Air DH Photo Epic - Crankworx Rotorua 2018

Mar 21, 2018
by Cameron Mackenzie  



Kiwi's aren't the type of people to copy others; typically we lead by example. But when it comes to 'A' specific jump trail in Whistler, and the always popular event that runs during Whistler's round of Crankworx each year, needs must. Now in its third year, Crankworx Rotorua's Air DH race has firmly cemented its position as a staple event during the first stop but is arguably getting long in the tooth due to the same trail with the same features being used as back in 2016.

For the riders though, this year's Air DH served as great early tell of who is up to speed and on form coming into the main events, and, just as importantly, the world cup season. Skyline Rotorua's Mr. Black trail provided tight racing once more, with less than 0.8 seconds separating the top 3 in the men's field and a change in the guard in both Elite categories as last year's victors took the silver steps on the podium, making way for fresh faces.

Crankworx Rotorua 2018 - Air DH
Chaos in the Santa Cruz NZ team house this morning as the young lads got themselves ready.
Crankworx Rotorua 2018 - Air DH
Cam Cole was on coffee duty to help ready the crew for a big day of laps.

Crankworx Rotorua 2018 - Air DH
Gondola uplifts meant that riders were clocking up huge amounts of laps.

Crankworx Rotorua 2018 - Air DH
Crankworx Rotorua 2018 - Air DH

Crankworx Rotorua 2018 - Air DH
For some practice was taken seriously, but for others, it was just an opportunity to send whips with the lads.

Crankworx Rotorua 2018 - Air DH
Winding its way down the edge of the hill rather straight down meant there was a lot of pedalling involved. Elevation is one thing the park doesn't have.

Crankworx Rotorua 2018 - Air DH
Come race runs, the open sections were proved useful for racers to see how far in front the person in front was.

Crankworx Rotorua 2018 - Air DH
Mind the gap.

Crankworx Rotorua 2018 - Air DH
The course was littered with wooden features and corners to break up the overload of dirt tabletops.

Crankworx Rotorua 2018 - Air DH
The main feature, a giant wooden corner.

Crankworx Rotorua 2018 - Air DH
Party trains were the hot item today.
Crankworx Rotorua 2018 - Air DH
Same with bar tweaks. Lots of bar tweaks!

Crankworx Rotorua 2018 - Air DH
The light on course was incredibly patchy, making it hard for rider's eyes to adapt as they carried huge pace through the trees.

Crankworx Rotorua 2018 - Air DH

Crankworx Rotorua 2018 - Air DH
Whip-Off isn't until Friday mate!

Crankworx Rotorua 2018 - Air DH
The only place riders had the opportunity to choose lines was on the road gap. The A-Line over the gap seemed like the obvious choice, but the B-Line upon later analysis proved to be quicker.

Crankworx Rotorua 2018 - Air DH
Dean Lucas staying up high on one of the wall ride corners.

Crankworx Rotorua 2018 - Air DH
Although the course may have only been just over 2-minutes, riders were still seeing stars by the bottom.

Crankworx Rotorua 2018 - Air DH
Lester Perry scrubbing his way across the last big gap on course.

Crankworx Rotorua 2018 - Air DH
Last years race belonged to Vaea Verbeeck, but this year she and Kintner swapped, with just 1.88 seconds between them.

bigquotesI love Air Downhill! It’s such a sweet race to practice for, the track is a ton of fun. Racing it is for sure really demanding. I felt pretty good today, I think I saved my legs too much at the top, going for more tuck. But a second place to the reigning Queen is a good day either way.Vaea Verbeeck

Crankworx Rotorua 2018 - Air DH
R-Dog bum-whipping his way down the course to close-out a full day of multi-discipline practice.

Crankworx Rotorua 2018 - Air DH
Sam Robbie was charging today but didn't have the pace against Lucas Cruz, having to settle for the silver in Juniors.

Crankworx Rotorua 2018 - Air DH
It was a surprise to see Dane Nimmo out racing today after that nasty crash last Saturday at the Redwoods Downhill. Whatever his injuries, they weren't holding him back. Edging out Ben Deakin by 0.92 for the masters win.

Crankworx Rotorua 2018 - Air DH
Baxter Maiwald may have done too many runs today and tired himself out for his race run. 11 practice laps before lunch, and 21st when things counted.

Crankworx Rotorua 2018 - Air DH
Blenki was on fire once more but had to settle for 4th against some strong competition.

Crankworx Rotorua 2018 - Air DH
George Brannigan was making all the right shapes today, but only had enough for 11th.

Crankworx Rotorua 2018 - Air DH
Jill Kintner was desperate to claw back more of the title lead, so today's win on the back of yesterdays Dual Slalom win will have her feeling good.

Crankworx Rotorua 2018 - Air DH
Ashley Bond

bigquotesWhat a day! Racing Mr. Black is always a good time, and the one-day event format worked well. You could have roller skated down it this morning it was that smooth. The Skyline team did an incredible job of getting this track ready to race! So cool to see so over 38 ladies across the categories racing. A few seconds off the pace of these pro ladies but I'm making big improvements on my riding so I’m happy.Ashley Bond


Crankworx Rotorua 2018 - Air DH
Bas has had a strong track record of doing well in the Air DH, but couldn't pip the fast kiwis.

bigquotesToday was pretty sweet, it was such a hard race, with the track being not very technical it was so physically demanding. I’m pretty stoked on the run that I put down and looking forward to more of these races!Bas van Steenbergen

Crankworx Rotorua 2018 - Air DH
Casey was sending it out there today but lacked the horsepower needed in the stacked women's field.

Crankworx Rotorua 2018 - Air DH
I for one certainly didn't see that coming! Mick Hannah edged out Matt Walker by 0.72 to take his first gold of the festival.

bigquotesAir DH was a tough one today. I knew I had to bring my A-game, but a few small mistakes in my run were costly. Can’t complain when someone like Mick is on the top step and looking forward to the next event!Matt Walker


Crankworx Rotorua 2018 - Air DH
Dean Lucas gave it his all today.
Crankworx Rotorua 2018 - Air DH
George is just stoked to be back to health and out there racing again. The results will come.

Crankworx Rotorua 2018 - Air DH - Elite Podium
Jill Kintner on the top step wasn't much of a surprise, but Mick Hannah pipping last years winner Matt Walker was.

Crankworx Rotorua 2018 - Air DH
Another one bites the dust. Until tomorrow.


1st - Mick Hannah
2nd - Matt Walker
3rd - Tomas Slavik

1st - Jill Kintner
2nd - Vaea Verbeeck
3rd - Emilie Siegenthaler


Full Results



Mentions: @cameronmackenzie @officialcrankworx



Posted In:
Stories Crankworx



21 Comments

  • + 22
 Just figured out I need a lot of money to buy a house in NZ and spend the winters there...
  • + 3
 Let's go halfsies!!! The Rotorua coverage just kills me every year.
  • + 2
 @bikesoverbritches @optimumnotmaximum you guys should have a look to real estate prices in NZ at the moment, that my change your plans a bit ^^
  • + 13
 R-Dog doing downhill with one brake Slopestyle bike. He should had won just for that!!
  • + 12
 Don't really see why Hannah winning a race like this comes as a surprise.
  • + 10
 So there were no DH bikes participating in the Air DH?
  • + 1
 too smooth for that!
  • + 7
 Quit tryin to make pip happen
  • + 7
 Waterbottle might have cost Blenki the podium...
  • + 5
 ADIDAS = all day I dream about steez


Now you'll be singing that whilst listening to Korn.
  • + 1
 Looks like a mini Tippie action figure in that Dean Lucas corner. I gotta get me a bag o those. They can take on my army men!
  • + 1
 Taking nothing away from Jill but part of the reason she's on the top step is because Tracy went down and hit her head (again) hard.
  • + 2
 snow is melting here now, Christ I just want to ride my bike CMON
  • + 1
 Are big bikes obsolete for park riding?
  • + 1
 Sick the way Mick gets faster and faster every year! Bring it on Pops!!
  • + 2
 Stevie Smith is Air DH
  • + 1
 Doing a great job of these Cam!
  • + 1
 Photo of what bike Bas was riding?
  • + 1
 Yeeeeoow! Giz a hoon.
  • + 1
 OMG Mike Haderer! XD

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2019. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv65 0.050680
Mobile Version of Website