Five Rad Days in Rotorua, Part 4

The fourth of our Five Rad Days in Rotorua got started with some serious off-bike adrenaline, as we jet-boated, bungee-swinged, sky dived (kinda) and got sent flying down a hill inside a massive, inflatable golf ball thingo! It was quite the way to start the day! We’d hoped the morning’s madness would just be warm up for an afternoon of action at the Slopestyle, but you can’t fight the weather, and rain has seen the main event pushed back to tomorrow.

Velocity Valley is where you head if you’re looking for a serious thrill off the bike. The misty morning tells the tale of a wet afternoon to come.
5ooo,000 horse power! (Well, lots anyhow). Feeling the mad g-forces in the Agrojet at Velocity Valley.
It’s crazy feeling taking on the faux sky dive.
This is the face of pure fear. Shitting bricks on the Swoop giant swing.
Just next door the Crankworx site is Ogo, Rotorua, the original downhill ball rolling crew.
There’s only one way in…
“What do you mean there’s rain coming… It’s Slopestyle day bru!”
Probably wouldn’t look this green if it was part of a downhill track amiright?!
Meanwhile, back at the Crankworx site. That moment when you realise you’re still not quite as good at jumps as Brett Rheeder…
Unfortunate scenes with racing coming in on and off all day at Skyline. The crowds huddle, waiting for gaps in the rain for the Slopestyle boys to drop in.
The feeling when you’re stoked on seeing pro riders and all, but the weather is kinda bumming you out!
While we all waited at least we could still checkout the downhill riders in practice.
Bit of Karate Kid for the trail crew. Tarp on, tarp off…Tarp on, tarp off…
If you can beat them, join em?
A tease of blu skies that never quite made it to us…
Certainly some interesting looks going around this Crankworx… Riders being good sports with the fans as always.
The rain stopped and tools were rushed to the course to fix up some muddy spots the rain had left.
Everybody getting into it, even Deputy Mayor Dave Donaldson!
Finally the patient fans got a chance to see some riders coming though.
Most riders were just getting used to the new course and conditions, but Brett Rheeder was stomping tricks on most features in his ‘warm ups’.
Even straight airs somehow look rad when these guys pull them off.
Thomas Lemoine pulling off a 360 on possibly the sickest looking Canyon frame we’ve seen.
Defending champ Nicoli Rogatkin getting comfy with some tailwhips before the rain came again and unfortunately postponed the event which now, weather depending, will be run Sunday arvo after the downhill!
The Deep Summer Photo Challenge has become a ket part of the Crankworx experience. Four photographers have three days to put together an inspiring montage of Rotorua mountain bike life. The crowds loved it, seeing their town through the lens of some incredible shooters.
Eat St, the main food strip in town, was flooded with riders and mountainbike fans watching the Deep Summer slideshow.
The well deserved winner for the night, Laurence Crossman-Emms alongside Rotorua local Connor Mahuika who feautred in Laurence’s presentation!
No better way to finish a day at Crankworx than heading to Eat St to have a few bevs and laughs with ya mates!

Five Rad Days in Rotorua, Part 3

Our third day in mountain bike paradise began with another trip to the Redwoods, this time with a guided ride from the team at Mountain Bike Rotorua, to make sure we didn’t miss any tasty bits. With a belly full of Roto loam, it was back out to Skyline, to join the frothing masses for the Dual Speed and Style finals, before the big wigs sent it sideways under lights in the Whip-Off Champs. Yiew!

We joined back up with Mountain Bike Rotorua today for a guided MTB ride in Rotorua’s Whakarewarewa forest. Hire bikes galore, get ’em dirty.
Our rad ride guide Wade, apart from chosing trails to ride based on what style of riding we wanted to tackle, also gave some really interesting insight into the commercial logging forest that has been adapted into such a huge MTB destination in NZ. This place just goes to show mountain bikers and commercial logging can co-exist.
A friend from the States joined us today, riding through some prime climate and perfect light. It was hard to keep the camera in the bag.
Wade, our guide, leading the way down.
Our photographer / media squid Do-Mini-Chook sending it with a full camera pack.
One of the best parts of Rotorua’s Whakarewarewa Forrest is the diversity of trails, which is something we were reminded of today. There is such a huge range of routes to take, weaving in and out of the 80+ trails through the forest, with options for the most gnarly pros, all the way through to beginners and little shredders. It was awesome to see so many kids out there today!
Perfect loam chutes walled by green.
The little pockets of light that shine through the Redwood’s canopy make for some amazing looking gems of nature.
Wade our guide shredding down the trail network he has enjoyed riding for over 15 years. He’s been ripping around this place since the very first track in the Redwoods, ‘Old BMX Track’.
Being on a guided ride is a great way to have a perfect day on the bike, without stressing over trail maps and worrying if you’ll make it back to homebase. Alongside this, it’s great to be shown lesser known spots that you might not hear abut, like this winding grade 3 trail that follows a natural cold water creek, that rises out of the ground chrystal clear and flows through the forest.
The upside of this particualr trail is a super chilly & refreshing drink top up and maybe even a quick dip if it’s really hot.
A traditional carving, created by a wrong-doer completing community service, a great initiative to put people who have done minor wrongs to good use, creating new trails for the community to enjoy.
Yet another great spot to stop and take in the beautiful surrounds
Did we mention the cool light on interesting artifacts, EVERYWHERE?!?!
Our American vistor officially approves of the Redwoods as well as our guided ride with Mountain Bike Rotorua.
From the trails, we headed trackside, to the perfect berms and booters of the Dual Speed and Style. This event is a funny beast – the name says it all – pretty much a head to race, with bonuses for tricks. That makes it just as awesome to watch as you’d expect. Barry Nobles head to head with Kiwi rider Joe Simpson, who advanced to the next round over the American rider.
Crowds flood the gnarly, dusty flat corners that lead into the final feature
Nothing better then heading to Crankworx on a Friday night in Rotorua for the Mons Royale Dual Speed & Style.
R-Dog bringing the style points.
Kaos Seagrave seemed like an easy winner in a lot of eyes, but ended up his Dual Speed & Style campaign in the 1/8 final.
Martin Soderstrom. So much style! Busting some rad 360 tables over the heads of the crowds and Lake Rotorua.
Races were won and lost in this technical flat turn component of the course.

Crowds weren’t just huddled down the finish straight, but spread all the way up the hill to the start gates
The local crowds favourite came super close to the top step, but unfortunately due to a fall in the first run of the finals, he wasn’t able to make up the time. However, he was still pretty stoked with 2nd and gave the crowd something to cheer about!
Martin Soderstrom 1st, Joe Simpson 2nd, smiles all round.
Joe Simpson. Thanking the home crowd and having a blast!

Soak it up boy!

What a day for Joe Simpson!
With Speed and Style in the bag, the crowds massed around the whopping Whip Off booter. Adrian Loron spending some time with fans before joining in on the Whip Offs.
The groms are out in force. Stoked!
The scene is set for some big, nasty whips.
Straight from his win on the Dual Speed & Style, Soderstrom pulled out some incredible whips alongside a plethora of riding steez.
No shuttles for the whip off! Riders scramble back up to the drop in to get as many whips in as possible, as the Whip Off is a jam format competition.
Media swamp the MASSIVE Whip Off jump.
To be honest, the wooden drop to gain the right amount of speed looks just as gnarly as the actual whip jump!

 

Friday done right, whipping into the weekend with your mates!
Dave McMillan looked unreal all night with his super lazy, steezy whips.
Some familiar faces on this year’s Whip Off podium, alongside some new additions including Kiwi female shredder Vinny Armstrong.
The usual culprits took out the top spot in an event they excel in. Casey Brown and Ryan Howard do it again.
Rain poked its head in the door, but left immediately after being so intimidated by the phat whips being thrown down.

Dave McMillan x Kaos Seagrave. Bloody brilliant!

Five Rad Days in Rotorua, Part 2

Bloody fantastic morning light yet again! This is place is special, no doubt.
Beautiful scenes with huge flocks of birds travelling in packs over the edge of Lake Rotorua.
This is what mountain bikers around the world do when they hear Crankworx, Rotorua is on again… Migrate in huge packs to come see all the action!
Before heading to the Crankworx venue, it was time for a dip in the Kaituna River, one of New Zealand’s most famous rafting destinations. Throwing ourselves off a six-metre waterfall in a raft only moments after breakfast felt like a very Kiwi way to start the day. 
Directly opposite Skyline and across Lake Rotorua you’ll find Kaitiaki Adventures where you start and finish the rafting experience.
Getting suited up by our friendly guide Henry for the suprisingly warm waters of the Kaituna river
We arrived at Skyline just in time to catch the Dual Speed & Style Qualifiers. Even though it was just qualifiers, riders were still throwing it down in a big way,  crazy tricks with some serious speed.
Ryan R-Dog Howard with a steezy 360 on the final hit on the course against the Rotorua Lake backdrop.

R-Dog on the back wheel.
The dusty flat turns in the slalom portion of the track are just as crucial to nail as the rest of the course.
Kidsworx is such a great part of the event, fostering then next generation of shredders.
Knee down and tipping ‘er in at Kidsworx.
Last light falls across Rotorua before the Pumptrack kicks off.
Barry Nobles looked strong early on, but was knocked out of contention. The fast, technical new pumptrack built by Empire Of Dirt NZ was definitely challenging riders once the pace cranked up.
The new track took out many of the top riders with its gnarly g-forces in the tight fast, first turns.
Brett Tippie and the crowds getting into the party vibes. This event has such a good feel!

They may look like stars, but all those bright white things in the sky are actually moths! Hey.. It’s not just humans who dig mountain bikes.
Kyle Strait (looking sick in his fresh DHaRCO kit!) alongside the local crowds favourite, Michael Bias, battling it out for 3rd place, which the Kiwi took from Strait with much joy from proud New Zealanders
Jill Kitner rolling through with another win under her belt, in for a good shot at this year’s Queen of Crankworx.
Thomas Lemoine was looking quick all night, even when he threw a cheeky bar spin in at the end of a run!
The new track location and layout for the Rockshox Pumptrack Challenge, presented by Torpedo 7 was a major success, enabling a lot more people to get a good view of the track and providing some high intensity riding with the new, super fast pumptrack.
After practicing slopestyle during the day, Lemoine transitioned seemlesly into race mode, taking the win over Chaney Guennet.
After a mammoth evening, the crowds head home, and so do we. Bring on Day 3 of the Five Rad Days in Roto.

Five Rad Days in Rotorua, Part 1

Early mornings aren’t so bad when you have epic views like this. Rotorua’s famous geothermal activity is never far from the surface.
A must-visit for mountain bikers in Rotorua, Zippy Central cafe! Great food and even greater coffee! This is the best place to start your day.
And they stock you up with M&M’s too. Perfect.
Getting my bike setup for the week ahead. Cheers to the team at Mountain Bike Rotorua!
Mountain Bike Rotorua is the place to go for bike hire, guided MTB rides and all other things bikes in this rad little town.
On the way up at the Redwoods thanks to Southstar Shuttles. It’s always a great vibe on the bus.
Throughout Crankworx the shuttles are running overtime to keep up. They run seven days a week during school holidays and most days throughout the  rest of the year too. Check out the schedule here.
Local Kiwi, James Carley, leading the way. The only way is down.
Lachie McKillop heading down the legendary Taniwha downhill track.
Jackson Davis tipping it in in perfect Rotorua loam.
Turn bar Tuesday, on a Wednesday?
The boys lost in the greenery on the way to find some jumps.
Unreal views are everywhere you turn on these trails.
Jackson Davis and Dave McMillan provide the sweet timing, Rotorua provides the stunning backdrop.
Dave sending it in the green.
Dave sending it pt.2
Snakes on a train.
Something you can’t tell from these photos is how nice the climate is in these forrest, on a 22 degree day like today, the forest was absolute perfect temperature for a day of riding.

How good are the ferns here too?
Dave McMillan, all angles in the loam.

For a different look at the forest, we spent the afternoon at Rotorua Canopy Tours, who specialise in awesome zip lining tours amongst the trees.
The guided zip-line tour is heaps of fun, but also a great way to learn more about the forests of New Zealand and some of the conservation projects that the tourism company are also tackling.
More epic views, this time from above trail level.
The three- hour course takes you on a variety of zip-lines, the longest of which is more than 200m.
The nature around here is seriously something that needs to be experienced in the flesh. Everything is growing. Unreal.
If you don’t know what the geothermal nature of Rotorua smells like… Well dirty riding socks don’t come close. But you forget about it quickly, and everytime we come back it brings a big smile to our faces, knowing how much shredding there is to come!
We finished off the day with an MTB trivia night, all for charity. Anyone know who won the 1992 XC World Champs?
Points being doubled checked from the nights fun.
The all important points tally. Quiz On Your Face…. great team name.
Local councillor and long time mountain bike advocate, Dave Donaldson supporting the Trails Trust charity event
Congrats, don’t drink it all at once.
And the winner is…???

Video: 2019 Enduro World Series Calendar – Plus Trophy of Nations Race

We’re really excited to see Rounds 1 & 2 of the Enduro World Series coming back down under for 2019, making it far more accessible for Australia’s emerging enduro talent to make a strong start in the series.

22–23 March 2019 Round 1 – Rotorua, NZ
29–30 March 2019 Round 2 – Derby, Tasmania
10–11 May 2019 Round 3 – Madeira, Portugal
28–29 June 2019 Round 4 – Canazei, Italy
6–7 July 2019 Round 5 – Les Orres, France
9–10 August 2019 Round 6 – Whistler, Canada
23–24 August 2019 Round 7 – Northstar, California
21–22 September 2019 Round 8 – Zermatt, Switzerland
28 September 2019 Trophy of Nations, Finale Ligure, Italy

What is the Trophy of Nations?

Taking place on the iconic trails of Finale in September 2019, the Trophy of Nations will be a true celebration of cycling as riders cast aside individual glory in favour of teamwork and national pride. Teamwork, strategy and sportsmanship will be pushed to the limit as riders have to work together in teams of three to race for a combined result.

Josh Carlson has a lot of experience in Finale Ligure. Photo: Sven Martin

Featuring three categories, the event will pit nation against nation, industry against industry and amateur against amateur team. Each category of team will be made up of three riders. National teams will be made up from the top three riders of the newly structured Global EWS ranking from that country, and there will be both male and female teams.

To put that in context, if the event had run in 2017 Team Australia would have been Sam Hill, Jared Graves and Josh Carlson taking on Jerome Clementz, Damien Oton and Adrien Dailly of Team France.

Sam Hill on his way to winning the 2017 series in Finale. Photo: Matthew DeLorme
Jared Graves had some unlucky mechanicals in 2017 but showed his form with some great stage results. Photo: Enduro World Series
James Hall ranked 55th in the 2017 EWS, an impressive result for a privateer. Will he make Team Australia to race again in Finale Ligure in 2019? Photo: Ross Bell

Amateurs riders can also enter their own teams of three with no restrictions on how they are compromised – giving them the chance to ride together to take on some of the biggest names in mountain biking.

Industry teams are being invited to get involved too, allowing mechanics and team managers to down tools, leave the pits behind and get out on the trails and show what they’re made of.

The Trophy of Nations will be a standalone event and will not contribute to a rider’s global ranking, taking place in Finale the week after the series concludes at round eight in Zermatt, Switzerland.

Shelly Flood will be an Aussie to watch as she continues to dabble in Enduro amongst her DH commitments.

EWS Down Under

Learn more about New Zealand’s Round 1 in Rotorua here and Tasmania’s Round 2 in Derby. Then start planning to secure yourself some EWS qualifying points at the Shimano Enduro Tour starting October 2018 on the Gold Coast, followed by Derby then Mt Buller.

“So, Jared, who do you want on Team Australia with you?”

2017 Singlespeed World Champs – Rotorua – Locals Take the Tattoos

499 entries (preferable to 500 in the world of singlespeeding) entertaining over 2000 spectators spread around a twin loop course featuring mainly well-established, old-school trails in the Whakarewarewa Forest network. There were over 100,000 video views and tens of thousands of photo views on the event Facebook and Instagram (@sswc2017) pages within 48 hours of the race finish.

World Champions, Janine Kavanagh and Sam Shaw. Photo: Mead Norton

It was another raucous, colourful event with extravagant costumes lighting up a cool, windy and overcast day.

No tattoo, no title, but both Sam and Janine had no doubt about that when asked the question by one of the MC’s, Craig Pattle, immediately after crossing the finish line. Janine wasn’t sure exactly where she’d be inked. Sam had no hesitation, much to his mother, Sarah’s horror.

“Yeah, definitely, I’ve been planning to get one on my butt for ages.”

“Which cheek?”

“Ah, left…”

It was that kind of a race day.

The World Champions’ tats Photo: Mead Norton

As the last riders straggled in, the competition to decide the venue for the 2018 championships began – Bend, Oregon in the USA versus Prince Edward Island in Canada.

The Americans had come to win at any cost, while Canadian, Bruce McPherson was much more laidback. He’d combined a trip to the world championships with his honeymoon.

Part one of the challenge was four members of each team riding a 16” bike point to point, head to head for 10 metres, drinking a beverage, then spinning around with head to a broomstick in a traffic cone, then trying to ride the bike back.

After dispute and discussion and a captain’s run-off. Canada prevailed.

Part two involved being doused in mud, then sliding as far as possible down a plastic sheet, with the volunteers from the Lake Okareka fire brigade hosing down the plastic. The geothermal mud was supplied by the team from the Rotorua Mudtopia Festival debuting from December 1-3. There was only centimetres in this, but USA clawed one back.

So, it was all to play for at prizegiving at the Pig and Whistle Historic Pub that evening. Again, all four team members fronted up to eat fresh fronds of Pikopiko (New Zealand fern), Kina roe and Hapuka eyes. There was a lot of gagging – not all from the competitors. The Bend crew took this one in decisive fashion and SSWC2018 returns to the USA for the first time since Anchorage, Alaska in 2014.

Natalie Jane and Gaz Sullivan, Dolly and Kenny. Photo: Michael J Breen

For the volunteers from the Rotorua Singlespeed Society it was another succcessful event, a second world championship (the first was in 2010) to go alongside three New Zealand Championships and an Anzac Championship.

“We have such a brilliant team,” said Society president, Gary Sullivan, adding with a laugh: “Volunteers, sure, but at the same time, highly fine tuned event professionals.”

His mountain clothing company, Nzo, was the main partner of the event and did all the design work.

“We are just one of a long line up of local businesses, charitable trusts and the Rotorua Lakes Council who all contribute to make our events as special as they are.”

Best-dressed winners, Jamie and Nicola. Photo: Michael J Breen

The event benefits Lifeline Aotearoa, New Zealand’s mental health helpline.

2017 Singlespeed World Champs – Rotorua

“Have some fun, maybe help a mate.” That’s the theme of the 2017 Singlespeed Mountain Bike World Championships on November 18 in Rotorua.

“Our events, including New Zealand, Anzac and the World Championships in 2010, are loud and colourful with extravagant costumes and this year will be no different,” says Gary Sullivan, president of the host club, the Rotorua Singlespeed Society, and the event’s main partner, Nzoactive.com. “At the same time, we’ve always tried to use them to make a positive contribution.”

The Society has made significant donations to CanTeen, 88Bikes, Cancer Society, Kidney Health New Zealand, the Returned Servicemen’s Association Welfare Fund and the Rotorua Trail Trust. In 2017, the beneficiary will be suicide prevention awareness. “It’s a growing issue in New Zealand,” Sullivan continues. “We want to try and help.”

Entry for the event includes a one-off T-shirt (designed by Sullivan), the race, beverages and a party, breakfast and the Filmed by Bike Festival from Portland in Oregon all at the event HQ, the Pig and Whistle. “Filmed by Bike gave us the rights to screen the festival at a very low community rate because of our record with donations and promoting mountain biking in Rotorua and New Zealand,” Sullivan. “And there’s a reason it’s called ‘the world’s best bike movies’. It’s a brilliant, one-hour programme of bike film shorts.”

The event is well supported by a solid blend of local government, businesses and charitable trusts. “We have two beautiful bike frames to give away, steel by Jeffson Bikes and bamboo by Freddy Salgado at Bikeys,” adds Sullivan. “And Helibike Rotorua have 5 seats on a flight to the Moerangi Trail in the ancient Whirinaki Forest south of the city.” Rotorua Lakes Council, First Sovereign Trust, Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust and the New Zealand Community Trust are also backing the event.

The championships’ prize swag bag is literally that. “Dancing Moose are locals producing quality bike packing gear,” says Sullivan. “A full Rotorua Experience from Off-Road New Zealand, QE Health Wellness and Spa, Agroventures and Rotorua Canopy Tours will be in one of their bags and Holiday Inn are also in the mix.”

Enter at www.rotoruasinglespeed.com 

Singlespeed World Mountain Bike Championships return to Rotorua. Dates announced.

Race day will be Saturday, November 18 2017.

“We want to make a week of it leading up to the race,” said Graeme Simpson from the host club, the Rotorua Singlespeed Society. “We’ll run a variety of events including a film night.”

The Society expects to announce their naming sponsor before Christmas.

“I think people will be really pleased when we do, they are great supporters of Rotorua and New Zealand mountain biking,” Simpson continued. ‘The official event HQ will be the Pig and Whistle Historic Pub, who’ve backed us since we set up the Society in late 2007.”

For Gregg Brown from the Pig and Whistle it was an easy decision. “We are well-stoked to be involved in such an awesome event, again,” he said. Brown is chair of the Rotorua Trails Trust, which will be the primary beneficiary of the championships. “They do great work, in their own time, for all recreational users of the Whakarewarewa Forest,” said Simpson. The Society has donated $30,000 to a variety of causes since 2007, including the local trails.

When the Society hosted the Championships in 2010 it attracted 1000 entries with Canada, Italy, Australian, South Africa and Ireland bidding for the 2011 championships. The finale of that was horizontal bungee, which Ireland won by the width of a beer can.

“It was great that South Africa went on to host in 2012,” said Society president, Gary Sullivan from Nzo dirtwear. “Since then it’s been in Italy, Japan, Alaska and Australia. Great venues, but lots of people still mention Rotorua as the best ever in twenty years of Singlespeed World Champs history. We have a bit to live up to.”

Enthusiasm is already high around the world. “People started booking accommodation minutes after we announced the dates on our Facebook page,” Sullivan added. “Apparently, we are really popular in South America. Who knew?”

Entries will open in the new year.

“We’ll definitely be offering entry to riders from the 2010 champs, first,” said Sullivan. “It’d be rude not to.”

https://www.facebook.com/SSWC2017NZ

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.

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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

The Gravity Mountain Biking World Descends on Rotorua

A strong contingent of elite athletes, a new downhill race, the Deep Summer photography showcase and more Kidsworx events will see Crankworx Rotorua expand for 2016 as New Zealand welcomes the international mountain biking community.

Fans can join the King and Queen of the Crankworx World Tour, Bernard KERR (GBR) and Anneke BEERTEN (NED), Aussie downhillers Mick and Tracey HANNAH, last year’s Crankworx Slopestyle Champion, Brett RHEEDER (CAN), and elite riders like Casey BROWN (CAN), Martin SÖDERSTRÖM (SWE) and Loic BRUNI (FRA) for the launch of the Crankworx World Tour’s second season.18014591369_473c57a40b_z17994754498_b32d21550c_z

This year marks a chance at redemption, or proof the 2015 climb to supremacy was a true testament of a rider’s skill—and the riders are ready to roll.

“I know, from last season, it takes a lot of energy and determination to win the Queen of the Crankworx World Tour, but I’m feeling fit and can’t wait to race all the different disciplines again,” says Beerten, inaugural Queen of the Crankworx World Tour.

Rheeder will be back to make another play for the Triple Crown of Slopestyle on the course where his 2015 back-to-back winning streak began. And Nicholi ROGATKIN (USA), author of the first 720-cork-360 (dubbed “The Twister”) at Masters of Dirt this month, will step up the competition, along with Thomas GENON. Genon quietly delivered a hat-trick of third place finishes for a strong 2015 Crankworx season, and finished at the top of the FMB rankings, 324 points ahead of Rheeder, in second, with Rogatkin third.18201932921_1241bb85b3_z 18201935281_df7b2c5295_z 18201951061_7fd2e99303_z

In the downhill scene, Crankworx veteran champion Jill KINTNER (USA) and Emilie SIEGENTHALER (SUI), third in the Crankworx Rotorua Downhill presented by iXS, will face Hannah, 2015 Crankworx DH Champion, Beerten and Brown. And in the men’s field, Crankworx DH Champion Sam BLENKINSOP (NZ) comes off a strong year to challenge last year’s Rotorua winner, Bruni, and top enduro racer Fabien BAREL (FRA). After years at the top of the Enduro World Series, Barel retired from professional racing in the fall, but has committed to doing the Crankworx Downhill Championships as part of a new product development role.17994706878_43575851f2_z

“Crankworx is the only international DH series that brings us to meet very different riding communities,” Barel says. This could mean racing the new Crankworx tour stop alongside the same French and British fans who watched him deliver one of the sport’s great moments: his bare knuckle 2005 UCI World Championships win in Les Gets.18013378109_e117e4d31a_z

Riding alongside heroes of the sport is one of the truly unique aspects of every Crankworx festival, and four of the eight Crankworx Rotorua events are open to the public, including the Crankworx Rotorua Air Downhill, the Crankworx Rotorua Downhill presented by iXS, the Official Oceania Whip-Off Championships presented by Spank, for which members of the public must qualify, and GIANT Toa Enduro. The events have a way of propelling new or up-and-coming riders onto the world stage, as both New Zealand’s Wyn MASTERS and Raewyn MORRISON can attest.

As the first stop of the Enduro World Series in 2015, the GIANT Toa Enduro proved a huge boost for Masters, who pulled in for third, eventually securing a Top 25 spot in the series. Morrison’s eleventh place finish launched an incredible year for the Kiwi; she finished ninth in the 2015 EWS rankings.18013602869_3e0a940758_z 17577310754_8230313ea8_z 18012417328_d07b8dbfc4_z 17579076373_49632f7597_z

“There’s something about racing at home in front of a crowd that’s special and, for sure, a great way to start the international race season,” says Masters.

This year’s enduro is not an EWS round, so it offers a taste of world-class riding without the demands of world series racing. Local athletes can expect to join Josh CARLSON (AUS), Aaron BRADFORD (USA), Fabien COUSINIÉ (FRA) and Michal PROKOP (CZE) on course with a strong New Zealand pro presence─Blenkinsop, Rupert CHAPMAN, Cameron COLE, Matt WALKER, Keegan WRIGHT, and the Masters brothers, Ed and Wyn.18196819132_1ae11b6e49_z 17577884024_325fbd7524_z 18201595031_09dd587cb5_z

Back for another crack at the Mons Royale Dual Speed and Style, meanwhile, Söderström will be trying to best Kerr, who won the Crankworx Dual Speed & Style Championships, and riders like Adrien LORON (FRA), who place second.

“I have said it before and I will say it again, Speed and Style is the perfect sport. Tight racing combined with big tricks is a crowd and rider favourite,” says Söderström.

Crankworx includes eight competitions and four live broadcasts, all to be shown on Crankworx.com, with the Crankworx Rotorua Slopestyle also live on Red Bull TV. For this year’s enduro, Crankworx will run a live blog on its website with video and picture integration, and the latest information from the forest as the seven-stage race unfolds.

Crankworx runs from March 9-13, 2016. Events include the Rotorua Pump Track Challenge presented by RockShoxCrankworx Rotorua Downhill presented by iXSCrankworx Rotorua Air DownhillCrankworx Rotorua Slopestyle, Mons Royale Dual Speed and StyleOfficial Oceania Whip-Off Championships presented by SPANK and the Giant Toa Enduro. There will also be an expo at the Skyline Gravity Park, food and entertainment.

Crankworx is broadcast live from Crankworx.comPinkbike.com and the Crankworx Rotorua Slopestyle is live on Red Bull TV.


Broadcast schedule:

– Mons Royale Dual Speed and Style: Thursday, Mar. 10, 5-7 p.m. NZDT; Wednesday, Mar. 9 8-10 p.m. PST; Thursday, Mar. 10 5-7 a.m. CET

– Rotorua Pump Track Challenge presented by RockShox: Friday, Mar. 11, 7-9 p.m. NZDT; Thursday, Mar. 10-midnight PST; Friday, Mar. 11 7-9 a.m. CET

– Crankworx Rotorua Slopestyle: Saturday, Mar.12 3-5:30 p.m. NZDT; Friday, Mar. 11, 6-8:30 p.m. PST; Saturday, March 12 3-5:30 a.m. CET

– Crankworx Rotorua Downhill presented by iXS: Sunday, Mar. 13 2:30-5:30 p.m. NZDT; Saturday, Mar. 12 5:30-8:30 p.m. PST; Sunday, Mar. 13 2:30-5:30 a.m. CET


WHAT’S NEW:

Crankworx Rotorua Air DH: Designed as a participatory event, this race will bring the NZ bike community out to ride with the pros. The Air DH is set on Skyline Rotorua Gravity Park’s Mr. Black, and has 32 jumpable features, including tables, step downs, step ups, shark fins, doubles and a wall-ride. Find out more and register today on Crankworx.com.

Deep Summer Rotorua Photo Challenge: Four talented photographers and three iconic locations. Experience Rotorua’s riding culture like you’ve never seen it before –through the eyes of another’s lens. The inaugural Deep Summer Rotorua Photo Challenge will be held immediately after Saturday’s Slopestyle event and anyone from around the world will be able to vote for their favourite presentation online at Crankworx.com for 24 hours following the conclusion.

– Live blog: Coverage of the GIANT Toa Enduro will include a live blog on Crankworx.com with photos, interviews and video. Be sure to tune in and follow the Periscope coverage of Stages 6 and 7. The GIANT Toa opens the festival on Wednesday, Mar. 9 NZDT. Blog coverage will start at approximately 10 a.m. NZDT; Tuesday, Mar. 8, 1 p.m. PST on the West Coast of North America; Tuesday, Mar. 8, 10 p.m. CET in Europe.

– Kidsworx: A new race has been added to the line-up for 2016. The Skyline Warrior DH Race is run on a Grade 4 difficulty trail, Sprint Warrior, and is a step up from the Spawn Cycles Hipster DH. Racers 6-9 years old must be accompanied by an adult. Find out more and register online at com. Also new:

– Kids’ pump track, built by Empire of Dirt, the same team building the main pump track for the Rotorua Pump Track Challenge presented by RockShox

– VIP parking for kids bikes, so the groms don’t have to cart a bike around all day.

– Spawn Cycles and GIANT demo bikes on site for kids to test

– Official Oceania Whip-Off presented by Spank: This year’s whip-off is a multi-air affair with a new jump designed to take the event to the next level – along the lines of Whistler’s Crabapple Hits. Don’t miss the highlights on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Periscope on Wednesday, Mar. 9 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. NZDT; Tuesday, Mar. 8 3:30-4:30 p.m. PST; Wednesday, Mar. 9 6:30-7:30 a.m. CET.

– Expo & Demo expansion: Over 50 exhibitors will be joining the expo and demo area this year with new brands including ilabb, Camelbak and Powasol to name a few. Try a bike from one of seven demo bike companies on Skyline Gravity Park’s bike track.

REGISTER TO RACE: Registration is still open for the GIANT Toa Enduro, the Crankworx Rotorua Downhill presented by iXS and the Crankworx Rotorua Air DH. Sign up now on Crankworx.com

TICKETS & VIP INFORMATION: Tickets for all events are on sale now through Crankworx.com.

Bulldog and Blinky ride Te Ranga

Rainbow Mountain, meaning ‘mountain of coloured earth’ is the home of the Te Ranga Mountain Bike Track in Rotorua, New Zealand.

A volcanic past and 360 degree picturesque views, it’s also one of the many incredible trails that are managed by the Department of Conservation.

In this clip, Brook ‘The Bulldog’ MacDonald and fellow New Zealand downhill rider and friend, Sam ‘Blinky’ Blenkinsop, take us for a ride down the beautiful Te Ranga Mountain Bike track, where native vegetation is slowly regenerating and the views downhill, are just as amazing as at the peak.

Ten Grand $lam! – Rotorua’s Giant 2W Enduro Announces $10K Prize

The Giant 2W Gravity Enduro mountain bike race series is one of the biggest Enduro events in the Southern hemisphere, and caters for a wide range of riders on the world-renowned trails of Rotoruas Whakarewarewa Forest. In its three year history the event has attracted some of the worlds top riders, and the announcement this morning of the Ray White Real Estate Ten Grand $lam will make them even keener to return.

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James Alexander (aka Geeza) local Enduro rider and Auctioneer/Sales Agent at Ray White Rotorua said his principals Tim O’Sullivan and Anita Martelli were thrilled to be involved in such an iconic local event and keen to back it with a decent reward.

The Giant 2W was already boasting a huge cash prize pool, along with tens of thousands of dollars worth of product prizes, and now the organisers have announced the Ray White Real Estate Ten Grand $lam, a $10,000 bonus prize for any rider who can win all three races this season in the open category! With the round winners receiving $500 per race 1 & 2, and $750 for the final, the Ten Grand $lam winner would ride away with $12750 plus a possible maximum of $750 in stage win bonuses. That makes the Giant 2W Enduro the richest Enduro series in the world in cash prizes.

Prize money is equally divided between men and women in the Giant 2W events, and the Ray White Ten Grand $lam is no different: a woman has the same chance as a man of sweeping her open category in the three rounds, and picking up the cash.

Should both male and female categories produce a winner of all three rounds, the $10,000 bonus prize will be split between them.

Competitors in the six stage shuttled and non-shuttled event categories are given six hours to complete six downhill stages, which can be attacked in any order. Most will choose to have uphill transport included in their entry, but some hardy types will ride to the start lines of all the race stages. Riders must work out their strategy for the day, complete all the stages, and get back to race HQ before their allotted time runs out to avoid time penalties.

The formula has proved to be very popular, and the Giant 2W races are sell outs. An additional 25 spaces have been added to the races, bringing the total places available to 450 per race. With the addition of the Ray White Ten Grand $lam they are sure to disappear!

Rotorua’s Latest & Greatest – Kung Fu Walrus

Freshly cut in the glorious dirt by savvy locals, sculpted by hand only with a strong nod to the enduro race crowd, Kung Fu Walrus is a 1.4km wild descent with already a big reputation for challenging all levels of riders! It’s a tricky grade 4 track that requires very little pedalling, but a whole lot of skill to ride fast.

Kung Fu Walrus descends from Bush Road to Tikitapu Road, and with plans for an extension to take the trail a little further to the shores of Lake Rotokakahi, incorporating this fun descent into a loop with other trails will be super.

The narrow, root-riddled and off camber run sets apart from the predictable and buff trails that dominate the Rotorua trail network, so it has quickly become a favourite with the speedy crew in town.

Flow met up with one of Rotorua’s fastest enduro guns, Mathew Hunt on his tricked out Yeti SB6 for a guided tour. Fresh off the back of winning the amateur category at the Giant Toa Enduro, round 2 of the Enduro World Series, Mathew’s local knowledge paired with raw power and speed looked to have paid off for him that day.


Be sure not to miss the other two wonderful trails in this series. Rotorua’s Latest & Greatest: Eagle vs Shark and Rainbow Mountain.

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I ride it because it’s fast and fun. It has a very different feel and character to most of the other tracks in the forest. Quite a challenging trail to go fast on due to its off-camber nature, so you are constantly fighting to stay on a high line.

With killer views over Rotorua’s spectacular Lake Rotokakahi (Green Lake), it’s worth taking the quick detour to the lookout. Grab your bearings, see the lie of the land and point out where you want to wash the mud off at the placid lake below.

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Rotorua's Latest & Greatest - Kung Fu Walrus 10

I like how it uses a different part of the forest to the other trails, and if you are wanting to do a longer ride there is a fairly decent climb out from the end! The trail finishes on the opposite side of the forest so it requires a certain level of commitment and motivation to do, it doesn’t get ridden as frequently as many of the other trails, keeping it in good condition.

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It differs to the more popular trails in the Redwoods because it’s built by hand, giving it a tight and more natural feel. Situated on a south facing hill it doesn’t get much sunshine, so it can often be damp and greasy, so watch out for the amazingly slippery tree roots!

It is a bit tighter, rougher than the machine-built trails, requiring the rider to pump the ground and carry speed as much as you can, there aren’t too many opportunities to pedal.

There are several high speed jumps and drops, with pretty technical corners thrown into the mix. It’s always challenging and it never gets boring.

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Mathew ruled the trail, like only a local could. His unique style would blur the lines of finesse and brawn, making light work of the slippery conditions.

Racing ‘Kung Fu’ in the EWS was tricky! You had to stay very focussed, even though it was one of the shortest stages of the day it is still quite exhausting.

There aren’t really any sections where you get to relax at all. You’re always fighting not to slip down the side of the track because of the off camber line, and because it’s damp and greasy you are having to stay as light as possible on the bike to avoid wiping out on the roots.

Finishing up by the gorgeous lakes, it’d be rude not to take a look around. Or ride over to Blue Lake (yes, it’s blue), these old collapsed volcano craters are absolutely beautiful.

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Directions to Kung Fu Walrus: I want to shred.

For all mountain bike trail maps and info, all you need is here: www.riderotorua.com

Rotorua’s Latest and Greatest – Rainbow Mountain

A 26km drive from Rotorua on the road south towards Taupo is a lone mountain that pops out of the lush green rolling hills, smack bang on top of some very active geothermal ground. Rainbow Mountain is a wonderful experience, the trail is challenging and fun to ride, the native bushland is amazing and peculiar and finishing the ride with a swim in a natural hot spring is bliss. Flow and Enduro World Series racer Anka Martin explored the mystical place, here is what we found.

Rotorua, sitting on all these geothermal hotspots, is quite a special place, unlike anywhere else that I’ve ever ridden, but I’ve always been drawn to and fascinated by Rainbow Mountain and the trail that they built there. – Anka Martin, Ride House Martin/Team SRAM Juliana Racing


See part one of this series in the Whakawerawera Forest – Eagle v Shark here. 

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The ride takes you up to the top on a multi-use shared trail, it’s a bit of a grovel to climb up, but with multiple rest spots along the way at many of the viewing platforms, the climb is broken up nicely. It’s worth it, and you’ll no doubt want to do it all again when you get back down.

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Feel the hot ground beneath your tyres, and the warm smoke drifting across your path.

You’ll come across little pockets of bubbling mud and boiling water and steam coming out of the rock gardens, creeping out all over the trails and hanging eerily in the forest.

Rainbow Mountain has a very sacred, very spiritual feeling to it, to me anyways and I find it very different to riding in the Whakarewarewa Forest, which is also stunningly beautiful, but Rainbow Mountain feels like this special mountain filled with otherworldly spirits and powers.

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After an eyeful of massive views, the singletrack takes you down the other side, the fun way!

Divided in two parts, the top half is a hand built trail. Narrow, tricky and exciting, it keeps you on your toes. And after crossing the fire road the descending trail takes on a very different flavour, with big machine built turns and more predictability letting the speeds get higher and higher.

Under stunning rimu trees, and past hot spots of thermal activity under your tyres, the descent is fun, beautiful and fascinating.

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I know this might sound pretty airy fairy, but this mountain is unlike any other mountain I’ve ever ridden my bike. It sticks with you and makes you wonder about nature and mother earth and how insignificant and small we are.

The 360 degree view from the top is magnificent, and the trail that they built is so much fun. A great mixture between natural and groomed, jungle & new growth, fast & flowy, guaranteed to make you grin, hooting and hollering all the way to Kerosene Creek – a hot river at the bottom of the trail and another baffling element that I’ve never experienced elsewhere.

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To cap off a brilliant ride, the trail ends at Kerosene Creek. A natural hot spring for swimming and relaxing, in true Kiwi style.

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For more details and directions to Rainbow Mountain, visit Ride Rotorua.

Rotorua's Latest and Greatest – Rainbow Mountain

Rainbow Mountain

A 26km drive from Rotorua on the road south towards Taupo is a lone mountain that pops out of the lush green rolling hills, smack bang on top of some very active geothermal ground. Rainbow Mountain is a wonderful experience, the trail is challenging and fun to ride, the native bushland is amazing and peculiar and finishing the ride with a swim in a natural hot spring is bliss. Flow and Enduro World Series racer Anka Martin explored the mystical place, here is what we found.

Rotorua, sitting on all these geothermal hotspots, is quite a special place, unlike anywhere else that I’ve ever ridden, but I’ve always been drawn to and fascinated by Rainbow Mountain and the trail that they built there. – Anka Martin, Ride House Martin/Team SRAM Juliana Racing


See part one of this series in the Whakawerawera Forest – Eagle v Shark here. 

Rotorua's Latest and Greatest - Rainbow Mountain 9

The ride takes you up to the top on a multi-use shared trail, it’s a bit of a grovel to climb up, but with multiple rest spots along the way at many of the viewing platforms, the climb is broken up nicely. It’s worth it, and you’ll no doubt want to do it all again when you get back down.

Rotorua's Latest and Greatest - Rainbow Mountain 19

Rotorua's Latest and Greatest - Rainbow Mountain 29

 

Feel the hot ground beneath your tyres, and the warm smoke drifting across your path.

You’ll come across little pockets of bubbling mud and boiling water and steam coming out of the rock gardens, creeping out all over the trails and hanging eerily in the forest.

Rainbow Mountain has a very sacred, very spiritual feeling to it, to me anyways and I find it very different to riding in the Whakarewarewa Forest, which is also stunningly beautiful, but Rainbow Mountain feels like this special mountain filled with otherworldly spirits and powers.

Rotorua's Latest and Greatest - Rainbow Mountain 55

After an eyeful of massive views, the singletrack takes you down the other side, the fun way!

Divided in two parts, the top half is a hand built trail. Narrow, tricky and exciting, it keeps you on your toes. And after crossing the fire road the descending trail takes on a very different flavour, with big machine built turns and more predictability letting the speeds get higher and higher.

Under stunning rimu trees, and past hot spots of thermal activity under your tyres, the descent is fun, beautiful and fascinating.

Rotorua's Latest and Greatest - Rainbow Mountain 66

Rotorua's Latest and Greatest - Rainbow Mountain 83

I know this might sound pretty airy fairy, but this mountain is unlike any other mountain I’ve ever ridden my bike. It sticks with you and makes you wonder about nature and mother earth and how insignificant and small we are.

The 360 degree view from the top is magnificent, and the trail that they built is so much fun. A great mixture between natural and groomed, jungle & new growth, fast & flowy, guaranteed to make you grin, hooting and hollering all the way to Kerosene Creek – a hot river at the bottom of the trail and another baffling element that I’ve never experienced elsewhere.

Rotorua's Latest and Greatest - Rainbow Mountain 118

To cap off a brilliant ride, the trail ends at Kerosene Creek. A natural hot spring for swimming and relaxing, in true Kiwi style.

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For more details and directions to Rainbow Mountain, visit Ride Rotorua.

Rotorua’s Latest and Greatest – Eagle vs Shark

Eagle vs Shark is the first ‘new’ trail to be made in Whakarewarewa Forest after a long quiet spell.

After the whirlwind of Crankworx, we met up with Gary Sullivan, Rotorua’s fastest silver fox for a razz down one of his favourite trails. Amongst many roles in the mountain bike community, Gaz is best known for being the owner of NZO riding gear, with his partner Glen they produce some super durable and well-designed riding threads. Glen is a textile whiz and her quality control skills are tack sharp, whilst Gaz’s favourite role at NZO is ‘product testing’, hence the reason he knows his way around the trails like the back of his gloves.

Gaz has been busier than a three-legged man in a two-legged race with a one-legged woman recently with the opening of a new bike shop in town, the store has been loaded with all the NZO goodies you’ll ever see, so naturally our ride date ended up at Ride Central drooling over fancy stuff, trying on new season NZO kit and drinking really good coffee from next door.

We were lucky to grab Gaz for a ride, and up to the top of the shuttle road we went to see why Eagle vs Shark rates so high with a seasoned local.


 

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Trails have been revised, extended or reinstated, but fresh new trails through previously untravelled forest has been a rare commodity.

That has only changed lately, with a lot of new stuff on the agenda, and Eagle vs Shark was the first of the new stuff to get done.


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Permission was given by the land-owners for a couple of new lines, and this one was designed to be a Grade 3, built by Rotorua local Jeff Carter and his trail building outfit starring Casey King. It’s a trail for the folks who love the likes of Split Enz or Tokorangi.

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The track is very fast, and very flowy, and the trees on either side feel very close as they blur by in your peripheral vision.

It is a simple trail with nothing tech about it, it is not difficult to ride but it is hard to do it without smiling or whooping out loud. Must be because its fun.


 

Have a gander at the sweet NZO clothing here: www.nzoactive.com

For all mountain bike trail maps and info, all you need is here: www.riderotorua.com

Rotorua's Latest and Greatest – Eagle vs Shark

Rotorua – Eagle vs Shark

Eagle vs Shark is the first ‘new’ trail to be made in Whakarewarewa Forest after a long quiet spell.

After the whirlwind of Crankworx, we met up with Gary Sullivan, Rotorua’s fastest silver fox for a razz down one of his favourite trails. Amongst many roles in the mountain bike community, Gaz is best known for being the owner of NZO riding gear, with his partner Glen they produce some super durable and well-designed riding threads. Glen is a textile whiz and her quality control skills are tack sharp, whilst Gaz’s favourite role at NZO is ‘product testing’, hence the reason he knows his way around the trails like the back of his gloves.

Gaz has been busier than a three-legged man in a two-legged race with a one-legged woman recently with the opening of a new bike shop in town, the store has been loaded with all the NZO goodies you’ll ever see, so naturally our ride date ended up at Ride Central drooling over fancy stuff, trying on new season NZO kit and drinking really good coffee from next door.

We were lucky to grab Gaz for a ride, and up to the top of the shuttle road we went to see why Eagle vs Shark rates so high with a seasoned local.


 

Eagle v Shark 44

 

Trails have been revised, extended or reinstated, but fresh new trails through previously untravelled forest has been a rare commodity.

That has only changed lately, with a lot of new stuff on the agenda, and Eagle vs Shark was the first of the new stuff to get done.


Eagle v Shark 45

Permission was given by the land-owners for a couple of new lines, and this one was designed to be a Grade 3, built by Rotorua local Jeff Carter and his trail building outfit starring Casey King. It’s a trail for the folks who love the likes of Split Enz or Tokorangi.

Eagle v Shark 53

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The track is very fast, and very flowy, and the trees on either side feel very close as they blur by in your peripheral vision.

It is a simple trail with nothing tech about it, it is not difficult to ride but it is hard to do it without smiling or whooping out loud. Must be because its fun.


 

Have a gander at the sweet NZO clothing here: www.nzoactive.com

For all mountain bike trail maps and info, all you need is here: www.riderotorua.com

The Josh Carlson Experience: EWS, Round 1, Rotorua

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Tipped in on stage 5 of the Rotorua EWS.

We’ll be bringing you an insider’s perspective. So insider, in fact, that you’ll even be able to see what Josh’s heart is doing. For this unique series, we’ve teamed up with Today’s Plan, an Australian training tools provider, who work with Josh to analyse his training and monitor his performance. (Check out our first impressions of Today’s Plan here).

Through the year we’ll be bringing you a replay of Josh’s racing through rider telemetry; watch exactly what Josh puts his body through on each stage. Josh will also be providing us with some background about the racing, his bike setup, thoughts on his performance and more too.

Jump on board with Josh for stage 6 of the Rotorua EWS, straight down the Taniwha downhill track. Take a look at Josh’s ride data for this stage – it’s crazy to see how much time he spends in his VO2 and anaerobic heart rate zones. 


Take a closer look at Josh’s performance, stage by stage, in Rotorua. Use the menus on the right to switch between the various stages and to control playback speed. Keep an eye on his heart rate throughout – he might be primarily descending, but his efforts are through the roof.


Flow: So Josh, how was round 1?

JC: It was a pretty tough race, for sure. There were a lot of pieces of the puzzle to put together! Because a lot of the track was tight and rooty, you had to attack it, if you didn’t you were just bleeding time. There weren’t really any huge huck lines or areas where you could save a bunch of time, so it was all about attacking the entire course, and getting the little stuff right.

Flow: So did it lend itself to a particular style of racer?

JC: Yes and no. All the Frenchies with ninja skills did well, but then stages 6 and 7 were quite different. They were far more balls to the wall, they’re really downhill tracks – I mean, one stage was the previous National DH track, the other is the current National DH track. So it was no surprise to see World Cup downhillers take those stages out.

For me, this round really highlighted that a good Enduro racer has to be an real all-rounder, that your basic skills need to be solid. That’s what I kept coming back to, getting the basics right. That’s the thing with Enduro, you cannot be a one-dimensional rider. Look at Graves or Clementz – those guys are equally as good if it’s blasting down French walking tracks, open grass at full speed, or on the roots.

Flow: As an EWS round, was this race any more physically challenging than others?

JC: It wasn’t necessarily any more physically taxing, but it was still six and a half hours of ride time. Having said that, if stages 2 and 3 hadn’t been shortened it would have been really tight. The liaison stages were already pretty tight – I was getting to the start gate with about 10 minutes till my race run on each stage, which is really only just enough time to get focused, set your suspension or tyres pressures, get your goggles on, then it’s time to go.

But that’s really ideal, it’s what I aim for. If you’re there at the start for much longer than that, you can start to lose focus, get all distracted. That’s one of the real challenges of Enduro sometimes if you’re racing – it can feel too much like a ride with your mates, because you chat away on the climbs and then you have to be able to switch into race mode

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Steep and slippery. Success in these conditions is all about focus, says Josh.

Flow: Is there anything you like to do to help focus?

JC: I guess I just try to take myself away from others a little, focus on my breathing, try to visualise the track. Don’t let myself get distracted by little things.

Flow: Talking about visualising the course, you’re running a GoPro. How much do you use the footage to help learn the trails?

JC: I use it flat out And you really need to – if you’re not running a helmet cam, you’re going to be off the back, big time. Because with the way practice is set up, you really only get maybe two, tops three, runs down each stage. I’m using the GoPro 4 now, with the LCD screen, and I’ll even review the track in between runs during practice. At Rotorua, you had 50 minutes of racing to try and recall, so with just a couple of runs, that’s just about impossible without watching the footage.
Unfortunately at Rotorua there was a bit too much local knowledge about what tracks were going to be raced ahead of time, so while most people had just a couple of runs on each stage, a lot of locals had been practicing the stages flat out. That made having footage even more important.
Flow: You started last year off with a massive, massive crash in Chile. Were you thinking about that this year?

JC: I definitely was aware of it, for sure. Especially since the first stage we practiced had the most potential for carnage, it was fastest, straight into the downhill track. It was very easy to get carried away – new bike, sick track, new kit, heaps of people watching. That’s what happened last year! I jumped on and was like ‘man, I am going to kill it!’, next thing you’re crashing into the rocks going at one thousand! We saw that this year too, they sent like 20 people away in ambulances on that first day.

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A coil shock adds a little weight, but the traction is worth it for Carlso.

Flow: Did you toy with bike setup much for Rotorua?

JC: I changed tyre pressures quite a lot during the racing. On the rooty stages I was running 22psi up front, maybe 25 in the rear. Then for stages 6 and 7, where you’re really hitting stuff faster, I was back up to 25psi in the front and 28 rear. I also used a coil shock for this race too. I’ll be using a coil as my default setup this year, only running an air shock if the course doesn’t require as much traction or I need the lockout. The coil shock is just sick – the amount of traction is insane! A few other guys are running coils too. Cedric (Gracia) love his, so does my team mate Adam (Craig).

Flow: Thanks, Josh. Catch up with you after round 2 in Ireland!

Enduro Style Check: So Sideways in Rotorua

Stage one in the enduro was on a new trail in the Whakawerawera Forest, called Kataore. The locals call it ‘Cutties’, the unpredictable traction and loose off-camber nature of the track is seriously intense to ride. You need to race it, don’t try and just ‘ride’ down or it will throw you off your bike and into the dirt.

We checked out Kataore during the practice session, and saw rider after rider hit the deck attempting to get through through sections of trail riddled with slippery roots and steep turns at speed. So, naturally we bolted up to one of the wildest corners when it came to race day, and caught a handful of the final elite men trying their luck at making it through rubber side down.

Interpreted many ways, the riders approached the corner with varying technique, and outcomes. Here is how it unfolded.

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Richie Rude.
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Jamie Nicoll.
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Greg Callaghan.
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Bryan Regnier.
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Remy Absalon.
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Cedric Gracia.
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Alexandre Cure.
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Curtis Keene.
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Martin Maes.
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Yoann Barelli.
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Francois Bailly-Maitre.
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Joe Barnes.
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Florian Nicolai.
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Nico Lau.
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Justin Leov.
EWS Style Check 4 (1)
Damien Oton.

Crankworx – Slopestyle, Spinning Up The Volume

Born in Whistler from the heart of the Crankworx festival is Slopesyle, the ultimate spectacle. No clocks, just a judging panel to crown the winner of this unique event.

The baby faced Canadian, Brett Rheeder took it out with a clean and flawless run ahead of the madly spinning Nicolai Rogatkin, Martin Soderstrom was looking like he was the one, but judges were looking hard for the best display from all areas of judging criteria.

1. Brett Rheeder
2. Nicolai Rogatkin
3. Thomas Genon
4. Martin Soderstrom
5. Logan Peat
6. Sam Reynolds
7. Tomas Zejda
8. Tomas Lemoine
9. Sam Pilgrim
10. Louis Reboul
11. Paul Genovese
12. Antoine Bizet
13. Greg Watts
14. Brandon Semenuk
15. Kelly McGarry
16. Simon Pages
17. Carson Storch
18. Tyler McCaul
19. Cam Zink
20. Anthony Messere

Crankworx Slopestyle 51Crankworx Slopestyle 41Crankworx Slopestyle 40Crankworx Slopestyle 36Crankworx Slopestyle 27Crankworx Slopestyle 17Crankworx Slopestyle 12Crankworx Slopestyle 7Crankworx Slopestyle 48Crankworx Slopestyle 37 Crankworx Slopestyle 35 Crankworx Slopestyle 32Crankworx Slopestyle 18 Crankworx Slopestyle 3
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Crankworx Slopestyle 27 Crankworx Slopestyle 38Crankworx Slopestyle 26 Crankworx Slopestyle 6 Crankworx Slopestyle 1 8 Crankworx Slopestyle 1 5 Crankworx Slopestyle 1 2 Crankworx Slopestyle 14 Crankworx Slopestyle 21 Crankworx Slopestyle 42 Crankworx Slopestyle 51 Crankworx Slopestyle 52 Crankworx Slopestyle 53 Crankworx Slopestyle 54 Crankworx Slopestyle 55 Crankworx Slopestyle 56

Crankworx – Enduro World Series, The Season Finally Begins

The day that many were waiting for, the Enduro. In the Crankworx calendar was a particularly large event, the first round of the highly anticipated Enduro World Series.

The first round of any series brings a buzz of excitement with everything new again, and this case with the whole EWS show still in its relative infancy all eyes were turned on Rotorua for the season opener. And what happened up in the forests of the famous mountain biking town in New Zealand will leave a legacy, and a reputation for one of the most demanding and exciting races we’ve seen yet.

Seven stages, with an immensely wide variety of terrain that served up a unique challenge in each. The liaison stages were long, and the riders were certainly pushed in all aspects of their ability, in true enduro fashion.

It was a French affiar at the pointy end of the pro men and women’s field with a closely fought battle. Jerome Clemetz, and Anne Caroline Chausson taking the top steps.

The spectators were loud, and the forest was howling with mad fans baying for blood and to catch a glimpse of the big internationals slaying their trails. It’s a real spectacle to spectate in an EWS race, and the whole concept is exciting to watch unfold. With a new appreciation for how tough and crazy fast the top riders are, we eagerly await round two in Ireland, 8 weeks time.

Check out the official Enduro World Series site for the course preview, and full results.

Pro Men
1- Jérôme Clémentz
2- Fabien Barel
3- Wyn Masters 
4- Justin Leov
5- Florian Nicolai
6- Nico Vouilloz
7- Sam Blenkinsop
8- Matt Walker

Pro Women
1- Anne Caroline Chausson
2- Tracy Moseley
3- Cécile Ravanel
4- Aneeke Beerten
5- Megghie Bichard
6- Ines Thoma
7- Rosara Joseph

The mad Frenchman, Cedric Gracia. Tunes cranking in his ears, and clearly loving it.
The mad Frenchman, Cedric Gracia. Tunes cranking in his ears, and clearly loving it as he heads off for a bloody big day at work.
A magnificent starting stage, at the mighty Pohutu Geyser. The largest active geyser in the southern hemisphere.
A magnificent starting stage, at the mighty Pohutu Geyser. The largest active geyser in the southern hemisphere.
Sam Hill, mixing it up with the enduro crowd.
Sam Hill, mixing it up with the enduro crowd. He would then go on to win stage 7, which was predominantly the same track as the downhill race a day earlier.
Out of the steam, and into the fire.
Out of the steam, and into the fire.
Sydney's Gen McKew, not alone feeling anxious in the start gate.
Sydney’s Gen McKew, not alone feeling anxious in the start gate.
Anne Caro means business, game face on.
Anne Caro means business, game face on. Little did she know that later that afternoon, she’d be on the top step.
The Pōwhiri ceremonial welcome will chill your bones, or send you running.
The Pōwhiri ceremonial welcome will chill your bones, or send you running.
Josh Carlson keen to get the first round of the series done safe and sound, and build from here, all year.
Josh Carlson keen to get the first round of the series done safe and sound, and build from here, all year.
A calm and collected Nico, when is he not?
A calm and collected Nico, when is he not?
Sounds like a train coming, Dan Atherton was breathing hard, at max effort in the sprints.
Sounds like a steam rain coming, Dan Atherton was breathing hard, at max effort in the sprints.
Sam Blenkinsop, third place in the downhill only a day earlier, takes seventh in the enduro.
Sam Blenkinsop, third place in the downhill only a day earlier, takes seventh in the enduro.
Wyn on a roll! Is this his new thing? Killing it.
Wyn on a roll! Is this his new thing? Killing it with a third place amongst VERY fierce company.
Rosarah Joseph keeping it level, and cleaning the steep trails easily.
Rosara Joseph keeping it level, and cleaning the steep trails easily.
Peak hour traffic on the steepest part of stage one.
Peak hour traffic on the steepest part of stage one.
Richie Rude, needing a lighter touch to get through this one.
Richie Rude, needing a lighter touch to get through this one.
How Damien Oton managed to pull this off, we won't ever understand. Knee draggin!? Shit.
How Damien Oton managed to pull this off, we won’t ever understand. Knee draggin!? Shit.
Joe Barnes swinging off the back with his trademark committed style.
Joe Barnes swinging off the back with his trademark committed style.
Help!
Help!
Knee dragging, that's more wild than foot dragging.
Knee dragging, that’s more wild than foot dragging.
Crankworx Day 4 LEOV
Justin Leov, this guy is our hero! Winning stage two, and keeping it consistent to take fourth overall. He was looking so solid on course, and his nice white jersey kept that way all day long.
The liaison stages were long in distance, but not in time. It was a tough one to get around to all the stages.
The liaison stages were long in distance, but not in time. It was a tough one to get around to all the stages.
Locals getting into it, in their likeable and cheeky manner.
Locals getting into it, in their likeable and cheeky manner.
Gone. But not out.
Gone. But not out.
Cecile Ravanel, overall winner was so composed in her riding. Not one to look like she was going too fast, just consistent and it paid off.
Cecile Ravanel, overall third place winner was so composed in her riding all day. Not one to look like she was going too fast, just consistent and it paid off.
Anne Caro, more lines than any in her field.
Anne Caro, taking tougher more lines than any in her field.
Barel, on a mission.
Barel, on a mission.
Lighter and agile than anyone out there, Jerome Clementz early on in the day.
Lighter and more agile than anyone else out there, Jerome Clementz early on. Winning three out of the seven stages, Jerome was on a flyer all day.
Iago Garay, first elite male down the hill. The Spaniard has a real downhillers style on the bike.
Iago Garay, first elite male down the hill. The Spaniard has a real downhiller style on the bike.
Curtis Keene going down, so close.
Curtis Keene going down, so close.
Nico Voullioz, with his inhuman agility through switchback turns.
Nico Voullioz, with his alien-like agility through switchback turns. Sixth on the day for the seasoned guru.
Josh Carlson admitted to be riding well within his limits this weekend, with the whole year unscathed a priority for him.
Josh Carlson admitted to be riding well within his limits this weekend, with the whole year unscathed a priority for him.
The popular Kiwi shredder, Raewyn Morrison, blending cross country strength, local knowledge, with killer enduro performance.
The popular Kiwi shredder, Raewyn Morrison, blending cross country strength, local knowledge, with killer enduro performance. 11th on the day for her with a super-consistent ride.
Jerome on the hunt through the Billy T fast sections.
Jerome on the hunt through the Billy T fast sections.
No time to chill, Oton, not chilling.
No time to chill, Oton, not chilling.
Remy Absalon, never on the brakes for long.
Remy Absalon, never on the brakes for long.
Gracia, boosting over anything in his path. He doesn't mind spending a fair bit of air over trails that he doesn't know that well.
Gracia, popping over anything in his path. He doesn’t mind spending a fair bit of time in the air over trails that he wouldn’t exactly know that well.
Leov rolling on the 29" wheels, and Shimano XTR Di2.
Leov rolling on the 29″ wheels, and Shimano XTR Di2.
The speed that Rosarah Joseph came through this section was frightening.
The pace that Rosara came through here was kinda frightening. On her way to a seventh place finish overall.
Cecile Ravanel, boosting doubles, slamming turns like a downhiller.
Cecile Ravanel, boosting doubles, slamming turns like a downhiller.
Josh Carlson, killing it on the downhill stage, #6.
Josh Carlson, killing it on the downhill stage, #6.
Crankworx Day 4 EWS 42
Cedric avoiding the roots.
Crankworx Day 4 EWS 41
You can hear Fabien coming, his focussed breathing technique is loud, but obviously effective!
Crankworx Day 4 EWS 40
Nico, so light and easy.
Crankworx Day 4 EWS 43
Pretty sure Curtis Keene hit this section as hard as the downhillers that this trail would normally see.

Crankworx Day 4 EWS 44

Anne Caro riding the DH section of the course so hard, it's kinda freaky to watch.
Anne Caro riding the DH section of the course so hard, it’s kinda freaky to watch.
Jerome, home stretch to the overall win.
Jerome, home stretch to the overall win.
Martin Maes, probably wasn't planning on jumping this section, but carryint the speed he had just made stayin on the ground too hard. Boost!
Martin Maes, probably wasn’t planning on jumping this section, but carrying the speed he had just made stayin on the ground too hard. Boost!
Last man down, Damien Oton. The way he jumps on the gas out of turns is astonishing. So much confidence.
Last man down, Damien Oton. The way he jumps on the gas out of turns is astonishing. So much confidence.

Crankworx Day 4 EWS 45

Done! Whilst our coverage featured predominantly the elite field (due to the media arrangement at Crankworx) there was a large field of pinned amateurs too, enduro is a bloody big undertaking to finish, and a World Series one is the top of them all.
Done! Whilst our coverage featured predominantly the elite field (due to the media arrangement at Crankworx) there was a large field of pinned amateurs too, enduro is a bloody big undertaking to finish, and a World Series one is the top of them all.

 

Crankworx Rotorua: Going Down

The field for the Crankworx Rotorua downhill race wasn’t far shy of that you’d find at World Cup; the Athertons (Gee and Rachel), the Hannahs (Mick and Tracey), Hill, Bruni, Blenkinsop, MacDonald, and they weren’t hanging about either. In many ways, it was a good preview for the upcoming season, which gets kicked off in France in just two weeks.

The course was largely the same as was used for the World Champs back in 2006, and it was interesting to see how much the riders still loved it, it’s clearly aged well. Rain which was forecast failed to materialise, and conditions were about as perfect as you can imagine come race time. Rotorua’s famed dirt is some of the most magical stuff you can ride on, and it was at its most luscious this afternoon.

In the women’s racing, the battle was really between two riders; Rachel Atherton and Tracy Hannah, and they finished in that order. The huge gap back to third highlighted the fact these two women are in a different league, and we’re looking forward to seeing them battle it out throughout the year.

The men’s racing could have been won by a dozen different riders, and the hot money was on the Kiwis – Blenkinsop, Brannigan, MacDonald and the Masters brothers were all favourites. But the Frenchman, a young Loic Bruni, crashed the party in a big way. He smoked the field by two and a half seconds, ahead of an ecstatic Eliot Jackson, with Blenkinsop in third. Powerhouses Hill and Atherton were both well back, along with Mick Hannah (the last rider on the hill) who can’t get a break, picking up a front flat.

Today was also the last practice session ahead of the Giant Toa Enduro, which kicks off early tomorrow morning. Stages 4 and 5 treated riders to yet more incredibly slippery roots and greasy mud, but the field must be getting well accustomed to it by now, as there was a lot less crashing and fewer concerned faces than we’d seen in Stage 1 practice! A few course modifications announced yesterday also removed some of the tighter, slower trails as well, which was greeted with praise. We’re really excited to see how it all pans out tomorrow in the dark forests of Rotorua.

Practice also got underway for the slopestyle as well. Set amongst the massive pines, the word from the riders is that they’re loving the course, and while they were all really just feeling out the size and shape of the jumps today, the forgiving Rotorua dirt is likely to encourage some truly rowdy riding come Sunday.

As if the day wasn’t already jam-packed enough, things were capped off with the Pump Track Challenge, which was held under lights after being postponed yesterday afternoon. The head-to-head format is a winner, and while local favourite Keegan Wright was edged out by veteran racer Joost Wichman, it was a great way to cap off a huge Friday of racing.

I can see my hotel from here. Hey, get out of my minibar!
I can see my hotel from here. Hey, get out of my minibar!
Andrew Neethling had some of the smoothest lines of all, but a flat tyre ruined his final. Poor little fella.
Andrew Neethling had some of the smoothest lines of all, but a flat tyre ruined his final. Poor little fella.
Roto dirt is something else. With a bit of moisture in it, it's the grippiest stuff since a scared cat on Velcro.
Roto dirt is something else. With a bit of moisture in it, it’s the grippiest stuff since a scared cat on Velcro.
Bernard Kerr, on a charge out of the dark redwoods.
Bernard Kerr, on a charge out of the dark redwoods.
Brendog, just casually boosting into a VERY fast section of the course.
Brendog, just casually boosting into a VERY fast section of the course.
Connor Fearon, taking a moment to whip up some cheer on his way to fifth.
Connor Fearon, taking a moment to whip up some cheer on his way to fifth.
One of the course favourites, Brook MacDonald.
One of the course favourites, Brook MacDonald.
Loic dropping through the loudest part of the course.
Loic dropping through the loudest part of the course.
Sam Hill received a loud welcome to the finish, but lost too much time up there somewhere for the podium.
Sam Hill received a loud welcome to the finish, but lost too much time up there somewhere for the podium.
Brook MacDonald didn't spend a moment more than necessary in the air.
Brook MacDonald didn’t spend a moment more than necessary in the air.
Sam Blenkinsop's wild style would've won him the lunatic air-pedalling race, but it didn't get him the win in the downhill today. There is no more exciting rider to watch we feel.
Sam Blenkinsop’s wild style would’ve won him the lunatic air-pedalling race, but it didn’t get him the win in the downhill today. There is no more exciting rider to watch we feel.
Make some room up there, Gee. Rachel was the Atherton who shone today, taking the win over Tracey Hannah.
Make some room up there, Gee. Rachel was the Atherton who shone today, taking the win over Tracey Hannah.
Rachel Atherton's composure in the steep woods was streets ahead of all the other women, excluding Tracey Hannah.
Rachel Atherton’s composure in the steep woods was streets ahead of all the other women, excluding Tracey Hannah.
We're big fans of this affable and entertaining young French kid.
We’re big fans of this affable and entertaining young French kid.
Cash cash!
Cash cash!
Tracey, Rachel and Emelie.
Tracey, Rachel and Emelie.
Loic and Blenki are great mates, a pat on the back and a face full of bubbles from a mate.
Loic and Blenki are great mates. A pat on the back and a face full of bubbles from a friend.

 

Blenki in a sea of green.
Blenki in a sea of green.

Crankworx Day 2 15

Stage 4 of the EWS runs through one of our all-time Roto favourites, Te Tiwi o Tawa. A rooty, off-camber, but strangely rhythmic ride through the native bush.
Stage 4 of the EWS runs through one of our all-time Roto favourites, Te Tiwi o Tawa. A rooty, off-camber, but strangely rhythmic ride through the native bush.
The lower half of stage 4 spits riders onto Billy T where there's barely a root to be seen.
The lower half of stage 4 spits riders onto Billy T where there’s barely a root to be seen.
Josh Carlson pre-jumps into a Billy T fadeaway. He's loving the rooty conditions, telling us it's just like home. Whether he means Wollongong or adopted homeland of Canada, we don't know.
Josh Carlson pre-jumps into a Billy T fadeaway. He’s loving the rooty conditions, telling us it’s just like home. Whether he means Wollongong or adopted homeland of Canada, we don’t know.
All hail the king: Nico Voullioz. Hunting for lines out of the main rut, looking light, fast and very relaxed.
All hail the king: Nico Voullioz. Hunting for lines out of the main rut, looking light, fast and very relaxed.
Six weeks to build this course, probably needed a lot of dirt?
Six weeks to build this course, probably needed a lot of dirt?
Sam Pilgrim, no sleeves, no worries.
Sam Pilgrim, no sleeves, no worries.
Semenuk, seriously inverted on the final jump.
Semenuk, seriously inverted on the final jump.
Watching and learning.
Watching and learning.
Lofting through the Rotorua Redwoods.
Lofting through the Rotorua Redwoods.
There is a lot of time to trick, with that amount of air.
There is a lot of time to trick, with that amount of air.
Martin Soderström, casual barspin up the stepup in practice.
Martin Soderström, casual barspin up the stepup in practice.

Crankworx Day 3 Pump 13 Crankworx Day 3 Pump 12 Crankworx Day 3 Pump 8 Crankworx Day 3 Pump 11 Crankworx Day 3 Pump 10 Crankworx Day 3 Pump 9 Crankworx Day 3 Pump 6 Crankworx Day 3 Pump 5 Crankworx Day 3 2

With the pump track event held under lights, it was tough to get shots, so we went for something a little #arty.
With the pump track event held under lights, it was tough to get shots, so we went for something a little #arty.

Crankworx Day 3 Pump 1 Crankworx Day 3 Pump 2 Crankworx Day 3 Pump 3 Crankworx Day 3 Pump 7 Crankworx Day 3 Pump 4

Crankworx Rotorua: Tricks and Other Cunning Stunts

We tried to explain to a mate last night how the Speed and Style discipline worked, but we all ended up a little confused. Suffice to say, it’s a kind of race down a mixed terrain slalom-esque course, with two massive jumps thrown in. Riders get time bonuses for the tricks they pull, so you can actually lose the race, but win the heat if you impress the judges enough.

It mightn’t be the most straight forward of disciplines, but it’s great to watch, and there’s no doubt that the most impressive rider of the day won the event. Martin Söderström showed the slopestyle crowd that he’s back in action, after a horror run of injuries; all eyes will be on him come Sunday’s slopestyle finals. 

The speed and style was as much a test of a rider's willingness to tip, white-knuckled, into a berm as it was a show of their skills in the air.
The speed and style was as much a test of a rider’s willingness to tip, white-knuckled, into a berm as it was a show of their skills in the air.
Bernard Kerr backed up a podium in the whip-off with another one today. His racer-boy style didn't offer up much in the way of tricks, but he slayed them in the corners.
Bernard Kerr backed up a podium in the whip-off with another one today. His racer-boy style didn’t offer up much in the way of tricks, but he slayed them in the corners.

Crankworx Day 2 6

 

The lower half of the course had a few flat turns that were made exciting by semi-slick tyres and massive tyre pressures.
The lower half of the course had a few flat turns that were made exciting by semi-slick tyres and massive tyre pressures.
Not crashing. Tricking.
Not crashing. Tricking.
Söderström. Back (in black).
Söderström. Back (in black).
Crankworx Day 2 1 (1)
Before the rain ruined the show, pump track practice was getting warmed up nicely. Speed (Sik Mik) and Style (Soderstrom).
Crankworx Day 2 2 (1)
Ed Masters might look like he’s taking the piss, but he’s not mucking about out there.
Pumptrack 4
The best shirt at Crankworx.

Pumptrack 5

 

Crankworx World Tour Set To Launch In Rotorua

WORLD’S TOP GRAVITY MOUNTAIN BIKERS DESCEND ON THE LAND DOWN UNDER

Triple Crown of Slopestyle, Crankworx Series titles, King & Queen of Crankworx World Tour underway.

 

One explosive week of mountain biking is about to unfold in Rotorua, New Zealand, where the first round of the Crankworx World Tour sets the stage for a year of heady competition.

Launching the three-stop tour in the volcanic region of New Zealand known for its boiling mud and “dirt gold,” the inaugural Crankworx Rotorua will blaze a new trail for Crankworx, stepping up competition with the first stage of the new Crankworx Series titles, laying the foundation for the King and Queen of the Crankworx World Tour and determining which Slopestyle rider has the first shot at securing the new Triple Crown of Slopestyle.

“The World Tour has really caught the riders’ attention. Whether it’s the race for the Triple Crown or the allure of the four new Crankworx Series competitions, or the new King and Queen titles, Crankworx Rotorua has certainly drawn an unprecedented level of talent,” says Darren Kinnaird, General Manager of the Crankworx World Tour.

Competition opens with the Official Oceania Whip-Off Championships on Wednesday, Mar. 25, where 15-year-old Whip-Off World Champion Finn Iles (CAN) will try to duplicate the stunning performance, which earned him the title in Whistler. A win on Kiwi soil means stealing the title in the adopted homeland of mountain bike photographer Sven Martin, who invented the sport; but pulling out the skill and steeze to reign supreme will not be easy against the likes of Brendan Fairclough (GBR), Eliot Jackson (USA), Brendan Kerr (GBR), and Tyler McCaul (USA), the man who won the first Whip in 2012.

“Last time, there was a lot of pressure because everyone was pushing for me to get in,” says Iles, who won the right to compete in 2014, though under age, via a social media campaign. “When I got there, it turned out it was just a lot of fun and the only pressure was just the pressure I put on myself. And this time, it’s almost like there’s even less pressure. It’s just have fun and see what I can do.”

On Thursday, Mar. 26, riders invited to compete in the Mons Royale Dual Speed & Style will ignite old rivalries and potentially create a few new ones as they try to balance the race for the finish line with the bonus marks available for difficult tricks. Both the Crankworx Les 2 Alpes winner, Cam Zink (USA), and the 2014 Whistler top spot, Kyle Strait (USA), will be back on the track. Meanwhile, New Zealanders will be watching their fellow Kiwis Kelly McGarry, Connor Macfarlane and Phil McLean go head-to-head for the win.

“The field is much deeper than anyone really knows. Martin (Martin Sӧderstrӧm) and I have been the most consistent in Speed and Style finishes, but with the format being so volatile, and the competition being so tough, there are a lot of people that are capable of winning that really haven’t had a chance to shine. Strait won Whistler, (Greg) Watts almost took me out in Les 2 Alpes, so they are obviously now on the radar; but people like Tyler McCaul, Cam McCaul, Thomas Lemoine, and others will remain tough to beat,” says Zink.

Also running Thursday, the Rotorua Pump Track Challenge presented by RockShox brings the toughest women’s field assembled for a Crankworx Festival to date. With 2014 champion Caroline Buchanan not competing, four-time Pump Track Queen Jill Kintner (USA) will look to recapture her place atop the podium. She faces Anne-Caroline Chausson (FRA), 2008 Olympic Gold medalist in BMX, Sarah Walker (NZL), 2012 Olympic silver medalist in BMX, BMX and 4Cross World Champion Anneke Beerten (NED) and world-class downhill riders like Tracey Hannah (AUS), Emilie Siegenthaler (SUI) and Casey Brown (CAN).

Equally stacked is the field for Friday’s Crankworx Rotorua Downhill presented by iXS for which race officials are holding a draw for the Number 1 plate. Ordinarily, determined by race standings, competition was too stiff this season for any one rider to stake a claim to the top seeding. The draw includes previous race winners from Les 2 Alpes and Whistler and former Kings and Queens of Crankworx Whistler: Gee Atherton (GBR), Steve Smith (CAN) and Mick Hannah (AUS), for the men, and Rachel Atherton (GBR), Jill Kintner (USA), Casey Brown (CAN) and Tracey Hannah (AUS) for the women.

On Saturday, Mar. 28 The Giant Toa Enduro kicks off the Enduro World Series season with all the top riders in contention. Last year’s champion, Jared Graves (AUS), faces some stiff competition with several riders returning from a season sidelined by injury, like 2013 EWS champion Jérôme Clementz (FRA). Also on the comeback climb, Fabien Barel (FRA) will be on the start line, after winning the last round of the 2014 EWS season in his first race since breaking his back. Fresh off a win at the Giant 2W Enduro in Rotorua last month, New Zealand’s local favourite Wyn Masters (NZL) will also be pulling out all the stops.

“The first event is always the most exciting of the year, and being in such a rad place like Rotorua just adds to the anticipation,” says Josh Carlson, Giant Factory Off-Road team rider.

Final competition culminates Saturday, Mar. 29, with the Crankworx Rotorua Slopestyle, which will determine the sole athlete capable of chasing the new Crankworx Triple Crown this season, a title earned by winning all three Slopestyle events in the tour. Canadian Brandon Semenuk (CAN) appears to own Slopestyle. As the only rider to win at Crankworx Whistler, Crankworx Les 2 Alpes and a Crankworx Colorado event, not to mention the fact he has won Whistler’s Red Bull Joyride three times, all eyes will be on the Canadian from Squamish, B.C. Waiting in the wings, Brett Rheeder (CAN), who has come second to Semenuk on a number of occasions, Martin Sӧderstrӧm (SWE), who is returning from injury, and Anthony Messere (CAN), who landed the top podium spot in Les 2 Alpes in 2014, will be shooting for the win.

Watch all the action LIVE Crankworx.com

Mar. 26 Mons Royale Dual Speed & Style (12-2 pm NZT/ 4-6 pm PST Previous Day/ 12-2 am CET)

Mar. 26 Crankworx Rotorua Pump Track Challenge presented by RockShox 5-7 pm/ 9-11 pm Previous Day/ 5-7 am)

Mar. 27 Crankworx Rotorua Downhill presented by iXS (3-5 pm NZT/7-9 pm PST Previous Day/5-7 am CET)

Mar. 28 Giant Toa Enduro (4-6 p.m. NZT/8-10 p.m. PST Previous Day/4-6 a.m. CET)

Mar. 29 Crankworx Rotorua Slopestyle (12:30-3 p.m. NZ/4:30-7 pm PST Previous Day/12:30-3 a.m. CET)

Crankworx is taking its coverage to the next level, crowd-sourcing video and breaking new storytelling ground to cover six hours of enduro racing in a two-hour webcast. The first half of coverage will showcase the six stages leading to the Stage 7, broadcast live as the race unfolds. Join us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Google+ and hashtag video clips for #CWXLive and #CWXRotorua.

Flow’s Rotorua EWS Dreambike: Pivot Mach 6

When Shimano Australia asked us if we’d like an entry to the opening Enduro World Series round in Rotorua, we snapped it up faster than Jared Graves out of the gate. But we needed a bike.

Sure, we could’ve used a review bike or one of our own personal fleet, but we wanted something special.

Yes please.
Yes please.

The Pivot Mach 6 is a bike that we’ve always liked (you can find our review of last year’s model here: http://flowmountainbike.com/tests/tested-pivot-mach-6-carbon/). One hundred and fifty five millimetres of DW link rear suspension pedals better than just about anything, whilst still gobbling up the hits when the trail points downhill.

Thank you Mr Weagle.
Thank you Mr Weagle.

With the frame sorted, the next step was suspension. Up front we opted for the Rockshox Pike RCT3 (which we’ve also tested: http://flowmountainbike.com/tests/tested-rockshox-pike/). This Pike needs no introduction, having been widely accredited as the new standard for fork performance. The ability to dial in a supple ride whilst still retaining control over the big hits makes the Pike a winner.

The RCT3 features low speed compression damping as well as lockout capability.
The RCT3 features low speed compression damping as well as lockout capability.

The rear suspension is handled by Fox. the Float X CTD with Trail Adjust is a shock we’ve been lucky to spend alot of time on (you can find our long term review here: http://flowmountainbike.com/tests/tested-fox-float-x-ctd-wtrail-adjust/). Despite the infuriating rebound dial, the Float X is an absolute ripper for Enduro racing. The smoothness of the entire stroke is remarkable, and the trail adjust allows you to fine tune your suspension past the regular CTD settings.

Where do I adjust my rebound?
Where do I adjust my rebound?

We didn’t have to worry about the drivetrain or wheels. Shimano Australia were nice enough to strap on a succulent mix of XT and XTR components. The eleven speed XTR drivetrain is a standout, providing lightening quick shifting and a wide range 11-40 tooth cassette.

Shimano's XTR cassette makes use of aluminium, steel and titanium cogs.
Shimano’s XTR cassette makes use of aluminium, steel and titanium cogs.

The wheelset, also supplied by Shimano, is the ever reliable XT hoops. Light, strong and dependable, we feel these are perfect for some Enduro abuse!

IMG_2748
We don’t think there’ll be any shifting issues with the Pivot.

Being able to stop on a dime definitely gives you the confidence to push harder. Shimano XT brakes were an easy choice.

Our XT brakes are strapped onto a seven hundred and sixty millimetre wide carbon bar from Pivot.
Our XT brakes are strapped onto a seven hundred and sixty millimetre carbon bar from Pivot.

Our choice of dropper post was the KS Integra -a reliable choice that should require little maintenance. The post is also cable actuated, making repairs far easier than if a hydraulic system was used.

Black, black and more black.
Black, black and more black.

To round out the build we’ve decided to run Maxxis High Roller II tyres. The High Roller rolls quickly, but still provides enough cornering bite when required. For the fast, ‘hero dirt’ conditions of Rotorua we feel this is a good choice.

Rotorua, here we come!
Rotorua, here we come!

With Crankworx Rotorua fast approaching, it’s time to get out and get acquainted with our new Enduro weapon! We’ll be keeping you posted with our progress on the bike, so keep an eye out.

GT Factory Racing Unveil 2015 Bikes

GT Factory Racing have unveiled the bikes that they hope will carry them to a clutch of World title victories this season.

Watch out World Cup podiums.
Watch out World Cup podiums.

Both the GT Fury and GT Sanction are housed on 650b wheels and are the result of three seasons close collaboration between the Atherton family and their bike partner GT.

Gee and Rachel Atherton first rode the Fury back in 2012 when its original 26’ wheels and carbon frame carried Rachel to World Cup Overall victory, and earned GT Factory Racing the title of World’s Fastest Downhill Team

In 2013 the DH team trialled a completely redesigned Fury frame, to great effect. When Gee and Rach “did the double” on two consecutive race weekends, taking Male and Female World Cup titles at Fort William and Val di Sole, the mountain-bike world went wild.  By the end of the season Rachel had captured the World Cup Overall and the World Championship and the Downhill riders clinched another World’s Fastest Team accolade.

The move to 650b in 2014 was not without a few teething problems as the athletes adapted to new courses and a slightly different “feel” to their bikes but the Downhill team’s haul still included a World Cup and a World Championship win for Gee,  two World Cups for Rachel and World Cup wins for both of GT Factory Racing’s junior riders,  Taylor Vernon and Martin Maes.

How will Taylor Vernon fare stepping up to the elite category this year?
How will Taylor Vernon fare stepping up to the elite category this year?

The five-strong 2015 GT Factory Racing team will be looking to recapture the title of World’s Fastest Downhill team and to establish the Enduro team as a force to be reckoned with.

Martin Maes takes on the famous trails of Coronet Peaks.
Martin Maes takes on the famous trails of Coronet Peaks.

World Champion Gee Atherton said “ This will be our fourth season riding for GT. We had a lot of input into the design of the Fury, especially with the frame and getting the geometry perfect. We made quite a lot of changes to the Downhill bike last year and we ended up in a good place so basically this year’s bike is the bike that carried me to victory in World Champs.  There’s no major component changes, we’ve been working with Fox, Shimano and Continental for so long that the products feel like an extension of myself.  But even with the best equipment in the world it’s vital that the bikes are set-up right. My mechanic, Polish Pete has been wrenching for me for the past four years, I know that he will always have my bike dialled which means I can focus 100% on my ride. I can’t wait to race!

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Gee’s sister Rachel agreed “We’ve made some small but telling changes to the geometry of my Fury for this season and I’m so excited riding it, I’ve been working with my mechanic Joe for two years now, in the first year we won both World titles, so that’s a massive goal for us in 2015!”

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Over on the Enduro circuit Dan Atherton first unveiled his GT Sanction for the 2014 season.He said “ I designed this bike to race, and two years later I still have a massive grin on my face every time I ride it.”

Unfortunately a knee injury sustained on a routine training ride kept Dan out of most of the 2014 Enduro World Series but young team-mate Martin Maes flew the GT Factory Racing flag, racing in the General Classification despite his junior status he racked up an amazing7 stage wins across 7 races.

Speaking about his GT Sanction Dan said “ The bike is unchanged since 2014, apart from a fresh lick of paint.  People often underestimate the severity of the EWS courses – basically they are six World Cup tracks to be ridden in a day, it’s not terrain that all Enduro bikes can deal with.  The Sanction has the suspension and pedaling characteristics of the GT Fury but in a scaled down chassis. It’s a tough bike and 2015 is going to be the year that Martin and I push it even harder.”

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Team Director Dan Brown said “I have never seen the team this focused going into a season.  Without exception the five riders have trained super-hard this winter and cannot wait to get started. Gee has a World Championship that he’s not going to give up without a huge fight, Rachel wants her titles back and Dan is more focused on racing than I have ever seen him, he’s concentrating on Enduro 100%, I haven’t even needed to hide his shovel!

Martin will ride his second season in the EWS  Elite class  while Taylor hits his first season in the senior ranks. Both of them have the confidence of a World Cup win behind them and are starting to put the lessons of the last two years’ into practice. They are still learning but they are aiming for the very top.

The 2015 bikes will carry striking new liveries, for the first time  Rachel will fly the flag for female riders with her own teal colour-way.

Will this be the bike that takes out the women's overall?
Will this be the bike that takes out the women’s overall?

The new bikes can be seen in action when Dan and Martin take part in the Torpedo 7 Coronet Enduro at Queenstown Bike Festival, NZ on March 20th and at Round 1 of the Enduro World Series (part of the Crankworx Festival at Rotorua) just eight days later.

The Downhill team will open their season at the Crankworx Downhill presented by IXS which takes place on Friday 27th March. Expect to see all of our riders in the mix.

The team would like to thank all of our partners for their essential and unwavering support,GT Bicycles, Silverline Tools, Jeep, Shimano, IXS, Continental, Fox Shox, Go Pro, Bell, Stans No Tubes, Pro, Muc Off, Hope, Oakley and SRM.

GT FACTORY RACING BIKE SPEC – FURY

Frame                GT Fury

Shock                Fox DHX2

Fork                Fox 40

Stem                Pro Atherton Star Series 50mm

Headset            Hope Integrated

Grips                Pro Prototype

Bars                Pro Atherton Star Series

Shifter                Shimano Saint

Derailleur            Shimano Saint

Brakes            Shimano Saint 203mm

Seatpost            Pro Atherton Star Series

Saddle            Pro Atherton Star Series

Crank                Shimano Saint 165mm

BB                Shimano Saint

Ring                Shimano Saint 36t

Chain Guide            Shimano CD

Cassette            Shimano XTR 11-36 modified 6speed

Chain                Shimano XTR

Wheelset            Shimano Saint 32h on Stans Flow rims

Tyres                Continental Kaiser Projekt 2.4

Tubes                n/a Stans no tubes system

GT FACTORY RACING BIKE SPEC – SANCTION

Frame                GT Sanction

Shock                Fox Float X Factory Series

Fork                Fox 36

Stem                Pro Atherton Star Series 35mm

Headset            Hope Integrated

Grips                Pro

Bars                Pro Tharsis

Shifter                Shimano XTR

Derailleur            Shimano XTR

Brakes            Shimano XTR Levers/Saint Calipers 180mm

Seatpost            Fox Doss 5”

Saddle            Pro Atherton Star Series

Crank                Shimano XTR 170mm

BB                Shimano XTR

Ring                Shimano XTR 34t

Chain Guide            Shimano CD

Cassette            Shimano XTR 11-40 11 speed

Chain                Shimano XTR

Wheelset            Shimano XTR Trail Wheelset

Tyres                Continental Baron Projekt 2.4

Tubes                n/a Stans no tubes system

Wyn Masters and Tracy Moseley Win Rotorua’s Giant 2W Gravity Enduro

Masters ‘smashes it’ to take an upset win.

A capacity field of 400 enjoyed dry and dusty conditions in Rotorua during today’s Giant 2W Gravity Enduro, beating the onset of the forecast rain which arrived at the end of prize giving.

New Plymouth’s Wyn Masters put a solid stamp on his credentials as a complete all-round mountain bike racer by winning against a stacked field including the current Enduro World Series champion, Jared Graves. The field also boasted other heavy-hitters like Jared’s Yeti team mate Richie Rude, New Zealand’s best performing EWS racer Justin Leov and a host of other talented Kiwis, Aussies and those from further afield.

NL_2WFeb2015-0596
Jared Graves dropping into the outside line on one of the many root-infested corners on Kataore Trail.

The 2W came after a busy week during the Rotorua Bike Festival during which Masters competed in the Road event ‘Flying Kilo’(placing 5th),  Bike speedway (1st), 16”Dual Slalom World Champs (1st), Downhill National Championships (8th, with a flat tyre in his race run) and Pump track (5th).

When asked about his tactics for the day he said he chose to do the longest and most technical Kataore stage first. I think it was a good move and started me off on a good note. My plan was to smash that stage and go from there,Masters said. It needs heaps of energy because its full-on the whole way.

Im doing three of the EWS rounds this year: Rotorua, Scotland and Italy. They fit in with my World Cup downhill schedule. Asked why he chose to compete at only three of the rounds he replied, I dont want to overcommit myself, so Ive planned to do those three and see how I go.

Skill on technical trails and fitness for intense efforts of a few minutes for downhill races are a strength for Masters, but he doesn’t train specifically for longer stages so was happy with his results on the lengthier tracks today. I thought Jared would have smoked me on the long stage today (stage D, Hatu Patu to Roller Coaster), he said,but I got him by a second.

T-Mo shows her class.

In the women’s field there were no surprises with the UK’s Tracy Moseley (T-Mo)  winning convincingly by well over a minute in her first event for 2015.

My plan was just to get back into racing, its the first race Ive done since October, she said. Ive done very little on my enduro bike and I was definitely pretty rusty so I enjoyed the chance to race.

NL_2WFeb2015-0434
2013 and current enduro world series women’s champion Tracy Moseley got maximum time on the bike by riding all the liaison stages.

It wasn’t all perfect runs, I had lots of mistakes, a few incidents like having to stop to drag out a bit of native bush that got stuck in my back wheel – all sorts of things, but nothing major and I really enjoyed the day.

Using the Giant 2W Gravity Enduro as a stepping stone to prepare for the upcoming EWS round in Rotorua, Moseley didn’t take the easy route

NL_2WFeb2015-0578
Raewyn Morrison struck some slower traffic on race stages but was still able to take the second spot on the women’s podium, seven seconds ahead of Rosara Joseph.
NL_2WFeb2015-0658
Rosara Joseph making quick work of the lattice of roots on her way to third woman overall.

I pedalled everything and didnt use shuttles. It was good to do a big day and I feel fine physically, just technically I was pretty rusty.To say she was ‘pretty rusty’is obviously judged by the high standards Moseley holds herself to, given her race result.

Asked how she found it, Moesley praised the variety of race stages, It was a good mix of trails, I think they did a great job

some techy stuff, some pedalling. Thats what I love about enduro, it tests everything in your riding.

Moseley is in Rotorua for a few more days and among the riding she will be doing will be a repeat loop of today’s courses – a good indication of how enjoyable the trails are.

She then heads south for more races including the NZ Enduro in Havelock. After that it is back to ride in Rotorua and prepare along with the other competitors in the Giant Toa Enduro (round one of the 2015 Enduro World Series), during the Crankworx Festival in March.

Overall results:

men

1.  Wyn Masters  29:41

2.  Jared Graves  29:50

3.  Richie Rude  30:11

4.  Justin Leov  30:20

5.  Ed Masters  30:42

6.  Carl Jones  30:45

7.  Ben Robson  31:04

8.  Byron Scott  31:16

9.  Joe Barnes  31:27

10.  Matt Walker 31:37

women

1.  Tracy Moseley  35:11

2.  Raewyn Morrison  36:33

3.  Rosara Joseph  36:40

4.  Sasha Smith   37:57

5.  Natalie Jakobs  38:37

6.  Vanessa Quin  39:21

7.  Sarah Atkin  39:52

8.  Ruby Morrissey  40:27

9.  Rachel Lynskey  40:50

10.  Christina Sergeant   41:03

Crankworx Set to Shake Up Mountain Bike World With the ‘Crankworx World Tour’

New year, new challenges, new game-changer for gravity-fed mountain biking

In August, Crankworx Events Inc. announced it would add a third location to its global brand, opening the door for the 12-year-old festival to become a three-stop world tour staged in Rotorua, New Zealand, Les Deux Alpes, France and its Canadian hometown of Whistler, B.C.

Several disciplines within the tour will now hold Crankworx Series titles, including the marquee event of Slopestyle, with athletes vying to win each event and the overall title.

“Crankworx Whistler has always been what Slopestyle is to me; they’ve always had the raddest course. To see a series that has similar courses is what I’ve always wanted to see,” says Brandon Semenuk, three-time Red Bull Joyride champion. “Instead of riding a bunch of other courses, I’m just going to do the Crankworx events because that’s what I’m most stoked on.”

Should Semenuk, or any other athlete, win all three Crankworx Slopestyle events, he will be awarded the all new Triple Crown of Slopestyle and earn an unheard of $50,000 in prize money. 

The Downhill, Pump Track, and Dual Speed & Style disciplines have also been awarded Crankworx Series distinction, creating the Crankworx DH Championships, the Pump Track Challenge Series and the Speed & Style World Championships.

In addition to these individual competitions, an overarching battle to crown the King or Queen of the Crankworx World Tour will wage all season long as one man and one woman strive to become the best all-round mountain bike athlete. Crankworx Whistler has always recognized an outstanding male and female athlete with a coronation at the conclusion of its festival. The new King or Queen of the Crankworx World Tour ups the ante to recognize the male and female rider whose skill and versatility dominate on a global stage, and the prestigious title comes with $25,000 for both King and Queen.

“For me personally, having competed in so many different disciplines, the fact that Pump Track, Dual Slalom, DH, and Enduro all go towards an overall (title) should really play to my strengths. It’s a race within several races, and seems like an overall skills omnium—which is a cool concept,” says Jill Kintner, two-time Queen of Crankworx Whistler and four-time Crankworx Whistler Pump Track Champion.

Prize money for athletes who make the podium at all Crankworx festivals will be the same for men and women in 2015.

“It was just time. There are amazing things happening on two wheels right now and we should be able to recognize women for the feats they accomplish on an equal footing to men,” says Darren Kinnaird, Crankworx World Tour manager. “Hopefully, this will encourage more women to get involved in competitive mountain biking.”

The Crankworx events included in the race to be named King or Queen are:

Crankworx Rotorua: Australasian Whip-Off Champs, Mons Royale Dual Speed &Style, Rotorua Pump Track Challenge presented by RockShox, Crankworx Rotorua Downhill presented by iXS, GIANT Toa Enduro, Crankworx Rotorua Slopestyle

Crankworx Les Deux Alpes: Official European Whip-Off Championships, Les Deux Alpes Pump Track presented by RockShox, D.S.&S., Crankworx Les 2 Alpes Slopestyle, Les 2 Alpes Downhill part of the iXS European Cup

Crankworx Whistler: Fat Tire Crit, CLIF Bar Dual Speed & Style, SRAM Canadian Open Enduro presented by Specialized,  Fox Air DH, Official Whip-Off World Championships, Ultimate Pump Track Challenge presented by RockShox, GIANT Dual Slalom, Canadian Open XC, Canadian Open DH presented by iXS, Garbanzo DH, Slopestyle at Crankworx Whistler

Crankworx runs March 25-29 in Rotorua, July 9-12 in Les Deux Alpes, France and culminates a 10-day celebration of mountain biking in its Canadian hometown of Whistler, B.C.

 

NZ National Downhill Champs Race On New Crankworx Rotorua Course

It was another brilliant first weekend at the Rotorua Bike Festival.

The main event of day 3 was the New Zealand Downhill Mountain Bike Championships on the newly-minted and very challenging course at Skyline on the slopes of Mount Ngongotaha. This was home to the 2006 UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships. The top part of the course tracked Alden Ardern’s original race course of nine years ago. After the Larches the new trail took a radical new turn with an impressive rock garden and a gnar with a capital ‘g’, off-camber and hip jump section – with a big table-top to the finish line. UCI World Cup standard.
George Brannigan was the only rider to break the 3 minute barrier (by a gnat’s eyelash) with Trek team mate, Brook ‘The Bulldog’ MacDonald, in second, and Norco Racing’s Sam Blenkinsop in 3rd. Great memories for Blenki – he took silver in Junior Men in 2006 behind Kiwi team mate, Cam Cole. Alannah Columb won the Elite Women’s title ahead of Sarah Watkins and Sophie Tyas. Hot, dusty, sensational.
It’s been a top start to the 3rd Bike Festival with over 1700 entries, overall, in the first weekend. Much more to come over the next seven days.
In breaking news: one of the world’s top young racers (and the man with the best name in international mountain biking) Richie Rude will be joining Yeti team mate and current Enduro World Series world champ, Jared Graves (AUS), on the start line at next Saturday’s Giant 2W Gravity Enduro.

Anton Cooper Reclaims New Zealand Cross Country National Champs

Commonwealth Games gold medallist, Anton Cooper has reclaimed New Zealand Mountain Bike Championship honours after winning the elite men’s cross country race in Rotorua.

The championships are a feature event of the first weekend of the annual Rotorua Bike Festival

In a repeat of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, Cooper held off fellow New Zealand representative Sam Gaze.  After both riders cleared out from the field early and headed into the last lap of the race side-by-side, Gaze made a mistake with his front wheel getting wedged in a tree.  This provided Cooper the opportunity to seize control and go on to win by 1 minute 10 seconds.  

Gaze v Cooper © Mead Norton

Cooper celebrates another win © Mead Norton

“I really wanted to get the jersey again,” said an elated Anton Cooper.  “I love wearing it overseas so I decided to focus on it (the elite race) a bit more, and it paid off. I just wanted to go out and hit most of the climbs hard.  I did that but hit a flat spot mid-race and felt a bit sick.I came good though and for the last two laps of the race I felt really strong, although it was still really close and could have gone either way. But I was able to capiialise on a small fumble by Sam (Gaze) and stretched out a good advantage and pinned the ears back to the finish.”

The result was a reversal of last year’s race where Gaze triumphed in a sprint finish over Cooper.  Local rider, Dirk Peters rounded out the podium, finishing a further 2 minutes behind Gaze. 

Meanwhile, 27 year-old Kate Fluker from Queenstown, who has only ridden for four years, put in a dominant ride to retain her elite women’s crown.  When her main rival, London Olympian Karen Hanlen had a fall on the first lap, Fluker was able to build a big lead.

Katie Fluker dominant again.
Katie Fluker dominant again.

“It’s awesome.  I was trying to really focus on international races this year but when you come to a race like this, you always do want to win, so I’m stoked,” said Fluker.

Earlier in the day outstanding young prospect, Eden Cruise from Porirua, dominated the U17 men’s race.  He led by a minute after the first lap of four and continued to extend his advantage to eventually win by over three and a half minutes.

Male:

Elite & Under-23: Anton Cooper (North Canterbury) 1:30:40, 1;Sam Gaze (Cambridge) 1:31:50, 2; Dirk Peters (Rotorua) 1:33:51 3; Ben Oliver (Christchurch) 1:35:32, 4; Jack Compton (Wellington) 1:35:49, 5.

Under-19: Harrison Mudgway (Tauranga) 1:25:10, 1; Nathan Johnston (Rotorua) 1:25:11, 2; Daniel Johnston (Rotorua) 1:25:32, 3; Harry Phipps (Rotorua) 1:27:35, 4; Lewis Ryan (Rotorua) 1:27:37, 5.

Under-17: Eden Cruise (Porirua) 1:04:32, 1; Jack Wilson (Tauranga) 1:08:05, 2; Taylor Johnston (Rotorua) 1:08:16, 3; Cameron Jones (Upper Moutere)  1:09:27, 4; Brayden Holland (Invercargill) 1:12:49, 5.

Under-15: Connor Johnston (Rotorua) 56:23, 1; Julius Staufenberg (Wanaka) 56:28, 2; Samuel Lord (Papamoa) 58:03, 3; Adam Francis (Palmerston North) 58:25, 4; Max Taylor (Palmerston North) 1:01:35, 5.

Masters 1: Steve Bale (Wellington) 1:10:40, 1; Gavin McCarthy (Upper Hutt) 1:11:41, 2; Bevan Spratt (Tauranga) 1:33:23, 3.

Masters 2: Garth Weinberg (Rotorua) 1:08:57, 1; Hamish Lane (Mt Maunganui) 1:12:33, 2; Sarnim Dean (Blenheim) 1:12:37, 3; Darrin Hall (Taupo) 1:19:26, 4; Barry Wilson (Palmerston North) 1:20:45, 5.

Masters 3: Shane Kaio (Mt Maunganui) 1:15:44, 1; Paul McDowell (Rotorua) 1:18:33, 2; Ray Hope (Dunedin) 1:18:57, 3; Anthony Bradshaw (Wellington) 1:19:52, 4.

Female:

Elite & Under-23: Kate Fluker (Queenstown) 1:30:59, 1; Karen Hanlen (Whakatane) 1:34:08, 2; Amber Johnston (Rotorua) 1:37:14, 3; Fiona Macdermid (Palmerston North) 1:38:32, 4; Mary Gray (Dunedin) 1:40:14, 5.

Under-19: Jemma Manchester (Auckland) 1:23:55, 1; Shannon Hope (Dunedin) 1:26:09, 2; Kayla Russell (Auckland) 1:30:33, 3.

Under-17: Jessica Manchester (Auckland) 58:04, 1: Phoebe Young (Wanaka) 1:01:46, 2: Kaylee Mudgway (Tauranga) 1:08:25, 3.

Under-15: Georgia Skelton (Auckland) 48:10, 1; Poppy Buissink (Auckland) 49:43, 2; Paige Weir (Auckland) 53:17, 3.

Senior Women: Harriet Miller (Rotorua) 1:07:58, 1.

Masters 1: Philippa Rostan (Australia) 1:14:06, 1.

Masters 2: Merrin Brewster (Dunedin) 1:29:46, 1. 

Masters 3: Sarah Beadel (Rotorua) 1:12:23, 1

Hero. Legend. Brother.

Yet another win for Jason English over the weekend at the 24 hour Nduro over the weekend in Rotorua.

A fine achievement by an incredible rider, but the story of the weekend is Rotorua local Lance Tavinor’s amazing effort to raise money for Kidney Health New Zealand.


Hero. Legend. Brother.

Rotorua mountain biker, Lance Tavinor was all those things and more when he took on the solo category in the 24 hours of Nduro in the Whakarewarewa Forest over the weekend.

With $5 from every entry going to Kidney Health New Zealand, he was riding for a cause close to his heart.

His older brother, Grant, is ill with kidney disease. Lance is undergoing rigorous testing to see if he is a suitable donor.

He also put himself through one of the most challenging tests for a mountain biker, when he started the Nduro at midday on Saturday.

“He went out a little fast with his race face on at the start,” said his pit crew boss, Benny Devcich who works with him at local bike shop, Cyclezone. “But he settled into a good rhythm as night fell.”

The weather and riding conditions were perfect. After one of the driest and hottest Januarys on record, there was rain on Friday night and the race started in a refreshing drizzle.

Lance was still going strong as dawn broke on Sunday morning.

He passed the 300-kilometre mark on the demanding 14-kilometre course as the clock ticked down to midday.

At the same time, multiple 24 Hour Solo world champion, Jason English, from Australia confirmed his favouritism to win the men’s race, with the New Zealand title going to David Rae in second place.

Another Australian, Liz Smith, was first over the line in the hard-fought women’s category with Kiwi, Anja McDonald, riding a brilliant race to take the women’s title. 

Then the focus turned to Lance’s last lap. He was cheered on his way by a big crowd of supporters and arrived back to an even bigger round of applause. “I had to ride that last lap upright,” he said as he enjoyed a post-race beer. “My back was so sore I couldn’t lean in to the handlebars.” He took a long swig and then held out his hands. They were bruised and calloused. “Sleep next,” he added with his trademark grin.

He was cheered on his way by a big crowd of supporters and arrived back to an even bigger round of applause.

“I had to ride that last lap upright,” he said as he enjoyed a post-race beer. “My back was so sore I couldn’t lean in to the handlebars.”

He took a long swig and then held out his hands. They were bruised and calloused.

“Sleep next,” he added with his trademark grin.

“If there was a Spirit of Rotorua Mountain Biking award, Lance would be a front row contender,” said Rotorua Bike Festival event coordinator, Martin Croft. He was there to watch the end of the race, which was a dress rehearsal for the WEMBO 24 Hour Solo World Championships.

This will be one of the feature events at the 2016 Bike Festival.

This year’s festival launches on Friday February 15 and Lance will be there.

“I’ll see how the recovery goes,” he said. “It’s a great time to be in Rotorua at Festival time, with all sort of events to enter or watch.”

Last year, he channelled Elvis at the Bike Speedway in front of Rotorua’s historic Museum and Art Gallery.

“I might have to just sit in a chair and spectate this year,” he added with a grimace.

Fundraising for the Tavinors and Kidney Health New Zealand continues in April at the New Zealand Singlespeed Championships – very special 100th anniversary Anzac edition.

Race day is Sunday April 26:

www.rotoruasinglespeed.com

Donate to Lance’s fundraiser for Kidney Health New Zealand:

https://givealittle.co.nz/fundraiser/lancekranksitforkidneys

Rotorua Bike Festival:

www.rotoruabikefestival.com

 

Record Sell Out and Stacked Registration for Giant Toa Enduro

Holy Guacamole that was fast!

As was predicted, it was only a matter of minutes before the four hundred ametuer places for the first round of the EWS sold out- three to be exact. Read below for the official word, and we’ll see you in March.

Wondering what trails they’re going to use in the race? Probably a few of these!

http://flowmountainbike.com/features/10-video-special-rotoruas-top-ten-trails/


The Giant Toa Enduro is shaping up to be a fascinating race with a field of competitors from all mountain biking race disciplines set to take on the course at Crankworx Rotorua.

Selling out in under three minutes, the event secured a new Enduro World Series (EWS) registration record yesterday, with a rich field of New Zealanders and internationally-based amateurs set to join the professional riders for race day this March.

All but one of the top 20-ranked men and women from the 2014 EWS season are set to ride, and a number of professional downhill racers have registered, as well.

“This is probably one of the most interesting, stacked mountain biking races with top enduro, cross country and downhill athletes all entered in this one event,” says Neil Gellatly, Giant Toa Enduro race director.

The race roster includes World Downhill Champions Sam Hill, Steve Peat, and Greg Minnaar, who will ride alongside several top downhillers from New Zealand−Sam Blenkinsop, Brook MacDonald, Cam Cole and Matt Walker.

Of the 400 racers registered, 40 per cent are from New Zealand, with 17 other nations represented, including: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, France, Israel, Spain, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, South Africa, Switzerland, Sweden and, for the first time in an EWS event, Tahiti.

Race registration from New Zealand shows equal interest from all regions, with riders from Auckland (10%), Christchurch (10%), Dunedin (5%), Queenstown (10%), Nelson (10%) and Wellington (15%). Rotorua has, nonetheless, secured the most representation with 20 riders on the list.

Sponsored by Giant Bicycles, the Toa Enduro Rotorua marks the opening race for the EWS and will be one of five competitive events at the inaugural Crankworx Rotorua.

For those who didn’t make the race cutoff, and true enduro fans, Crankworx will once again broadcast the event live and names are being accepted on a waitlist at www.enduroworldseries.com/waitlist/R1. To date, Crankworx has offered the only live enduro coverage, broadcasting its Whistler event annually.

“We hope to take our live race coverage to new levels this year,” says Darren Kinnaird, Crankworx Word Tour Manager.

Tune into Crankworx.com at 7 a.m. NZDT on Saturday, March 28 to watch how it all unfolds.

Crankworx Rotorua Entries Opening Thursday!

Athlete registration for Crankworx Rotorua opens this Thursday at 9 a.m New Zealand time. This includes registration for the Giant Toa Enduro and the Crankworx Downhill. Organisers are expecting tickets to sell like hot cakes, which is not suprising considering the calibre of trails on offer. Last year we documented the top ten trails in Rotorua- be warned though, if you watch this you will be flying to Rotorua this March! See you there!

http://flowmountainbike.com/features/10-video-special-rotoruas-top-ten-trails/

While you’re in Rotorua, you should also lay down some rubber on the Skyline trails. We’ve been lucky enough to rip many a lap after the cruisy Gondola ride up, and the break from pedalling is a great contrast to the Redwood trails.

http://flowmountainbike.com/features/introducing-skyline-rotorua/

See below for the official word on who has already entered and how to lock in your own spot!


Registration for the first two events of the inaugural Crankworx Rotorua opens 9 a.m. NZDT Thursday, January 22 and those lucky enough to secure a spot can expect to ride with the best.

Athletes interested in racing the Toa Enduro Rotorua, sponsored by Giant Bicycles, and the Crankworx Rotorua Downhill presented by iXS this March can sign up online through the Enduro World Series and Crankworx websites respectively, beginning at 9 a.m. New Zealand Daylight Time (9 p.m. CET Jan. 21 and noon PST Jan. 21).

According to the Enduro Mountain Bike Association, interest in the EWS among the factory teams has grown exponentially for this third season of the series with a record number signing on to race.

Crankworx Rotorua director Takurua Mutu says last year, the EWS stop in Chile sold out in three minutes and Rotorua is expecting an equally quick response.

“This is going to be an epic event, so we want to make sure all athletes competing for an open entry spot are ready when registration opens,” he says.

All of the elite EWS racers from 2014 have registered, including EWS World Champions Jared Graves and Tracy Moseley. Sidelined by injury for most of last season, Jerome Clementz, 2013 EWS champion, is signed up to race, as is Fabien Barel, who returned from breaking his back to win the last round of the 2014 series in Italy.

Several World Cup Downhill racers, who are not regular competitors in the Enduro World Series, are also vying for a podium spot. Sam Hill, Steve Peat, Greg Minnaar, Troy Brosnan, Brook MacDonald, and Sam Blenkinsop have all registered for this first EWS race of 2015.

The window to secure a spot for the Crankworx Rotorua Downhill presented by iXS is not expected to be as tight, but it too will sell out quickly.

“What makes Crankworx special is the opportunity for the amateur athlete to ride on the same track, in the same race, on the same day as the world’s top professionals. We are encouraging those who want to race to register quickly,” says Mutu.

Selection and sign-up for the other four competitive Crankworx Rotorua events also gets underway this week. Those events include the Australasian Whip-off Champs, the Rotorua Pump Track Challenge presented by RockShox, the Dual Speed and Style and the Crankworx Rotorua Slopestyle.

Please note registration will occur on New Zealand Daylight Time (NZTD) and athletes will need to consult the international time clock converter to find appropriate time for their home region. To register for the following events, follow the link:

GIANT Toa Enduro: Race March 28. Register Thursday, January 22 at 9 a.m. NZDT− http://www.enduroworldseries.com/registration.php

Crankworx Rotorua Downhill presented by iXS: Race March 27. Register Thursday, January 22 9 a.m. NZDT − http://www.crankworx.com/rotorua/info/athlete-information

Australasian Whip-off Champs: Competition. March 25. Registration to take place onsite just prior to the event.

Rotorua Pump Track Challenge Presented by RockShox: Race March 26. This is an invitational event featuring some of the top World Cup DH and Slopestyle riders. Other professional riders wishing to compete, both male and female, can email [email protected] to request an invitation.

Dual Speed and Style: Competition. March 26. Invitational. Confirmed rider list coming soon.

Crankworx Rotorua Slopestyle: Competition. March 29. Invitational. Confirmed rider list coming soon.

 

Who Won the Gunna Gotta Go Rotorua Prize?

“When I got the call I couldn’t believe it. I was on location doing a photo shoot and I ran around whooping and high fiving. My hand still hurts, but in a good way.”

That’s how mountain biker and photographer, Mike Kennedy, from Dee Why on the northern beaches of Sydney, reacted to the news he’d won return air fares for two to Rotorua for the city’s Bike Festival in February.

He’s visited Rotorua before. The first time was in 2012 and he was back in October, this year, with 2 Wheel Tours.

“Let’s just say I fell in love with the Whakarewarewa, all over again,” he said. “It’s my 48th birthday in a few days, so what a great time to win another trip to mountain bike paradise.”

He will be bringing his brother, Paul, on the trip.

“I’m really stoked to be able to share this experience with him,” continued Mike. “He’s always wanted to go, but with two small boys the dream has eluded him until now.”

The brothers have been mountain biking since the 1990s and Paul is the trail builder at Thredbo Mountain Bike Park.

“I’m really looking forward to showing him the amazing network of trails in the Whaka and watching his brain explode with happiness,” added Mike. “And also getting him into the Skyline Rotorua Gravity Bike Park…it’s so much fun.”

The Gunna Gotta Go competition is named after a popular trail in the Whakarewarewa Forest.

It is a collaboration between Flow Mountain Bike, Rotorua Airport and the Rotorua Bike Festival.

A whole range of Rotorua tourism destinations will also be hosting Michael and Paul and the total value of the prize is $7500.

A similar competition for the 2014 Festival was just as successful. The winner, Mitch Ho, described the win as the best Christmas present ever and, with fiancée, Jessica Behan, had a memorable time.

“The trip was awesome, everyone was very friendly and the mountain biking was a whole lot of fun,” he said. “Congratulations to Mike, you won’t be disappointed – this is the adventure of a lifetime.”

Anna Rodgers from Rotorua Airport is thrilled with the entry numbers in the competitions and the enthusiasm of the winners.

“It’s great making that phone call,” she said. “You make someone’s day and no one is ever disappointed by winning something. Mike was no exception. He knew straight away why I was calling and was super excited to have won this dream MTB package.”

The numbers of Australian mountain bikers visiting Rotorua has risen dramatically over the last few years.

“The festival gives them yet another reason to visit Rotorua and helps convert people from ‘we’ll go one day’ to ‘let’s go now’ travellers,” she added. “The huge MTB community in Australia love that they can arrive in Rotorua and be out riding the trails within an hour of landing, maximizing their holiday time.”

The trip isn’t all mountain biking. Visits to Multi Day Adventures Te Puia, Mountain Bike Rotorua, OGO, Agroventures Adventure Park, Skyline Gravity Park, Off Road NZ, spa treatments at Polynesian Spa after a day on the trails, merchandise from Nzo, hospitality by Capers Epicurean and the Pig and Whistle, accommodation by Millennium Hotel Rotorua and a vehicle to get around in from Thrifty Rentals make it the perfect Rotorua experience.

“Thanks to all those sponsors for making this this amazing trip possible,” said Kennedy, as he headed out to celebrate his big win. “Paul and I can’t wait.”

Crankworx Rotorua Site Goes Live

Are you going to be in Rotorua for Crankworx? All the punga ferns in the world couldn’t stop us from heading over to be there for all the madness. It is going to be AWESOME.

Information is starting to trickle out about the schedule, course design and more. It’s time to start locking in your friends, your flights and your accommodation and make it real.

See below for the official word.


It’s on. With just five months to go before Crankworx hits the Southern Hemisphere, fans can now find some hotly anticipated information online to start gearing up for the kick-off to the 2015 mountain biking season, from March 25 – 29 in Rotorua, New Zealand.

Kiwi freeride legend Kelly McGarry says having the Crankworx festival in Rotorua is a huge step forward for New Zealand mountain biking, bringing the spotlight to the local riding scene.

“Crankworx festivals draw the world’s best riders from all aspects of the sport and it puts them together in one big mountain biking arena to ride and compete – it’s all streamed live on the net so everyone worldwide can watch the action go down and see how we do it here,” he says.

Crankworx.com/rotorua has gone live this week with all the details on what to expect in Rotorua, how to get there, where to stay and how to be a part of the action, as well as a whole range of information and videos showcasing what the world’s biggest mountain biking festival is all about.

The regional tourism organisation, Destination Rotorua, has also gone live with a web page – RotoruaNZ.com/crankworx and is sharing more details about things to do and see while in New Zealand, as well as providing insight to the riding with videos showcasing the Rotorua terrain.

Skyline Rotorua

Skyline Rotorua’s Mountain Bike Gravity Park will be the main event location for Crankworx Rotorua and will host Round One of the Crankworx Downhill and Dual Speed and Style Series, Round One of the Enduro World Series, the Rotorua Pump Track Challenge and the first stop in the brand new Crankworx event Triple Crown of Slopestyle.

With course development underway you can check out the current Skyline Gravity Park layout, plus lots more information about the venue, at Skyline.co.nz/rotorua/Crankworx_Rotorua.

Crankworx Rotorua director Tak Mutu says with a whole lot of information going live, it’s a good time to start booking accommodation, locking in travel arrangements and handing in the leave slips.

“We’ve already heard about some accommodation being sold out for the week of Crankworx, so it’s worth getting onto planning the trip – these online resources will be the perfect place to start,” he says.

Crankworx.com/rotorua will continue to evolve as more details of the event get locked in – stay tuned for more information about the official programme, ticket sales and sponsors, plus some other key announcements.

“Another way to stay in the loop is to ‘like’ the official facebook.com/crankworx page,” says Tak.

 

 

Must-Ride: Skyline, Rotorua

Having hosted the occasional event in the distant past, the site was the venue for the successful 2006 World Championships. Skyline handled the hundreds of competitors and thousands of fans easily. After all the bunting came down and the people went home, there were musings about permanent trails.

 Some rippers have lapped it out over 20 times in a single session, which means its like lapping a short course at high speed, usually only possible on a moto.

Before that could happen mountain biking needed to look like it was past its ‘fad’stage. It has. Our sport is now almost mainstream. The people at Skyline have seen how successful opening the gondolas up to bikes has been at their operation in Queenstown. But would it work in Rotorua like it has down south?

Skyline Rotorua

It is a very different proposition. On the downside, Skyline Rotorua is only half as high as the Skyline lift in Queenstown, but Rotorua has double the uplift capacity and a much quicker turnaround. In Queenstown the mountain is schist, while the hill in Rotorua is made of dirt: that lovely central plateau stuff that is workable and free draining. The slope is not extreme overall, but there is a lot of contour to work with.

Rotorua trail building company Empire of Dirt are the dirt merchants. Adam King started the company with business partner Chris Martin to contract on trails in the forest. Having worked a good few years at Whistler he understands better than most the requirements for trails in a busy park. The Empire created a track for the Sprint Warrior, an event that headlined the 2013 Rotorua Bike Festival, and that trail has become the backbone of the trail system.

Skyline Rotorua

Think of a really fast, very flowing piece of your favourite trail. Now, imagine the kinks taken out. Then extend it. Over several kilometres. Now you have some idea of the general feel of the Skyline MTB Gravity Park. There are currently six lines down the hill, ranging from SimpleJack, a rolling ribbon of dirt your grandma could ride, to some Grade 5 options that need a bit of a look before trying to go fast on. Even the SimpleJack is fun: some of the most skilful and experienced riders in town were grinning after a run down it. It is not gnarly, but it gets very interesting very quickly if you lay off the brakes. The higher rated trails have a lot of features, beautifully sculpted berms and jumps, nicely placed to make a run down the hill a pumping, flowing, blur of dirt for riders of every level.

Think of a really fast, very flowing piece of your favourite trail… Then extend it. Over several kilometres.

The thing that makes Skyline really work is its innate challenge: the shortness of the runs and the speed of the ride back up mean you are still buzzing from the trip down when you step off the gondola at the top.

So far the reviews have been good. Some rippers have lapped it out over 20 times in a single session, which means its like lapping a short course at high speed, usually only possible on a moto. It is not like mountain biking anywhere else for that reason. It is a must-do when you are in Rotorua!

Skyline Rotorua

 

Rotorua to host 24hr Solo World Champs for 2016

If there’s one place in the world where we could handle the idea of riding for 24hrs, it’s Rotorua. It has just been announced that the WEMBO 24hr Solo World Champs will be coming to the legendary Whakawarewera Forest in 2016! Read on for the official word.

[divider]WEMBO in the Redwoods[/divider]

Down under dominated the WEMBO 24 hour Solo World Championships in Fort William in Scotland last weekend. In one of the toughest events on the international calendar, Australia’s Jason English won a remarkable 5th consecutive Elite Men’s title and Brett Bellchambers did it all in one gear winning the Singlespeed category.The New Zealand team was also successful. Kim Hurst won the Elite women, Amanda Brooks won the 40-44 women’s category and Ryan Hunt took gold in Under-23 Men.

Capping off a successful weekend for the Kiwi team, after the racing was over the World Endurance Mountain Biking Organisation (WEMBO) announced that Rotorua would host the event in 2016.

Tim and Belinda Farmer, from Nduro Events, will run the championships. For them, it’s a dream come true. Tim doesn’t only organise events he also races in them. He competed in the 24 hour Solo Worlds when they were in Canberra in 2013.

“Sometimes I have to pinch myself,” he said, on hearing the good news. “Living in a mountain bike mecca like Rotorua, riding most days and organising events including the pinnacle of endurance racing, the 24-hour Solo world champs, is amazing.”

The 24-hour Solo World Championships is a truly international event with 170 riders from 25 countries racing in Fort William.

“Endurance racing is the ultimate challenge, but the riders are like most mountain bikers – they love to travel and experience different environments and cultures,” added Farmer. “Rotorua has such a long tradition of big events, a world-class trail network only minutes from town and all the infrastructure of a major tourism destination. And hot pools.”

The event was held in Finale Ligure in Italy in 2012 and Mount Stromlo in Canberra, Australia in 2013. After Scotland it will be in the Northern Hemisphere in Weaverville, California, next year, before heading down under again in 2016.

“WEMBO was set up to provide a true world championships where the world’s riders would get to experience 24 hour racing across a range of countries with all the course and climate variations that entails,” said WEMBO founder, Russ Baker. “It’s all about providing a great experience for the riders.”

Baker is excited about New Zealand becoming the fifth member of the WEMBO ‘family’.

“I’m sure that every rider will be looking forward to Rotorua’s legendary Redwood trails,” he continued. “As well as being a fantastic mountain biking location, New Zealand also fits in well with WEMBO’s plan to have an alternating hemisphere schedule, following on from Weaverville in California in 2015.”

He’s look forward to welcoming the world’s best solo 24-hour riders to Rotorua in 2016. “And I congratulate Tim Farmer and the team from Rotorua for all the work they have done to bring another World Championships to New Zealand.”

The 24-hour Solo World Championships will be one of the headline events on the second weekend of the 2016 Rotorua Bike Festival.

“A world-class endurance event like this will be a major boost for the programme,” said David Crowley, chair of the Charitable Trust that runs the Festival. “The National Mountain Bike Championships will be the main event of the opening weekend again and the 24-hour Solos will wrap the festival up.”

The 2015 edition of the Rotorua Bike Festival kicks off on Black Friday February 13 and runs till Sunday February 22, with events covering all biking disciplines, BMX, road and mountain biking.

Nduro Events will run the 24 hours of Rotorua a fortnight earlier, on the weekend of January 31 and February 1. The event will be open to solo riders and teams and will be a dress rehearsal for the WEMBO event.

 

Crankworx and EWS coming to Rotorua in 2015!

Mountain biking’s defining celebration is breaking new trail and setting the course for the future of the sport. Crankworx organizers announced today that world-class riding will kick off the 2015 mountain bike season with a brand new stop on the Crankworx circuit – Crankworx Rotorua. From March 25 to 29, 2015, the festival will alight in New Zealand for five days of two-wheeled competition, spectacle and celebration.
“We could not be more excited to be bringing Crankworx to Rotorua,” says Crankworx General Manager Darren Kinnaird. “The trails in New Zealand are out-of-this-world. Adding Rotorua allows us to grow the celebration and share what Crankworx is all about – it’s a gathering of the world’s best riders from all disciplines of mountain biking. It’s mountain biking at its most raw.”
Along with its latest festival, Crankworx will be transforming many of its biggest events into stand-alone series’, including the triple crown of slopestyle, a pump track challenge series, a dual speed and style series and a four-race Crankworx downhill series (two of which will be in Whistler). The Enduro World Series will also kick off the 2015 season in Rotorua as a part of Crankworx.

 The dream was to find the right home for our third Crankworx stop so that we could continue to share events that showcase the best mountain biking athletes in the world. Rotorua is beyond perfect. This is a game-changer.

“The momentum behind Crankworx is continuing to charge forward – it’s become more than a mountain bike festival. It’s become a culture,” says Kinnaird. “We’re now able to offer athletes and the world a series of events to get stoked about. The dream was to find the right home for our third Crankworx stop so that we could continue to share events that showcase the best mountain biking athletes in the world. Rotorua is beyond perfect. This is a game-changer.”
Rotorua has become known as the home of mountain biking in New Zealand. Red Bull’s magazine, The Red Bulletin, ranked Rotorua’s Whakarewarewa forest in the top eight mountain biking destinations in the world in 2013 – the only Southern Hemisphere location to feature.
“We are so stoked to be bringing Crankworx to Rotorua. Where else can you watch the biggest names in the sport throw down, then ride alongside them in the same day?” says Event Director for Crankworx Rotorua and Owner of Mountain Bike Rotorua, Tak Mutu. “It’s a chance not only to showcase the trails that have brought people from all over the world to Rotorua, but also the dirt, the culture and the spirit of the people.”
Mutu, along with Deputy Mayor of Rotorua Dave Donaldson, have been in Whistler taking in the 11th year of the fest in Whistler.
“Sitting here at the foot of the trails of Whistler it is easy to see what an opportunity this is for both of us.” says Donaldson. “In terms of global exposure for mountain biking events, Crankworx is number one, so securing the third international location is a fantastic thing for Rotorua. We’re so excited about what we can bring to this festival and to the mountain biking world.”

Year-round gondola accessed riding now in Rotorua!

The world’s first year-round, gondola accessed mountain bike park was officially opened at Skyline Rotorua last weekend.

Associate Minister of Tourism Hon Todd McClay, declared the park open this morning and top riders from around the country all descended on the trails to get a sneak peek before it opens to the public on Saturday 9 August.

Mr McClay says the Skyline Rotorua Mountain Bike Gravity Park was an impressive result of the government’s Tourism Growth Partnership investment of $225,000, which funded a portion of the park’s development in partnership with Skyline Enterprises.

“This is a world-class downhill mountain bike facility that will further cement Rotorua and New Zealand as an international mountain biking destination, which aims to attract significant international events,” he says.

Eleven dedicated gondolas each take four riders and their bikes to the top of Mt Ngongotaha where the trails start.

The Skyline gondola takes the hard work out of the park’s 200-metre vertical rise and allows for 3,000 runs a day. Eleven (out of 33 ) dedicated gondolas each take four riders and their bikes to the top of Mt Ngongotaha where the trails start.

The Gravity Park provides tracks for most skill levels with 8.5km of trails braiding down the side of the mountain, including multi-grade features, a 300m jumps section, and international-grade slope style and downhill lines.

The trails include Simple Jack (Grade 2 ), Daywalker (Grade 3 ), Hipster (Grade 4 ), Sprint Warrior, Moss Piglet and Ten Fifty One (Grade 5 ), with more track developments to come with the completion of international race lines by March 2015.

The mountain bike park has full-time patrollers, monitoring trails and providing advice and assistance as required.

Skyline Rotorua owns and operates the Gravity Park, with Multi Day Adventures contracted to project manage the build and design, with Empire of Dirt building the tracks. Multi Day Adventures will be offering on-site bike hire, repairs and mountain bike skills courses.

Skyline Rotorua

Skyline Rotorua general manager Bruce Thomasen says the Gravity Park adds to the business’ ongoing developments aimed at expanding Rotorua’s tourism offering.

“The trails make you just want to session it run after run, and get quicker and quicker  – fast and flowing lines, into big berms and well-built jumps, with a bit of off-camber natural trail thrown in, just to keep you honest. The jumps at the bottom are like the icing on the cake, with big step ups, tables and structures, with more to come I have been told. This place is awesome.”

“Skyline Rotorua now offers  a true destination experience, from adventure with the Gravity Park, the new Zoom Zipline, the iconic Luge and the Skyswing, through to more relaxed experiences like the nature trails, Volcanic Hills wine tasting, the Jelly Belly Store, Market Kitchen and the restaurant,” he says.

“We have invested in the Gravity Park to target the fast growth market of mountain biking, which has seen huge success right here on this site before. Skyline Rotorua has previously hosted the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in 2006, as well as two successful Rotorua Bike Festival Skyline Sprint Warrior downhill races. Both of which have seen a fantastic response from riders, the mountain biking community and the general public,” explains Mr Thomasen.

Skyline Mountain Bike Gravity Park is the second mountain biking venture for Skyline Enterprises, with the Queenstown operation (opened in 2011) offering riders access to Queenstown District Council trails from September to May.

Top New Zealand mountain biker Lisa Horlor rode the trails for the first time and says the Gravity Park is incredible.

“The trails make you just want to session it run after run, and get quicker and quicker  – fast and flowing lines, into big berms and well-built jumps, with a bit of off-camber natural trail thrown in, just to keep you honest. The jumps at the bottom are like the icing on the cake, with big step ups, tables and structures, with more to come I have been told. This place is awesome.”

The park will offer everything from half day passes at $55, to full day, three day, three month, half year and full year passes at $899 (earlybird offer $799 till September 7) for unlimited gondola and downhill mountain bike trail access during opening times.

New Trails: Rotorua to Score Funding For New Mountain Bike Park

Skyline Rotorua is thrilled with Prime Minister John Key’s announcement that the Government’s Tourism Growth Partnership (TGP) will contribute $225,000 funding for the development of a new mountain bike park on the slopes of Mt Ngongotaha.

Mr Key made the announcement in Auckland at TRENZ, the New Zealand Tourism Industry Association’s international annual tourism conference. TGP is a Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) initiative designed to help grow international tourism in New Zealand. It specifically funds projects that are not only commercially driven, but which also deliver wider economic benefits.

Sprint Warrior 3

2014 pic

The Skyline Gravity Park will offer a year-round, gondola accessed bike park – the only trails accessible by gondola in the North Island. It will also be the only year-round, all-terrain mountain bike park in Australasia.

The park will provide trail options for all skill levels from beginners to advanced riders. Several mountain bike trails are planned, providing at least 12km in total. There will be dedicated gondola cabins designed to take up to four bikes and riders per trip giving initial capacity of 3000 downhill runs per day.

The park is scheduled to open in July. Skyline Rotorua will own and operate the site, working with commercial partners Multi Day Adventures who have helped project manage the development, and Empire of Dirt who are building and creating the tracks.

Skyline_Sprint_Warrior 49 Skyline_Sprint_Warrior 45

IMG_0280

IMG_0274

Skyline Rotorua general manager, Bruce Thomasen, says the funding grant is fantastic news, allowing Skyline and its partners to develop a world-class site.

“We are thrilled with the TGP funding announcement, as it allows us to develop a significant and extensive mountain bike park that is world-class, continuing the development of the Skyline Rotorua site to the highest possible standards.

“The ability to potentially host world-class mountain biking competitions, as well as appealing to all levels of riders – from leisure to adrenalin junkies – complements Rotorua’s status as a top location for these types of events and its international reputation as a premier mountain biking destination.”

Mr Thomasen says the new mountain bike park enables Skyline Rotorua to offer even more to visitors and makes the most of its unique location.

2014 Skyline Sprint Warrior 1

“Our position atop Mt Ngongotaha gives us a unique set of opportunities and the Skyline Gravity Park is part of realising that. The site gives itself to mountain biking perfectly, with riders able to ascend in the gondolas and then speed their way back down on a number of trails.

“The mountain has previously hosted the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in 2006, as well astwo successful Rotorua Bike Festival Skyline Sprint Warrior downhill races, and the response we have had from riders and the mountain biking community has been fantastic. It is an exciting possibility to add to the list of international events hosted onsite.”

The park will offer half day passes through to a full year pass for unlimited gondola and downhill mountain bike trail access during opening times.

 

Video: Louis Hamilton shreds Rotorua

Louis Hamilton 2014 from In The Frame on Vimeo.

 

Rotorua’s Louis Hamilton is an awesome rider to watch in action – he skims and bounces where other riders smash, barely seeming to touch the ground. As he rolls on into his second year in Elite, he’s looking to make his presence known on the World Cup circuit. But in this vid, he’s back on home turf, riding the pines, roots and ruts of Rotorua’s legendary Taniwha downhill.

Flow was lucky enough to spend some time on the trails with Louis in Rotorua last year too, when we filmed the Rotorua Top Ten Trails series.

[embedvideo id=”http://youtu.be/RUkTxq0A2xk” website=”youtube”]

 

 

Tested: Norco Sight Carbon 7.1

Norco’s bikes haven’t just come on a little bit in the past four or five years. No, they’ve improved astronomically and the Sight range is really indicative of all that progress. A couple of years ago, Norco launched the Sight in a 26” wheeled variant, but for 2014 it undergoes the shift to 27.5” wheels whilst retaining that trail-friendly 140mm of bounce.

We picked up a Sight Carbon 7.1 and took it to singletrack Nirvana, Rotorua, for five days of guess what?

Build.

The Sight’s the best looking Norco we’ve ever seen; clean shapes, the contrasting matte and flourescent colours and the smart little finishing touches had us drooling over the Sight at first sight.

Test_NorcoSightCarbon0001
Hot looking rig, fast just standing there.
Test_NorcoSightCarbon0036
High contrast colours, and groovy shapes.

With the move to a carbon front end, 25% of the grams are gone. Like a number of manufacturers, Norco have opted for a carbon front end and aluminium chain stays out back. We like this method of construction, as the rear end is the part of the frame most susceptible to crash damage, while the front end is largely protected by the bars and cranks.

Norco have taken a step in the right direction with internal cable routing, including some neat rubber grommets do prevent dirt or water accessing the frame. But during our testing the rubber cable grommets occasionally pulled loose, making making a bit of a mess, and requiring us to stop and wedge them back in periodically.

Test_NorcoSightCarbon0025
Internally routed cables are a good concept, but in this case let down by the execution.

Test_NorcoSightCarbon0021

A ‘true’ four-bar suspension design makes it all happen out the back, with Norco’s A.R.T. take on the well-proven system. The placement of the suspension pivot on the chain stay allows for a little rearward rear wheel movement at the start of the suspension travel. This rearward axle path wheel also adds tension to the chain, so if you’re cranking down hard the rear suspension will display a certain amount of anti-squat and the bike jumps forward nicely.

We had some dramas with the pivot hardware coming loose during testing, and because the two main pivots use a spanner and not just Allen keys, it wasn’t something we could fix out on the trail. A spot of Loctite resolved it.

Test_NorcoSightCarbon0026
An aluminium back end ties to the carbon front end with quality hardware, just be sure to keep an eye on the pivot bolts during the first few rides.

Norco don’t settle for the standard one-size-fits-all approach in regard to the frame’s rear end. As the frame sizes go up, it’s both the front end and chain stays that grow in length to keep the rider’s position centred.

Test_NorcoSightCarbon0020
SRAM X01, we couldn’t ask for anything more, it’s supreme.

Spec.

Meaty rubber, four-piston brakes and an adjustable post tells us the Sight is ready for some action, and definitely sways it’s attitude towards the more aggressive side of the scale. The big tyres did feel a bit slow on the flatter trails, but of course the big shoulder knobs held on tight. Still we’d probably opt for some slightly faster-rolling rubber for general trail riding.

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Burly tyres are great in gravity assisted instances, but a bit hefty on flatter trails.
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The whole cockpit and ergonomics are fantastic, we wouldn’t change a thing. Some rider taking on gnarlier trails may wish for a slightly shorter stem though.
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We never dropped a chain, not once.

We battled with the Rockshox Revelation during our testing, the fork’s action just felt uncharacteristically choppy and harsh, not like the usual Revelations we’ve tried. It all came to head when the main seal on the air-spring side came free from the lowers with a loud POP. We think that air had seeped from the negative air chamber into the lower, resulting in a build up of pressure that ultimately popped seal out. We pulled the lowers off, reset the seal back in place and changed the lubricating oil and the result was immediate improvement. Still, the fork was never quite all we’d hoped for.

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We have had better experiences with the Rockshox Revelation, this one had a few niggles that needed more than your average mechanical experience to sort.

SRAM’s X01 gear is simply spot on, but the brakes are a bit weak on bite, especially in the wet. We’d recommend swapping out the original resin brake pads for some metal sintered ones.

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Some love them, some hate them. But these Ergo grips do serve a purpose, protecting your little finger from the odd tree that may come too close.

Ride.

The Sight left us with mixed feelings. The efficiency of the bike is great. It pedals brilliantly, even with the heavy rubber fitted, and in spite of its slack angles it’s easy to keep it on track up a steep climb.

Low weight and a very stiff frame give the Sight a precise feel; it never seems to doubt the direction you take. The lowly slung top tube and wide bars really allow you to tip the bike right over beneath you too, adding to the agility of the ride.

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A very direct and precise feeling ride, the Sight always knew where it was going.

We were less impressed by the suspension feel overall. Perhaps our impression was influenced overly by the fork’s problems, but the ride never felt ‘alive’. The Norco prioritises stability on the big hits over suppleness. Some riders will revel in this firm feel, but when compared to some of the other bikes we were reviewing alongside the Norco, the suspension just felt a bit lacking.

This was admittedly a very big surprise, as most new-generation Norcos we’ve ridden have been incredible – it does make us wonder if there wasn’t some issue (like the wrong shock tune) with our bike that could have been resolved with a longer testing window.

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A lowly slung top tube, wide bars and dialled geometry meant tipping the Sight into a turn was a blast. And very confident.
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You won’t find any unwanted suspension bobbing or squat, this thing jumps forward when you put the power through the pedals.
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140mm of travel, in a light frame makes for a bike that is comfortable and capable to ride all day.

Verdict.

Our short time aboard the Norco may have brought a couple of teething issues, but sorting them out would not have been to much of an issue and we’re certainly positive about the overall potential of this bike. The frame, geometry and component selection are all excellent and with a lighter set of tyres set up tubeless the Sight could hit an impressively low weight. Although we didn’t entirely mesh with the bike’s suspension,  the geometry, looks and ability to hold a line on the roughest trails all make for a great platform to build a dreamy trail bike.

Racing: Yeah Boi, Sick – Racing in memory of Dodzy

An event with an unusual name and a heart of gold will be one of the highlights of the 2nd Rotorua Bike Festival in New Zealand in February. Yeah Boi Sick Race will be a celebration of one of New Zealand’s top mountain bikers, James ‘Dodzy’ Dodds who died tragically in 2012.

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Dodzy.

He was a New Zealand representative in downhill and well known in international race circles, a trail and bike designer and builder and he also taught mountain bike skills.

The organizers of the race are Jo Price and Budgie Woods, close friends of Dodds. “The term yeah boi, sick is a complete Dodzyism,” Jo explained. “He used to say ‘sick’ a lot.”

Yeah Boi Sick is a short course sprint up the tar seal of Nursery Hill, the northern entry to the Whakarewarewa mountain bike network and then back down the steep, technical Exit Trail. While it’s a test of fitness and skill, it’s mainly about having fun. And there’s a serious spin: to raise as much money as possible for the James Dodds Memorial Fund.

Dodds’ long time partner, Gabby Molly, and the Rotorua-based Geyser Community Foundation created the fund in his name. To start with the income will be used to maintain a mountain bike skills park the Rotorua Mountain Bike Club is building in his memory.

The first Yeah Boi Sick Race was held the week before Christmas in 2012. It was a beautiful, warm summer’s evening in Rotorua with the giant Redwoods on Long Mile Road lit up by the late afternoon sun.

There was a wide range of riders and bikes – from big downhill bikes to lightweight cross-country bikes. Julian Dean borrowed a mountain bike and helmet and did a lap with his young son Tanner on his BMX.

Jono Church at Yeah Boi, Sick last year.
Jono Church at Yeah Boi, Sick last year.

Dean then signed one of his race shirts and donated it to the auction that followed the race. The big winner on the night was the Memorial Fund with over $9000 raised.

In 2014 the race moves into the Rotorua Bike Festival and will be run on the evening of Tuesday, February 18.

The National Mountain Bike Championships are on the first weekend of the festival. Most of the country’s top riders will stay in Rotorua to participate in other events through the week, including Yeah Boi Sick Race.

“Dodzy was a real legend of our sport and a lot of the younger riders looked up to him as a role model and a mate,” said Jo Price. “They’ll love to be able to be part of this.”

Gabby Molloy will be at the race and knows James would approve. “What is there to say? He’d freakin’ love it and I can guarantee he’ll be here with us, ripping it up, yelling and grinning, mixing it up as only Dodzy can,” she said.

The race is part of 10 days of cycling events from Friday February 14 to Sunday February 23. With around 30 events the Festival covers all cycling disciplines with road, BMX and mountain bike races.

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Super heroes at YBS 1.

“The idea is to have something for everyone, no matter their age, gender or skill level,” said Graeme Simpson from the Bike Festival team. “We want to get people on their bikes and enjoy some riding in the summer sun.” For Simpson an event like Yeah Boi Sick sums up the spirit of the festival.

“Anyone can enter, it’s light hearted and a chance for people to dress up and have a laugh and it’s only ten bucks to enter,” he added. “But it’ll also have a competitive edge as well, believe me. And all the money from entries and another auction will go to a great cause.”

Overall rider numbers are already well up on the first Festival. “Two mountain bike events – the Giant 2W Gravity Enduro and Skyline Sprint Warrior – sold out with over a month to go,” said Simpson. Rotorua is a well known mountain bike venue, hosting the 2006 UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships and 2010 Singlespeed Worlds.

However, entries for the feature road events, Ibis Bike the Lake and the Telecom Inner City Street Criterium, are also well ahead of expectations. “At this time last year it was a bit hard to judge how the first Festival would go and it ended up being a real success,” continued Simpson. “This year we are sure it’ll be bigger, better and brighter and a really solid platform for the future.”

The full festival programme is at www.rotoruabikefestival.com and there are daily updates on the facebook page, facebook.com/RotoruaBikeFestival

 

Video: Ride Rotorua Top Ten Trails #10 – Challenge

Even if Lisa’s infectious grin hadn’t done the trick, Challenge is the kind of trail that forces you to smile and holler. It’s 100% off the brakes; roller, berm, double, double, berm, berm, roller, step-up…. you get in the flow just thinking about it! It’s a trail you can ride on any bike and with a five minute cruise back up the fire road to start it all again (or perhaps you’d prefer one of the other similarly awesome options in the Challenge Block) it’s no wonder this has become one of the most popular in Rotoland already.

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Video: Ride Rotorua Top 10 Trails #9 – Taniwha Downhill

Taniwha Downhill is more than just a track down a hill with shuttle access, it’s a real race track that will take the best riders to their limits. With world class events like the Oceania Champs and NZ national rounds transforming the steep gradient into a myriad of lightening fast and wide lines, deep turns, rapid step down jumps and doubles so big you could park fifty trucks between the takeoff and landing ramps.

We tried our very best to keep up with the local pinner, but all we could do was see him boost away into the mist and catch up for a sweaty handshake at the bottom.

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Lewis Hamilton – can shred, can whip, can flog us.
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Dave Hamilton, the local cop does a great Lewis impersonation.

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A wild mix of loam, and greasy tree roots will confuse even the grippiest of tyres.

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Video: Ride Rotorua Top 10 Trails #8 – Boulderdash

The recently built Challenge block has brought a whole new element to the forest in Rotorua, giving riders a bunch of trails that are both easily accessible and just plain fun to ride.

Every weekend this section of the Redwoods is jammed with kids and families, punching out run after run – when it’s a five-minute ride back up the fire road to the top, why not?

Boulderdash is one of the best. It’s a mad, fast freeway of a track, a ribbon of great turns and step-down jumps. It feels like it’s over far too quick, but the trail has a sting in its tail, a steep rock section from which the trail gets its name. Bryce Shapley, all limbs and speed, shows us the way its done.

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Video: Ride Rotorua Top 10 Trails #7 – Hot X Buns

By the time we reached trail #7 of our ten-trail odyssey in the Redwoods, the Flow crew was starting to feel a little peckish. But Mike Metz of Bike Culture knew just the thing to revive us; a heaped serving of Hot X Buns. And, man, was it tasty.

Hot X Buns is a trail that just feels amazing when you’re going fast. Cruise down it at a mellow pace and you could easily overlook its brilliance – if you’re going slow it’s kinda lumpy. But when you’re trying to hold the wheel of Mike Metz, one of Rotorua’s fastest riders, going slow isn’t an option.

With the speed turned up a few notches, Hot X is easily one of the best offerings in the forest. The pines rip by your bars, what previously looked like ruts become perfect berms to slap your tyres into, the little pinch climbs turn into kickers and it all makes sense.

The trail squirts you out over a good-sized jump into the clearing directly above B Rude Not 2, so you can keep it rolling on another of Rotorua’s best.

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Video: Ride Rotorua Top Ten Trails #6 – Tokorangi

This hillside, which felt the touch of the bulldozer’s blade not long ago, has become a real treat for Rotorua’s trail builders. Gunna Gotta, Corridor, K2 and plenty more have either been reborn or created anew on this slope, where the felling of the trees has left room for creative minds with shovels and dozers to have some fun.

Tokorangi is a treat; it was built in 2012 with permission from the local Iwi, Ngati Whakaue, and like it Gunna Gotta doesn’t loiter in the logged areas for too long, soon dropping into the native bush. It’s a fast ride, with pumps and jumps galore, but make sure you lift your head to take in the magic views across Rotorua before the trail heads into the trees and swoops down the steep side of the hill in a string of awesome 180-degree berms. We were lucky enough to score Tokorangi on a stunner of an afternoon, where the sun burst through the clouds just before sunset – it’s pretty hard to overstate how good it feels to soak in that kind of a scene before taking a rip down such a fantastic trail. Sam Osborne and Paul Gray from local bike shop and hire business Planet Bike show us how Tokorangi is meant to be tamed.
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Ride Rotorua Video: Top Ten Trails #5 – Split Enz

Like its musical namesake, Split Enz is a Kiwi national treasure as far as we’re concerned. On the day we rode this sinuous piece of singletrack it was so damp we ended up feeling like we’d spent six months in a leaky boat, but no amount of mist and rain could make us see red.

There’s no strait old line through this bit of forest, as the trail weaves for over three kilometres, before you take the next exit into Pondy DH. The mud left us looking a right dirty creature, but this trail never ceases to amaze us – from the first corner, Split Enz says, ‘I got you’ and we can promise you’ll be making the pedal or shuttle back up again and again. Who says history never repeats?

http://www.musicvf.com/Split+Enz.art

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