Race Day. D-Day. The day it all comes to a head, and the day the tides turned on the conditions for riders at the first stop of the 2018 Crankworx World Tour. High up on the hills of Mt. Ngongotaha, riders from all corners of the globe had been lapping out what many labelled 'the best DH course currently in use' for several days. When everyone arrived in Rotorua the talk of the town was how good it was going to be to have a dry Crankworx and how 'all time' the trail conditions were. Who spoke too soon?
Four laps of the track per day, three days of dry conditions, and one evening of heavy rain spelt disaster for the hopes of that ideal race. Pockets of loam and patches of hero dirt soon became healthy splatterings of peanut butter and nearly unrideable patches of black, greasy, polished dirt. After Saturday's cancellation due to the weather front that rolled in playing havoc with the slopestyle, Sunday's schedule had to be swiftly amended. Some may argue it wasn't to the benefit of the pros who had to start practice at 7:30 am in the morning, but when you've got the world tuning in, the live stream can't wait.
For some, that change caught them off guard and for others, it added to the drama of an already stressful early morning start. Jill Kintner was one of those who's morning didn't go as planned. Car trouble with her rental saw Jill and Bryn frantically trying fit her bike, without wheels, into the back of Bryn's Mom's tiny rental car. Not to worry though, they got to practice, but Jill's stress levels would have been through the roof.
With the race becoming all about survival, flat pedals were quickly fitted, the roll-offs rolled out, and a 'just send it' attitude adopted. Not the start to the season that many wanted, but the infamous track delivered exactly what was wanted; tight racing and an ideal early season showdown.
1st - Sam Blenkinsop 3:13:10
2nd - Mick Hannah +5.14
3rd - Finn Iles +15.86
1st - Tahnée Seagrave 4:18.51
2nd - Emilie Siegenthaler +11.60
3rd - Miranda Miller +32.83
Mentions: @cameronmackenzie @officialcrankworx