The terrible weather that was hanging around Rotorua at the beginning of the week has disappeared, and the rescheduled running of the Mons Royale Dual Speed and Style went down under clear blue skies. Rotorua locals made the most of the beautiful weather and headed down in their droves to watch the close racing unfold. In a twist to the usual format, there were no women racing at all this year, which was a bit of a shame for those wanting to see defending champ; Jill Kintner return to defend her title.
The usual names graced the field, Adrian Loron returned for redemption after being disqualified for a false start in his semi-final last year. Tomas Slavik was back to defend his title (even with a broken hand), and Kyle Strait had his eyes on the win as well. In the end, Czech rider Jakub Vencl came through with a win based on a big ol' bag of tricks he had in store. Jakub comes from a dirt jump and slopestyle background, which has helped prepare him for this style of event.
Adrian Loron came in second, with Tomas Slavik edging out Mitch Ropelato for third place. However, the highlight of the day was very much Mitch's front flip over the final jump, in clips, performed for the first time in 5 years. Even with such a banger ending to the run, it just wasn't enough to take the bottom step of the podium. Southern Lakes locals and friends Conor Macfarlane and Elmo Cotter faced off in their first heat together, Conor on a new bike, and Elmo on a borrowed ride. Unfortunately, Conor went over the bars after a tuck no-hander and broke his collarbone. All the best for a speedy recovery.
In the end, style beat speed, and we got to celebrate Jakub's first win with him.