Redwoods Downhill Photo Epic - Crankworx Rotorua 2018

Mar 18, 2018
by Cameron Mackenzie  


All hail the weather gods once more. Not a drop of rain, a puddle or a pair of gloves in sight. Day 2 kicked off with riders and spectators began to get shuttled up the hill for the inaugural 2018 Crankwox Rotorua Redwoods Downhill. Hosted in the Whakarewarewa Forest and on the infamous Taniwha National Downhill course, this event is the first time in a long time an international field has set foot on these soils for an event other than an EWS.

For the strong international field, the course up in the Redwoods provided a track unlike anything else on the circuit. The loamy, loose dirt and a trail littered with exposed roots kept many on their toes. Thanks to trail builder Dave Hamilton, plenty of new features had been built and new lines created to keep the locals familiar with the forest challenged.

The biggest talking point of the day was how the out of town riders would fare against the local boys and girls. Both Brook and Keegan have spent many hours on this track and both won here before, but for guys like Mick Hannah, this mornings practice was the first time they had ridden it. The different running schedule of this event unsettled a number of visiting racers - 5 hours of practice then straight into 1 timed run doesn't make things easy.

Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
Cramming practice and racing into one day is always a tall order but the riders love it.

Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
Leogang or Rotorua? The lower open section proved to be the undoing of a few riders. All those tree stumps weren't very friendly.

Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
Even though riders had over 5 hours for practice, the time still flew by.

Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
Not everyone was old enough to race, but the great thing about this event as that it was free for the public to enter making for large fields of spectators.

Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
Trail Conditions? As hero as Rotorua Hero Dirt gets!

Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
Holy! Did he ride this out?
Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
Surprisingly yes, even though he was moments away from flying out the front door.

Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
Dane Nimmo, however, did have a horrific crash in the same section, hitting a stump and getting launched off. Heal up mate!

Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
George of the jungle trying to tame the sniper roots.

Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
It wasn't Tracey's day today. A crash during practice and a few concussion tests later saw her leaving the track early. Let's hope she is ok for events later in the week.

Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
Tracey Hannah failed a few of the concussion tests on site, but the system allows her to race if she can get medical sign off. Lets hope she gets what she needs and we see her back racing later in the week.

Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
This way to high speeds.
Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
There was plenty of grip out there . Makes me wish I was racing myself.

Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
Blake Ross was riding aggressively all day, but let 4.20 seconds slip to Finn Hawkesby-Brown.

Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
Many were too serious to send with style, but not this guy.

Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
George sending the new stump gap feature that had all the riders talking.

Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
Finn-Hawkesby Brown backed up his solid national season and took the win in Youth Men.

Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
Guy Johnston was on fire but was almost 14 seconds back on Finn-Hawkesby Brown in the youth field.

Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
Blake Ross spent the day lapping behind Matt Walker. Clearly, that helped. 2nd in the Youths.

Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
Sam Robbie was pushing hard but couldn't find what was needed to knock Tuhoto and Josh of those upper two steps.

Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
Josh Oxenham managed to hold things together and ride to the win in U19.

Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
Dani Beecroft was keeping a low profile and didn't look to be doing many practice laps. 6th in Elite Women isn't her best result, but expect to see the Aussie shine come pumptrack and dual slalom next week.

Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
Tracey Hannah looked to be struggling to get up to speed during practice, but after a head vs tree incident, we will have to wait a little longer to see how her pace is coming into this season.

Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
Shania Rawson had all eyes on her today. The home track and the first time this year she has had a strong female field to compete with.

bigquotesSuch a great race to kick Crankworx off with. The track was unreal. Race run felt good but a crash put me back a bit. Excited for the rest of the week.Shania Rawson


Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
Jill Kintner looked off the pace today, +7.48 back on Vaea, and not only that a long way back in the points race for the QoC title. Will missing the enduro harm her campaign?

Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
Casey may not have won, but her win at the enduro and second in the downhill is enough to see her leading the Queen of Crankworx race.

Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
Vaea Verbeeck was on a blinder today. Feeling comfortable and enjoying the track, it all clicked.

bigquotesToday was a sweet, sweet surprise! I hadn’t seen the track until this morning’s practice and had no expectations. It turned out to be the most fun track and I was just loving it lap after lap. I didn’t really stop for a break and got a lot of runs in. I felt the fatigue, definitely, and had two crashes in practice that kept me on my toes all day. In the end, it paid off to get more comfortable and really know what lines I wanted to hit. Awesome day! Stoked with how my Crankworx has started!Vaea Verbeeck


Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
George Brannigan spent a lot of the day crashing but managed to hold things together for his finals run and a solid 6th place, 13 seconds back.

Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
Local lad Kyle Lockwood was back in his element today.

bigquotesThe race was all time. It felt good to jump back on the big bike after a few enduro races with a sick track and mint weather! Stoked to finish up 9th in Pro men behind some heavy hitters!Kyle Lockwood


Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
Keegan Wright was out doing battle one last time before departing for Chile. On the trail bike, and still quick enough for 4th overall.

bigquotesThe day was super sick! The trail bike was loving being throwing down on the downhill track. Stoked to snag 4th place with a solid group of pinners. The track was awesome fun and super fast! Stoked with how it all went, now it's onwards to Chile!Keegan Wright


Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
With Tracey out, it was up to Mick to put an Aussie on the podium.

Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
He rode to third but still had time to throw a trademark suicide off the final sender.

bigquotesI haven't seen this track before, so I just tried to do as many laps as I could during practice. With Brook and the boys from the around these ways, I'm glad I was able to stay close.Mick Hannah


Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
With the world cup season just over a month away, Brook is beginning to look comfy on his new ride.

Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
Brook's time looked to be unbeatable today, at least until Blenki came and blew it apart.

Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
Unstoppable. Blenki is on a roll at the moment.

Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
Charging down the hill to beat Brook by 2.82 seconds, and beat him on this track for the first time in 15 years.

Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
Brook MacDonald was on fire today.
Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
Sam Blenkinsop was on another level though. Finally able to put things together when it counted.

Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
A podium full of Oceanic Men and North America Women

Crankworx Rotorua Redwoods DH 2018
Elite Podium


1st - Sam Blenkinsop ( 2:53:44 )
2nd - Brook MacDonald ( 2:56:26 )
3rd - Mick Hannah ( 2:58:28 )

1st - Vaea Verbeeck ( 3:32:19 )
2nd - Casey Brown ( 3:32:42 )
3rd - Jill Kintner ( 3:39:67 )


Full Results


Mentions: @cameronmackenzie @officialcrankworx




40 Comments

  • + 74
 Blenkinsop is back on the pace it would seem. Can’t wait to see his wild style at the top of the WC again this year! Yes lad!
  • + 31
 "Tracey Hannah failed a few of the concussion tests on site, but the system allows her to race if she can get medical sign off. Lets hope she gets what she needs and we see her back racing later in the week."

If she failed a concussion test, she likely needs a minimum of a few weeks for her brain to heal. Coming back now would be at the risk of double injuring herself, which could have long term consequences. We need to treat concussions as the serious injuries that they are.
  • + 2
 I agree. I don't really understand the protocol at a pro level. A few years ago I was knocked out cold in a ski crash and suffered a concussion. The doctor said I wasn't to do anything strenuous or where I could experience another impact for 8 weeks and to self-monitor for symptoms during and after that time. Then we have these athletes who may get cleared after a day or two.
  • + 1
 Tracey has said she wont return to racing at this crankworks but hopes to make the first WC. Information on the TBI protocol in NZ is here accsportsmart.co.nz/assets/Uploads/files/SportSmart-National-guidelines.pdf sometimes it can take a few days for some symptoms to appear, and immediately following a crash some diagnostics may be unreliable, hence why it is up to medical doctors to make the call. Pro athletes get some perks such as much more intensive monitoring so the doctors can make more informed decisions on individual cases rather than for your average punter who probably only sees them once for a few minutes after a crash and gets given a standard protocol to follow.
  • + 23
 I really hope Blenki can bag one this year. The talent pool is just so damn deep
  • + 3
 one *at least
  • + 14
 Can't wait for WC season. With Blenki on form and some of the other boys ripping hope we see some fresh blood on the top steps this year.
  • + 13
 BLENKI , WIN SOME WORLD CUPS THIS YEAR !!!!!! Beer its been 10 years since Maribor !!!
  • + 3
 *Schladming
  • + 2
 @Guytzuv: i ask for forgiveness
  • + 12
 Nothing beats DH racing.
  • - 10
flag nug12182 (Mar 18, 2018 at 17:33) (Below Threshold)
 FEST
  • + 7
 Super tight racing times for the women. That's cool
  • + 6
 Wow you guys are getting a really fast turnaround on these photo epics!! Mad props to you for putting in so much work
  • + 7
 Podium goggles. Stay safe out there.
  • + 2
 Um... where is Casey Browns kit from Trek?? Not even a t-shirt... And is that a Rochshox front fork on the bike she is riding?

Its that or I am out of the loop I suppose.
  • + 3
 yep full sram/rock shox kit as trek factory racing enduro is on sram / rock shox

a free mind don t need a fancy kit for racing :-)

www.pinkbike.com/photo/15699480

or in the laundry after the enduro race :-)
  • + 4
 This is one reason why Casey is so bad ass. No fancy kit needed, just a dakine t-shirt and she is ready to roll...
  • + 4
 BLINKIIIIIII!
  • + 2
 Great photos Cam Mac. Casey Brown 1st in the Enduro and 2nd in the Redwood DH! Nice work.
  • + 1
 What type of sicko rides w/ no gloves tho for real? i fug w/ the t shirt guy tho.
  • - 2
 can you imagine buying a set of grips or gloves that get wetter and wetter as you do your run?
  • + 2
 People without normal jobs.
Sorry boss, can't work today, hands all grazed up. Boss, what are you, twelve?
  • + 1
 hey just wondering if anyone knows why its called redwoods downhill when there are no redwoods?
  • + 4
 The area was originally a test bed to help find what sort of trees grew best in NZ (the winner being pinus radiata). There are stands of all sorts of different tree types all over the forest, but there are major stands of redwood trees dotted around the place, mainly at the foothills (the track is higher than these smaller hills). Basically the Rotorua city side of the lower part of the forest is predominately redwood.

www.rotoruanz.com/RNZ/media/Media-Library/Business/Visit/Explore-Rotorua-Forests-Redwoods.jpg?width=585
  • + 2
 @handynzl: WOW thank you!!!!!I live in Northern California and was told they only exist up here to Oregon. Someone needs to inform National Geographic lol.
  • + 2
 Casey for Queen 2018 - vote early, vote often.
  • + 2
 Sick shot of Sam Robbie
  • + 1
 New rock shox boxxer in time race test)))) nice foto and results)
  • + 1
 Why didn't Sam put his Norco up on the podium?
  • + 2
 LOAM
  • + 1
 Let's see Tracy Hanna back on top this season. Always giving 110%
  • + 1
 Where is Keegan going to land in that pic ? Gnar...
  • - 3
 after the roots i d say.. pull up !
  • + 1
 "Holy! Did he ride this out?" - That's impressive without a rear wheel!
  • + 1
 Is that a new Troy Lee full face in the fourth picture?
  • + 1
 with the d2 finally being put to rest(r.i.p. d2), the rad folks at tld have put some world class protection and stylin into the brand new d3 fiberlight.................. for a price that won't break the bank


www.troyleedesigns.com/bike/helmets

check em out.
  • + 1
 ...hey look,kneepads!!!
  • + 5
 yes...baby steps... next we're going to give these glove gizmo things a try.... maybe...

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