown sending it- were excited for Les Gets already!
We think it’s fitting to finish up with yet another shot of Casey Brown sending it- we’re excited for Les Gets already!

Crankworx Rotorua is growing year by year, and once again it’s got us pumped for a big season of racing! The next stop on the Crankworx calendar is Crankworx Les Gets in June, and we can’t wait.

Crankworx Rotorua 2016 Deep Summer Photo Epic

The Deep Summer Photo Challenge dropped into Crankworx Rotorua for the first time in 2016, making the most of the cultural and geothermal hotbed of New Zealand. With incredible natural landscapes and an extremely strong mountain biking culture, the invited photographers found everything they needed to compose a stellar slideshow.

Casey Brown at the whip-offs.
Casey Brown at the whip-offs.

Over the course of the challenge, five mountain bike photographers had three days to put together an epic slideshow. Slideshow presentations then lit up the evening at Rotorua Skyline Gravity Park after the Crankworx Slopestyle Finals – and a massive crowd was able to experience deep summer in Rotorua through five different lenses.

The EWS returns to Crankworx Rotorua after a one year hiatus- it's all happening!
The EWS returns to Crankworx Rotorua this year after a one year hiatus- it’s all happening!

Deep Summer returns to Rotorua in 2017 with new photographers and a new location, and we can’t wait to witness it live in just a few weeks time- hopefully you’ll be there too! In the meantime, grab yourself a brew, pop the quality onto 1080 and check out all the action from last year!


Deep Summer Rotorua 2016 Simeon Patience:

Simeon Patience took the win at the Crankworx Rotorua Deep Summer Challenge, and it’s not hard to see why with his amazing blend of Rotorua’s unique landscape coupled with stellar looking trails.


Deep Summer Rotorua 2016 Sean Lee:

Australian Sean Lee is a name to watch out for in the future. For last year’s Deep Summer Challenge he teamed up with the Australian contingent of the Vanzacs crew.

Sean took out the people’s choice award, and it’s not hard to see why with his brilliant work showcasing all that Rotorua has to offer, from natural, technical trails, to carpet smooth jump lines. If you don’t have time to watch the full video, skip straight to four minutes for some pure magic.


Deep Summer Rotorua 2016 Zach Faulkner:

Zach Faulkner’s entry really focuses on the Rotorua community, and how the mountain biking lifestyle just plain fits with everyday life in this beautiful part of the world. It’s not all about the gnarliest lines and biggest jumps, it’s about having a good time on awesome trails with your mates.


Deep Summer Rotorua 2016 Callum Wood:

Callum Wood’s entry really showcases the talent that is on show at Crankworx Rotorua. It’s one of the things we love so much about the event, being able to go for a ride in the morning, and watch the world’s best riders do their thing with a beer in hand for the rest of the afternoon.

Crankworx Rotorua is just a few short weeks away, and to find out more about how you can join us there, head over to the Crankworx Rotorua website.

Crankworx Rotorua Lands an Enduro World Series Stop

The world’s elite international Enduro mountain bike racers return to the Whakarewarewa Forest this spring with the announcement Rotorua will, once again, be part of the Enduro World Series.

 

Part of the ever-expanding Crankworx Rotorua festival, the GIANT Toa Enduro brings more athletes, more stars and more industry power back to New Zealand as the eyes of the world tune in, and teams from around the world descend on Rotorua’s volcanic wonderland.

 

“The Enduro World Series is the epitome of sport,” says Crankworx General Manager Darren Kinnaird. “It’s adventurous. It’s competitive. And it is helping to grow a sector of mountain biking, which athletes can take part in at every level. This is where mountain biking is going and we’re thrilled Crankworx Rotorua will be able to host a stop this year.”

 

Dropping onto the area’s fern-crusted loam March 25 – 26, Rotorua’s famous “dirt gold” will have the honour of opening the eight-stop EWS season, as the GIANT Toa Enduro launches a circuit with stops in Australia, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, France, United States, Canada and Italy.

 

“Enduro riding and trail riding is Rotorua. That’s what we’re known for, and to have the world’s biggest enduro event here just feels right. Bringing in the EWS means Crankworx fans get to see all the top riders in the world sit on our cool shores and ride our cool trails,” says Tak Mutu, Crankworx Rotorua Event Organizer.

 

The extensive trail network of the Whaka Forest makes enduro racing a natural fit for Rotorua, and the discipline is already a highlight of the annual Crankworx festival.

 

Enduro is the fastest growing competitive discipline of mountain biking in the world. It combines a series of short downhill races, or stages, with cross-country liaisons, which see the athletes ride from the bottom of one stage to the top of the next; only the downhill sections are timed, with the fastest combined time determining the winner.

 

Featuring both professional and amateur riders, the EWS sanctions qualifying events in order for highly competitive amateur athletes to compete in the same event as the most elite riders. Qualifiers in New Zealand this December include Race 2 of the Giant 2W Gravity Enduro, run out of Rotorua by Neil Gellatly, as well as the Urge 3 Peaks Enduro in Dunedin run by Kashi Leuchs.

 

“Neil played an integral role in bringing our first EWS round to NZ in 2015, and the event sold out in just over two minutes,” says Mutu. “It was an epic event and we’re glad to see his contribution being recognized. He has truly helped ignite the sport here and elevate NZs position on the world race scene.”

 

Race delivery for 2017 will be coordinated by Tim Farmer, of Nduro Events, and the Crankworx Rotorua team, both local and international.

 

After a successful first and second year, Crankworx will expand to become a nine-day festival this spring—dates to be announced at the end of the summer.  The festival contributed $8 million to the Rotorua economy in 2016 and 4.6 million viewers tuned in internationally to its broadcast and highlight replays.

 

“It’s a natural progression to go longer to fit more events in,” says Mutu. “We will make sure anything outside our Skyline Gravity Park venue can handle whatever the weather throws at it, and we’ll be putting a good deal of focus on expanding the expo and social highlights.”


Mountain biking’s defining celebration descends on Skyline Rotorua Gravity Park each March. Crankworx Rotorua brings the world’s downhill, slopestyle and enduro legends together with the superfans, rising starts, industry innovators and the next generation of mountain bike riders for nine days of competition, concerts and mountain bike culture.

 

Anointed by dirt, powered by passion, the Crankworx World Tour travels to Rotorua, New Zealand, Les Gets, France and culminates in its Canadian home base of Whistler, B.C.

 

Tread among the gravity-fed. Join the bike-minded.
Crankworx.com

Video: World Firsts and Winning Runs at Crankworx Rotorua Slopestyle

Perfect conditions greeted the world’s best slopestylers on Saturday for the second edition of Crankworx Rotorua Slopestyle 2016. Warm sun bathed the Rotorua course while the wind kept at bay.

Sam Pilgrim performs during Crankworx 2016 in Rotorua, New Zealand on February 12, 2015
Sam Pilgrim performs during Crankworx 2016 in Rotorua, New Zealand on February 12, 2015
Participants during Crankworx 2016 in Rotorua, New Zealand on February 12, 2015
Participants during Crankworx 2016 in Rotorua, New Zealand on February 12, 2015

Crankworx Rotorua – Full Event Highlights

In its second year, Crankworx Rotorua put on a mighty show of awesome gravity racing with so many huge events on the doorstep of some of the world’s finest riding. Here’s how it went down.


A KIWI AND A QUEEN WIN BIG AT CRANKWORX ROTORUA ON DAY ONE.

Young gun Matt Walker and 2015 Queen of Crankworx the first winners of the five-day festival.

Fast trails and a good time vibe left athletes smiling as they pulled in from a pedal-heavy GIANT Toa Enduro at Crankworx Rotorua.

Coming into the event, GIANT rider Josh CARLSON (AUS) was riding strong, but New Zealand’s Matt Walker proved the unexpected victor, seeling the deal on the final stage, after placing eighth the year before and following fellow Kiwi, Carl Jones, in the cumulative standings for much of the race.25563854361_06aeef3193_z

“I was hoping for maybe a top 10 or top five, but to win is a bit of a surprise. I’ve been putting in quite a bit of hard work in the off season now and I guess it’s paying off, so I’m really happy,” said Walker. “It’s been a hard day, quite long tracks and it hasn’t suited my preparation, I guess, but I’m stoked on how today has gone. I’ve been having a lot of fun—it’s good times all round.”

Sharing the limelight, 2015 Queen of Crankworx Anneke BEERTEN (NED), proved her mettle, charging in to win with royal confidence.25563818391_7b75a55deb_z

Beerten admitted she is thrilled to have the monkey off her back, so to speak, with a win worthy of her 2015 success right out of the gate. She even dubbed the rough, off-camber trail of K2 easy, saying it was relaxing as it was short, making it less physically taxing for her, though its twists and turns bucked seasoned Kiwis Carl Jones and Brooke MacDonald right off. Overall, the day left her challenged, particularly on Stage 3.

“It was really physical, long, not a lot of flow at the bottom, so you had to work pretty hard,” she said, describing the stage from the finish line. “I thought (the race) was pretty cool… We had enough time between transfers. It was nice, with the whole group of girls we had riding together, the vibe was amazing.”25656530615_b36f092cf0_z 25029759723_b2fa1ed412_z 25563835711_a0594c0602_z 25029761463_d1d25e058b_z 25537770562_12b0eee609_z

Now an Enduro World Series qualifier, the race attracted a tenacious crowd of New Zealand riders who filled the ranks of the top five nicely with Eddie MASTERS, second, Sam BLENKINSOP, third, and Carl JONES, fifth in the men’s field. Beerten was the sole international rider in the women’s top five.

The Oceania Whip-Off Championships presented by Spank finished out the night on a high note – actually a very similar high to the year before. Ryan “R-Dog” HOWARD (USA) and Casey BROWN (CAN) repeated their wins, despite a monster new whip hit, which could have thrown a wrench in their programs.25664207655_5aa8b488e8_z 25638020266_b6518024fe_z 25664175365_632e5bee76_z

Howard said he figured the number of runs he logged and his double-trouble approach, whipping left and right, likely dialed it in, Brown might have had to step up her game to compete with one of the deepest female fields the event has ever seen were it not for her phenomenal skills.25638056276_ef657a10fa_z 25037409283_2b007bd0a1_z 25363320560_c1eda116dc_z 25664165815_78d572b90c_z 25638015286_75e04d2c69_z

“A lot more women came out this year and we were sending it on this jump. That’s an intimidating jump for anyone. It makes me so excited to see that,” she said.

The original creator of the event, judge Sven Martin, noted the purpose-built jump really pushed the riders and lead to some pretty amazing sideways actions with a big step-up, built for more risk, higher pop, and a sweet berm at the end to skid and spray the spectators.

“Every year it gets crazier and this was maybe the craziest year,” he said, noting R-Dog was considerably more sideways than one usually sees.

Men’s Results, GIANT Toa Enduro:
1. Matt Walker (NZL) 00:35:06
2. Eddie Masters (NZL) 00:35:31
3. Josh Carlson (AU) 00:35:34
4. Sam Blenkinsop (NZL) 00:35:42
5. Carl Jones (NZL) 00:35:42

Women’s results, GIANT Toa Enduro:
1. Anneke Beerten (NED) 00:40:38
2. Rae Morrison (NZL) 00:40:52
3. Annika Smail (NZL) 00:41:14
4. Vanessa Quin (NZL) 00:43:01
5. Katie O’Neill (NZL) 00:43:28

Men’s Results, Official Oceania Championships presented by Spank:
1. Ryan (R-Dog) HOWARD (USA)
2. Tyler McCAUL (USA)
3. Sam BLENKINSOP (NZL)

Women’s Results, Official Oceania Championships presented by Spank:
1. Casey BROWN (CAN)
2. Emilie SIEGENTHALER (SUI)
3. Karin PASTERER (AUT)

 


FIVE YEARS AWAY AND SLAVIK STILL STEALS THE WIN 

Mons Royale Dual Speed and Style delivers the first female winner in the sport.

Speed definitely blew style right out of the water in New Zealand during the Mons Royale Dual Speed and Style at Crankworx Rotorua Thursday, although the first female winner ever awarded in the sport brought her own flare to the track.

Thursday evening’s race saw Jill KINTNER (USA) top Casey BROWN (CAN) in the inaugural Dual Speed & Style women’s finals; however, it was fourcross dominator Tomas Slavik’s victorious return to Crankworx, which really stole the show.25061743533_5600192043_z

“I wasn’t expecting that I could win the race with just speed. Everyone was talking about what tricks they were going to do and I didn’t have any option; I’m a racer at heart and that’s what I do. For the next races, I hope to bring more tricks to make it even better for me,” said Slavik, who described his win as “unreal.”

It has been five years since Slavik competed at Crankworx and his approach, more dual slalom than slopestyle, proved just too efficient for the 2014 CLIF Bar Dual Speed and Style champion, Kyle Strait, who took out heavily favoured Swede Martin SOEDERSTROM (SWE) en route to second.25688389245_4929739c6f_z 25688384975_fcaec28f6f_z 25058046764_c4a41b900b_z 25688508185_38f96f925c_z 25662349996_a5821453e0_z 25387688250_b9c3bce99b_z

Speed and Style is a signature Crankworx creation, which challenges head-to-head competitors to balance the need for speed against extra points for stylish tricks, and Strait pulled out his best freestyle prowess as he tried to battle back from a 1.08 differential in the final run of the competition. Throwing down a low backflip barspin, then a double tailwhip, he pulled into the finish coral to find the cheers from the crowd were not enough. He finished .82 behind Slavik, after the cumulative total for the two runs was calculated, for second place.

The third place matchup, meanwhile, proved a hotbed of controversy after Adrien LORON (FRA) was disqualified in semi-final for a false start, forcing him to miss out on the finals. He argued he should be able to punch the gate before regrouping for a third place finish against Greg WATTS (USA).

“I did it and I was DQ’d and it happens. Few runs before, someone did it and no one said anything – no one complained about it. So I said okay, if someone else can do it, I can too,” explained Loron.

Bernard Kerr, Speed & Style World Championship in 2015, did not compete, having withdrawn due to shoulder injury.25547131452_72d4bcd1b9_z 25665867305_95053967e2_z 25573206491_654fe36d8e_z 25365018220_a5b3b95346_z 25039121333_3f42bd709f_z

Kintner, who has admitted to chasing hard for the Queen of Crankworx 2016, was thrilled to take the first female win in the sport and her first win in the 2016 Crankworx World Tour season.

“It’s cool to pioneer a new discipline. It’s not an easy event. These kickers are big and a lot different to what we’re used to. I’m glad it was just for speed, and not style, cause I’m sure Brown would have had something to say about that,” she said as the event ended.

Men’s winner:
1. Tomas SLAVIK (CZE)
2. Kyle STRAIT (USA)
3. Adrien LORON (FRA)

Women’s winner:
1. Jill KINTNER (USA)
2. Casey BROWN (CAN)


LEMOINE SECURES A CRANKWORX WIN AND KINTNER HER RIGHTFUL PLACE ON TOP

A new crowd-pleasing hero thrills the fans in the Crankworx Rotorua Pump Track Challenge presented by RockShox

After many near wins, Tomas LEMOINE (FRA) finally has his first Crankworx gold medal, and five-time pump track queen Jill KINTNER (USA) her redemption, after an epic Rotorua Pump Track Challenge presented by RockShox at Crankworx Rotorua Friday night.

“I’m pretty stoked because I’ve wanted this win for so long. I’m always like third, fourth and this time I won. So I’m pretty stoked. It’s like living a dream,” said Lemoine, whose triumphant shine could only be matched by the fourth place finisher Conor MAHUIKA (NZ).25082543043_1760994172_z 25408417290_4a1312dfd2_z

A rider from the local pump track,16-year-old Mahuika spent almost as much time waving to the crowd and smiling for his new-found fans as he did racing, and it took him until the quarter finals to hit a match up where he would have to make up time.

“I’m stoked to even be fourth. I’m used to jumping the dirt jumps, not going fast. I’m just stoked. This is the first event I’ve ever tried on a pump track. I haven’t had any practice, except yesterday, and a bit today. Seems to be working – kind of,” he laughed.

On the contrary, the women’s race proved a battle of veterans and a rare life do-over for Kintner, who caught her tire and never got out of the gate in the final matchup against 2015 Queen of Crankworx and eventual Pump Track Challenge Champion Anneke BEERTEN (NED) in the inaugural Rotorua competition.25082567293_bc554eecd2_z 25078762394_5cf893fbac_z 25588156902_95058b93ff_z 25709184295_e8997201f6_z 25709155795_8e4c09a599_z

“Last year I didn’t even get a proper race. Feels good to be back here and Anneke is a great competitor—and a worthy opponent. I love racing her, and racing here; it’s always good pressure for the final with the two of us,” she said.

The pump track capped off an action-packed day at the festival with the newest Crankworx event, the Crankworx Rotorua Air DH, giving the pros a chance to race with the Rotorua riding community on Skyline Gravity Park’s jump-laden answer to the Whistler Bike Park’s Aline trail, Mr. Black.

Designed to mirror the Crankworx Whistler Fox Air DH, the race was a 32-jump rip down the mountain and the winner, rocked up, signed up and dialed it in.

“They’ve used the hill really well. It’s quite a flat hill, but it still carries speed everywhere, so they’ve done a really good job,” said George BRANNIGAN (NZL), noting he hopes more pros sign on in years to come and the event builds.

Female winner Rae MORRISON (NZL), a top-10 Enduro World Series rider, said she loved it.

“That was my final event, so it was all about having fun, and after this I can be social and spectate,” she said.

Points are stacking up as the Crankworx season kicks off its four series events and the race for King and Queen of Crankworx. New Zealand’s very own Matt WALKER is coming on strong, leading the race for King, while Kintner, Brown and Beerten are battling it out for Queen. Points to be updated shortly.

Men’s winner, Crankworx Rotorua Pump Track presented by RockShox
1. Tomas LEMOINE (FRA)
2. Adrien LORON (FRA)
3. Matt WALKER (NZL)

Women’s winner, Crankworx Rotorua Pump Track presented by RockShox
1. Jill KINTNER (USA)
2. Anneke BEERTEN (NED)
3. Tracey HANNAH (AUS)

Men’s winner, Crankworx Rotorua Air DH
1. George BRANNIGAN (NZL)
2. Louis HAMILTON (NZL)
3. Fabien COUSINIE (FRA)

Women’s winner, Crankworx Rotorua Air DH
1. Rae MORRISON (NZL)
2. Ronja HILL-WRIGHT (AUS)
3. Jessica JAMIESON (NZL)


BRANDON SEMENUK NOW HOLDS FOUR DIFFERENT CRANKWORX FESTIVAL GOLDS

Even Nicholi Rogatkin’s brand new signature trick, ‘The Twister’’, couldn’t steal top spot  

The man who wrote the book on Slopestyle penned himself a new first, Saturday, as the inaugural winner of the Kelly McGarry Memorial Trophy at Crankworx Rotorua.25708289306_8bc2d74bb1_z

Brandon SEMENUK’s effortless performance bested even Nicholi ROGATKIN’s groundbreaking 1080, dubbed “The Twister”, on an afternoon no one in the bike community will soon forget.

The competition opened with all 18 riders executing a train in honour of rider Kelly McGARRY – a back-to-back run down the course. McGarry was both the designer and builder of the Rotorua Slopestyle course, with Elevate business partner Tom Hey. His passing in early-February, was the only cloud on a stunningly perfect afternoon at Skyline Gravity Park—the weather itself a tribute to the rider known for his golden locks and sunny disposition.

“He was an amazing person and a really good friend of mine. I spent a lot of time with him, rode with him. He was the happiest soul I know,” said Semenuk, who noted the tribute and win were pretty perfect for him as well.

25708247826_2835a677f6_z 25708184526_a8cd24b3e1_z
Following a moment of silence, an announcement was made that the competition will be known as the Crankworx Rotorua Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza moving forward, and the riders met the occasion by raising the competition to the highest level. From Semenuk to Rogatkin to the man who challenged the Triple Crown of Slopestyle in 2015, Brett RHEEDER, it appeared everyone was ready to pull out new tricks, pull oppo (opposite) approaches and generally push the envelope.

“I’m so excited to come back and get a good run on the course. The track’s been awesome. Last year, I had a big crash and didn’t get to do my second run, which was a bummer, so it’s nice to be able to come back and walk away unscathed,” said Semenuk.

Social media blew up well before the man known for owning Joyride came through to accept his win, the fans clearly declaring a preference for Rogatkin’s envelope-pushing trick. In interview after the competition, the riders indicated it was Semenuk’s consistency and grace, which secured the win over the phenomenal single hit.25595931462_0ab2ecfe5c_z 25416216910_2e9c4c06e7_z 25716936855_5989e34b21_z 25086538314_f0d1aa5f31_z 25595918632_0ed933d447_z 25595917662_3ab7ca35fe_z

“Between those two runs, one guy had absolutely perfect execution, but one had some trick difficulty—being Rogatkin—with a little inconsistency. Tough, tough fight between the judges, between first and second, but once it came down to it, trick for trick, it was Semenuk,” said Paul Rak, head judge.25595930952_951623971d_z

For his part, Rogatkin appeared non-shuffed.

“…It feels insane to be the first to do (The Twister) in the contest and to have the support of the crowd and the guys… feels amazing,” he said.

The Slopestyle event is to be followed by entertainment from DJ Nero and PDiggs and the Deep Summer Rotorua Photo Challenge. Deep Summer challenges the industry’s best photographers to assemble a team of riders to build the most creative photography slideshow possible. The shows will be assembled by competitors Zach FAULKNER (USA), Callum WOOD (GBR), Simeon PATIENCE (NZL) and Sean LEE (AUS).

Crankworx Rotorua Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza
1. Brandon SEMENUK (CAN)
2. Nicholi ROGATKIN (USA)
3. Brett RHEEDER (CAN)


LOIC BRUNI SECURES SECOND CRANKWORX DH VICTORY IN NEW ZEALAND

Matt Walker finished Crankworx Rotorua in the lead for King of Crankworx, Kintner comes on strong for Queen

The New Zealand fans were going wild as the Crankworx Rotorua Downhill presented by iXS unfolded Sunday afternoon with three top Kiwi riders making a play for a solid home-crowd podium, until Frenchman Loic BRUNI showed up.

The victor during the inaugural Crankworx Rotorua downhill last year, Bruni managed two of the Crankworx DH wins in 2015. Standing on the sidelines following his race, he looked at a packed crowd and noted he was thrilled the fans returned for the final day of the festival, after a huge crowd took in the memorial for Kelly McGarry, Slopestyle event and the Deep Summer Rotorua Photo Challenge Saturday.25113427004_136f02a46a_z

“I feel good. I changed bikes, which is a big change. I’ve been working a lot and training again. Starting a season with a good feeling is a good way to start,” said Bruni. “I’m definitely starting to like New Zealand and the day has been pretty good.”

He bested George BRANNIGAN (NZL), second, and Brook MACDONALD (NZL), third for the win.

Sitting in first spot for the women, Jill KINTNER (USA) was out to build better memories in Rotorua, after a challenging 2015 where she caught a tire in a gate on the pump track to place second, and injured herself on the downhill course in practice.25717216306_d64d7f7a0c_z 25112840894_3684a66003_z 25116644123_55208ed892_z 25136257884_ee8e4fb39e_z 25136219004_5571963ed2_z

“That one was a little bit unexpected, actually, so it feels a lot more fulfilling than any (of the) other wins,” she said, after pulling into top spot.. “Downhill wins – that’s like something special for me, especially with Tracey, Casey and Emilie, such good quality chicks, to compete against, and such a big stage and live feed.

“…This whole event was no joke, too. You just look at the whip jump. There’s a lot of demons you have to conquer here. And, plus, I had to go down that section where I got hurt and I had to work it out, so I’m proud of myself for overcoming a lot of things and doing new things, and massive jumps, and coming out on top. So this one means a lot to me.”

She beat out Tracey HANNAH (AUS) and Casey BROWN (CAN), and added a third first place win to her docket for the festival. She moves into a strong position at the top of the Queen of Crankworx standings, while Kiwi rider Matt WALKER (NZL) has the lead, by 75 points, in the King of Crankworx standings.

Like Kintner, Walker is very clear he’s trying to pack in as many events this season to target the crown as possible.

“It was a pretty big goal of mine coming in. Last year I gave it a nudge, but it was just too hard trying to juggle getting bikes, and getting used to bikes. Now I’ve got the proper support this year, and so I’m getting used to my bikes and really working hard toward that overall,” said Walker.

The Crankworx Rotorua action wrapped up following the downhill event, with the next festival slated to roll out from June 15–19. It will be the beginning of a new chapter for the Crankworx World Tour as it launches the inaugural Crankworx Les Gets, bringing the festival to Portes du Soleil region of the French Alps.

Men’s standings Crankworx Rotorua Downhill presented by iXS
1. Loic BRUNI (FRA)                          2:38.77
2. George BRANNIGAN (NZL)          2:41.20
3. Brook MACDONALD (NZL)           2.41.96
4. Sam BLENKINSOP (NZL)              2:43.71
5. Matt WALKER (NZL)                      2:44.38

Women’s standings Crankworx Rotorua Downhill presented by iXS
1. Jill KINTNER (USA)                                    3:09.55
2. Tracey HANNAH (AUS)                 3:14.39
3. Casey BROWN (CAN)                   3:19.84
4. Emilie SIEGENTHALER (SUI)        3:20.97
5. Alanna COLUMB (NZL)                 3:25.78


Mountain biking’s defining celebration descends on Skyline Rotorua Gravity Park March 9-13, 2016. Crankworx Rotorua brings the world’s downhill, slopestyle and enduro legends together with the superfans, rising stars, industry innovators and the next generation of mountain bike riders for five days of competition, concerts, and mountain bike culture.

Anointed by dirt, powered by passion, the Crankworx World Tour travels to Rotorua, New Zealand, Les Gets, France and culminates in its Canadian home base of Whistler, B.C.

Tread among the gravity-fed. Join the bike-minded.

Crankworx.com

CrankWorld Tour Announces New Stop for 2016 – Les Gets

Les Gets, France brings Crankworx to a legendary Downhill hotspot

Dates announced for Crankworx Rotorua, Crankworx Les Gets and Crankworx Whistler

The podiums have been put away, but the Champagne keeps popping as the three-stop Crankworx World Tour announces it’s adding Les Gets, France to the family.

Nestled in the 12-resort Portes du Soleil circuit, straddling the French-Swiss border, Les Gets is a pioneer mountain biking destination for both mountain bike tourists and racers.

“Back in the ’80s, Les Gets was one of the first regions in the world to use its lifts to shuttle riders, and its 2004 UCI World Championships is the stuff of legends. This is a location steeped in the culture and history of our sport and we are thrilled to be adding the region to the World Tour,” says Darren Kinnaird, Crankworx World Tour general manager.

Having hosted five World Cups and numerous French nationals, mountain biking fans the world over are well familiar with its steep, verdant alpine. And its World Championship is remembered as the beginning of Frenchman Fabien Barel’s Downhill dominance, and his storied rivalry with British rider Steve Peat.

The resort hosts 95 kilometres of bike trail, has three dedicated lifts and is only an hour’s ride from the Geneva airport, giving it the classic Crankworx touch: a place to ride the best terrain alongside the best riders in the world, while watching the world’s best racing.

“We are delighted to welcome the European leg of the prestigious Crankworx World Tour,” says Henri Anthonioz, Mayor of the resort. “We pride ourselves on being great organizers and hosts. This event will be an exceptional feast for mountain biking fans with spectacular races in the heart of the village and a rich entertainment program.”

The Crankworx World Tour arrives one week before the 80 km Passport du Soleil race. With a family pump track already built for the village square, and riders en route for the 12th year of the Passport, it is expected the inaugural Les Gets festival will draw epic crowds of all ages right out of the gate.

The 2016 season marks the sophomore year of the Crankworx World Tour and the return of its four-series format, the Triple Crown of Slopestyle and the race to crown the next King and Queen of the Crankworx World Tour.

There is now a whole slate of champions ready to defend their titles in the Crankworx DH Championships, the Pump Track Challenge Series, the Speed & Style World Championships and the Crankworx Slopestyle Championships. And its expected the Queen of the Crankworx World Tour, Anneke Beerten, and King of the Crankworx World Tour, Bernard Kerr, will be looking to up the ante once more to hang on to their new status as the top all-round mountain bike athletes in the world.

Once again, each race series will be worth $5000 to the rider who earns the title, with a $5000 bonus available to the downhill rider who can win all four races in the DH series. DH is the only discipline with an extra race on the docket.

As the marquee event of Crankworx, Slopestyle will continue to be a focal point in 2016. The Crankworx Slopestyle Championship will be worth $25,000 with an additional $25,000 prize up for grabs for the rider who can win all three Slopestyle events to secure the elusive Triple Crown of Slopestyle. The honour has yet to be bestowed.

Crankworx arrives in Rotorua, New Zealand one week earlier this year to run March 9-13, 2016, and will hit Les Gets, France in June for a June 15-19, 2016 run. It returns to its Whistler home base in British Columbia, Canada for a 10-day event staged August 12-21, 2016.

Tickets for Crankworx Rotorua are on sale on Crankworx.com, with early bird pricing as follows:

  • Multi-Day Adult: $69NZD five-day pass
  • Multi-Day Child (5-14 years): $49 five-day pass
  • One-day pass adult: $40
  • One-day child pass: $30

*Passes include Skyline Rotorua gondola access for the duration of the pass.

Prices will go up after December 31, 2015, and VIP passes will be released in early 2016.