5 Things We Learned From Crankworx Rotorua 2020

Mar 13, 2020
by James Smurthwaite  

After a week of incredible competition that kicks off the international racing calendar, here are five things we noticed from the sidelines.

1. The Hannah Family had a very good day

Tracey Hannah is the reigning Crankworx downhill champion and proved she was more than worthy of that title in Sunday's race. She now has 11 Crankworx downhill victories under her belt and is unbeaten in all Crankworx downhill races she has started since June 2018.

Her humongous 24-second winning margin is not the biggest in Crankworx history (that honour goes to Morgane Charre who battled through the bog to win by 25 seconds in Les Gets in 2016) but it underlines her dominance over the rest of the field. While some of the other top ladies didn't take the start-line, a commenter pointed out that her run was closer to being in the top ten of the men's race than to being second in the women's.
Tracey Hannah finished in first place for the women and had a full 24 second gap separating her and the next racer.

Her brother Mick on the other hand, hasn't won at Crankworx Rotorua before so it was awesome to see the 36 year old kick off his 2020 season with a strong result. Someone correct us if we've missed one, but Tracey and Mick haven't both won an event since their Elite Downhill wins at the 2013 Australian National Championships, where Mick beat out Jared Graves and Sam Hill for the win.

2. North America brought its A-game

Excluding slopestyle and downhill, the Crankworx core events were dominated by North Americans this year at Crankworx. While 2019 saw Keegan Wright, Thomas Lemoine and Billy Meaclem battling out for the wins, this year it was all about the athletes from the other side of the Pacific. Jill Kintner and Jordy Scott battled through most of the events on the women's side of things whereas Bas Van Steenbergen and Kyle Strait both enjoyed success in the men's competitions. The dominance is reflected in the King and Queen standings where only Sam Blenkinsop stopped North Americans locking out the top 4 positions in each ranking.


3. Jill Kintner is back to her winning ways

Jill took a huge step towards re-taking her Queen of Crankworx crown as she returned to the festival after a year's hiatus. She didn't finish outside the top 3 in any event she took part in, and came away with a haul of 420 points, 135 points clear of last year's queen Vaea Verbeeck. Last year, Verbeeck collected just 624 points over the three events to claim the crown, meaning Kintner could already be well on her way to the cash prize.

Jill Kintner is never far from a podium and once again didn t disappoint with second place finish.

4. COVID-19 began its effect on competition

Torquato Testa was confined to his room in self-isolation after New Zealand's Health Authority updated its guidelines about visitors from Italy and Korea. Despite there being no restrictions when he flew to New Zealand, Torquato was still caught out as the guidelines were updated in reaction to the spread of the disease. We've now seen some major races cancelled in March and when you add in-flight restrictions and lockdowns we may only be beginning to see the full effects of this virus play out.

Torquato Testa finished strong with an 86.75

5. The Next Generation is Here

Crankworx has always been a great launchpad for young riders to beat the top riders, just look at Finn Iles winning the Whip Off in 2014 or Billy Meaclem taking names in Rotorua last year. Jackson Goldstone has been a household name in mountain biking since, well, kindergarten, but this year was the 16-year-old's professional debut at Crankworx. He's been chomping at the bit to get his shot at a Crankwrox event and he made it count with a Whip-Off win in difficult conditions.

On the ladies' side Jordy Scott, 18, took her first win in Whistler last year during the women's Speed & Style, but she backed that up in front of the Rotorua crowds with wins in both Speed & Style and Pumptrack. Notably she took the pumptrack win over Jill Kintner, and she now sits 3rd in the Queen of Crankworx standings.

And on that note, let's finish things off with a look at Emil Johansson's epic slopestyle win. We didn't learn much because we already knew he was a wizard, but this is possibly the greatest slopestyle run of all time.

Author Info:
jamessmurthwaite avatar

Member since Nov 14, 2018
1,770 articles

  • 55 3
 1. The Hannah Family had a very good day

Should be rewritten to:

1. The Hannah Family f*cking rips
  • 19 2
 We already knew that though. Smile
  • 2 13
flag leviatanouroboro (Mar 13, 2020 at 12:09) (Below Threshold)
 @brianpark: for those who didn’t know. Naysayers and such!

Looking at all the troll account dicks around here lately!
  • 32 0
 5 Things We Learned From The 2020 MTB Season. FTFY
  • 19 1
 "Excluding slopestyle and downhill, the Crankworx core events were dominated by North Americans this year at Crankworx"

So in other words, excluding the actual core events...
  • 10 0
 what about that pump-track final where the winner was just 0.01 faster - that was quite cool. . .. methinks. .. .
  • 6 0
 "Kicking off the intenrational racing calendar" lol. What calendar? Almost all the big events are cancelled through March into April. Watch out for Pinkbike at your local weeknight races!
  • 4 0
 And I'd be shocked if there were much of a calendar after April...
  • 3 0
 Pinkbike better be showing up at the Highland Hardline youth DH series of northern scotland or I'll be dropping a downvote Wink
  • 8 0
 I can't wait for next weeks "Five things we learned from Lousã, Portugal"!
  • 4 1
 Number one by a long shot is Jill. No one even close to her in total domination of that event. How many bikes did she pack over 4-5? To get ready for each event and then podium is an incredible feat!!
  • 9 8
 1. SRSUNTOUR Athletes Win DH, pump track, speed & style. While still be compared to basic entry XCT products. why isn't Shimano compared to Tourney?
2. Polygon wins in DH by big margins. "Bike looks different" Fashion over function or function over fashion?
  • 1 1
 Because srsuntour are a taiwanese manufacturing company and their good at making stuff but poor at marketing.
  • 1 0
 This will be the lost year. The season is dead for almost every sport including cycling, most just haven't admitted it yet. We are only at the beginning of this outbreak and it isn't going to slow down for months. By then people will be so freaked out that they will overreact by cancelling the entire year.
  • 3 0
 Probably all the racing we'll get to watch this year... Luckily the gov hasn't banned edits yet
  • 3 0
 I learned that if Rotorua is any indication, Matt Walker is going to be on fire this season.
  • 3 0
 Uh....that WAS the season, pretty much. Looks like.....hopefully not.
  • 1 0
 @endlessblockades: c’mon, there’s lot of year left. Crowds might be a bit thinner when the season starts back up, but...
  • 1 0
 @ol-sidewinder: Yeah....OK. I'm thinking 3 months til we get back to business.
  • 2 0
 6.. crankworx dh coverage is still f’n terrible.... is it cos they use half the available cameras to film the presenters?
  • 1 0
 We have since learned that this is the last cycling event for the foreseeable future...
  • 1 0
 learned that the playback didnt work.
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