Kasper Woolley is a young BC pinner to watch
Crankworx always seems to launch one young rider into the spotlight wherever it goes. In Rotorua last year it was Billy Meaclem, shortly followed by Matthew Sterling in Innsbruck and then Jordy Scott in Whistler. At the Crankworx summer series this year, it was time for Kasper Woolley to take centre stage.
Body Management Already a Factor for Racers
Woolley is well known by Strava users in British Columbia as he currently holds 61 KOMs in the Sea to Sky area but more widely he should be known as the under 21 EWS pinner who finished on the podium at 3 of the 4 races he entered in the series last year. At the Crankworx Summer Series, he proved he was capable of mixing it with some of the fastest riders on the planet as he came second in the enduro, downhill and air downhill and 10th in the dual slalom. He ends the week 3rd in the overall as the one to watch as we head into the rest of the Series.
Some downhill racers will do 10 or fewer races a year so to pack 12 events into a 3 week schedule makes for a very intense load on both their mental and physical resilience. Crashes and injuries are already starting to play a part in the racing as Ainhoa Ijurco unfortunately found out at the start of the week after twinging her shoulder in the enduro and missing the rest of the stop.
Live Drone Filming Isn’t Quite There Yet
Vaea Verbeeck may be sitting at the top of the overall standings at the moment but it very nearly turned out differently for the reigning Queen of Crankworx. In the slalom practice session she overshot one of the jumps and was laid down on the side of the track for about an hour with a suspected broken arm. Thankfully the arm was fine and she was able to shake off the soreness and take the win in the slalom, downhill and air dh events. It served as a stark warning though, if anyone is aiming for the overall title, looking after their bodies will be as important as their speed on the track.
With its remote, mountainous setting and courses that can be several miles long, mountain biking is not an easy sport to broadcast. We've often wondered if drones could be a way to improve access for fans and in Silver Star we were able to see that style of coverage for the first time. In both the downhill and dual slalom races, some parts of the course were filmed by racing drones with attached cameras that allowed us to follow racers like never before. Some clips are in the recap video to the right if you missed the broadcast.
We thought the drones provided a great alternative perspective for replays but for live filming there are still some improvements to be made. The noise of the drone drowned out any of the sounds from the race and ended up being pretty annoying after a couple of hours of racing. On top of that, cameras in a fixed position allow us to compare riders’ lines and judge their speed, this is something that gets lost as the drone flies on a different path every run. We still think drones could revolutionize mtb broadcasts, especially in enduro, and we applaud Crankworx for including them as part of the broadcasts at these events but there’s still room for improvement at the moment.Brett Rheeder is more than a 1-trick pony
The surprise result of the weekend came from an unlikely source as Brett Rheeder humbled a bevy of full time racers and earned the bronze medal position in the downhill race. He admitted after the race that he had surprised even himself but should we have seen it coming? There were a lot of factors that played into Brett's victory here. Firstly, this is his home mountain so he will have been familiar with the conditions and terrain, if not even the track. Secondly, the course was short with the winning times coming in at around the 2 minute mark. This isn't far off the length of a Crankworx slopestyle or Rampage run so the fitness advantage of racers won't have come into play as much as on a longer track
Finally, this isn't Brett's first stint between the tapes. He's previously posted a respectable 7th place finish at the Taxco urban downhill race in 2014 and then a 14th at the US Open last year. Brett is one of the most skilled bike riders on the planet so it’s no surprise he can channel that into race speed when he wants. He’s also no stranger to performing under pressure and delivering a perfect run exactly when it counts. We’re looking forward to seeing more of him in action throughout the Summer Series.