Crankworx Rotorua Unveils Preliminary Athlete Lineup for Its 10-Year Anniversary Celebration

Feb 27, 2024
by Official Crankworx  
Crankworx Rotorua Taniwha Downhill 2023
Rotorua local Tuhoto-Ariki Pene at the RockShox Taniwha Downhill at Crankworx Rotorua 2023 (c) Crankworx

PRESS RELEASE: Crankworx World Tour

In the heart of New Zealand’s adventure capital, Rotorua, an exhilarating festival is about to unfold from March 16-24. Kicking off a big year for the Crankworx World Tour, it marks a remarkable ten-year journey of mountain biking magnificence within the beautiful landscapes of Aotearoa’s North Island. This year’s Crankworx Rotorua not only commemorates its 10th anniversary but also celebrates a significant leap forward with the debut of the women’s competition in the Crankworx FMBA Slopestyle World Championship, setting a new benchmark for equality and competition in the sport.

The Stage Is Set
Crankworx Rotorua etched its name as a pinnace event on the global mountain biking calendar, attracting the crème de la crème of the mountain biking world. The festival kicks off in the lush forests of Whakarewarewa and Tītokorangi, setting the tone for what’s to come. As the event transitions to the iconic Skyline Rotorua, attendees are treated to a spectacle of events including the Air Downhill, the Official New Zealand Whip-Off Championships, and Speed & Style throughout the week, culminating in a double-header Saturday with the Specialized Dual Slalom and the Crankworx Rotorua Pump Track Challenge. The crowd-pleasing Maxxis Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza which, for the first time ever, will feature male and female athletes at the pinnacle of the sport, is set to top off this thrilling event lineup.

Beyond the adrenaline-fuelled competition, Crankworx Rotorua is a beacon for the next generation of riders, with CWNext and Kidsworx events offering young riders a taste of the action throughout the festival. Crankworx Rotorua’s commitment to community and youth development shines with the inclusion of the North Island Schools MTB Championships, working together with Rotorua Mountain Bike Club to create a platform for student riders to shine. Once again, there will be plenty of educational opportunities as well, inviting teachers to take their students on a field trip to take a peek behind the curtains of Crankworx Rotorua with the well-established Educate Program.

Riders to Watch
The spotlight shines bright on local legend Tuhoto-Ariki Pene, the reigning King of Crankworx. After a year of dominating performances across the globe, Pene returns to his home turf as a favourite in the Rotorua Pump Track Challenge, the Specialized Dual Slalom and the RockShox Taniwha Downhill. Securing victories at the 2023 Pump Track events at Crankworx Whistler and Rotorua, clinching a close second at Crankworx Innsbruck, and triumphing at Crankworx Summer Series New Zealand 2023 in Queenstown has solidified the King of Crankworx’ reputation not just in this discipline but also in both Dual Slalom and Downhill events.

Jenna Hastings, another kiwi rider making waves, is set to showcase her versatile skills across several events. Registered to compete in the RockShox Taniwha Downhill – where she came second last year; the Specialized Dual Slalom, the Pump Track Challenge, Speed & Style, Air Downhill and the New Zealand Whip-Off Championship at Crankworx Rotorua, she is also a hot contender for the Queen of Crankworx title.

Crankworx Rotorua 2023 RockShox Taniwha Downhill
Kiwi Jenna Hastings riding the RockShox Taniwha Downhill at last year's Crankworx Rotorua (c) Crankworx

A New Era for Women in Slopestyle
In addition to these two Aotearoa riders, spectators on site or at home, following the broadcast on Red Bull TV, won’t want to miss the introduction of the women’s competition in the Slopestyle World Championship (SWC). The 2024 Maxxis Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza is the first ever Diamond Level event sanctioned by the Freeride Mountain Bike Association (FMBA) to host a women’s category. Set to take place on February 24, it promises to be a showcase of talent and determination across both categories.

While the men’s category is packed with the world’s best freeride mountain bike athletes, led by the 2023 Triple Crown winner Emil Johansson (SWE), Dawid Godziek (POL), Erik Fedko (GER), and Nicholi Rogatkin (USA), the women’s category shines bright with Aotearoa rider and current #1 on the FMBA World Tour standings, Robin Goomes, and Harriet Burbidge-Smith (AUS) leading the charge. Also competing in the inaugural SWC event are Natasha Miller (CAN), Shealan Reno (USA), wildcard winner and Crankworx staple Caroline Buchanan (AUS), and the remarkable 17-year-old German rider and 2023 Red Bull Rookie of the Year, Patricia Druwen.

Crankworx Rotorua 2023 Maxxis Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza
Erik Fedko at the 2023 Maxxis Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza which will host a women's category this year for the first time ever. (c) Crankworx

In addition to the Crankworx FMBA Slopestyle World Championship, all riders in both categories are competing for the Triple Crown in Slopestyle. Harriet Burbidge-Smith is excited about this development: “I think having the Crankworx Triple Crown and overall title is a massive thing. I’m really glad that Crankworx didn’t decide to just dip their foot in only a little bit in terms of women’s slopestyle, but they really went all-in with everything with support, with the same level of competition and both risk and reward for the women which I think is amazing and really motivates me to be at the level that I want to be at. It’s exactly what the sport needs for us, and it’s going to show so much over the next ten years.”

A Testament to Ten Years of Crankworx Rotorua
Reflecting on a decade of Crankworx Rotorua, Managing Director Ariki Tibble acknowledges the collective effort that has propelled the event to its current stature.
bigquotesCelebrating 10 Years of Crankworx Rotorua is a monumental milestone for us. So many hands have helped carry the torch along the way and it’s that combined and sustained effort that see’s us standing here today.Ariki Tibble, Managing Director Crankworx Rotorua

As Crankworx Rotorua opens its doors to fans from around the globe, the anticipation is palpable. Whether attending in person or tuning in from afar, this year’s festival is a testament to the enduring spirit and evolution of mountain biking.
With festival passes now available, everyone is encouraged to join the festivities and witness the pinnacle of mountain biking excellence. See here for the latest updates to the schedule and an overview of all events.

Preliminary Rider Lists for Crankworx Rotorua as of February 27, 2024

Author Info:
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Member since Jul 14, 2011
363 articles

  • 9 1
 One of those lists is Feb 2023...
  • 2 0
 eagle-eye up here...
  • 1 0
 It's a bit of a mixed bag.
2023 and 2024 lists has Jess Blewitt on Cube (she was on GT for 2023) and Louise on her old Nukeproof team.
  • 7 0
 So much attention to detail in this place. I reviewed the proofs for a peer-reviewed scientific manuscript this evening and was thinking that if only I could get it in front of my friends in the Pinkbike comment section I'm certain they'd find several errors missed by me, my co-authors and the journal's copy editors. But this is good. I'm fond of Crankworks and why do we have dual monitors at work if not to watch specialty sports in different time zones?
  • 1 0
 @AssPav: Also a few riders listed on Mondraker, but no longer on that team and Blenki on Crestline. I daresay there are others as well. I wonder if registration has been open for a while and some riders entered while on their old teams?
  • 1 0
 @The-Foiling-Optimist: I can get behind the last point!
  • 7 0
 Typo in article: Tuhoto-Ariki Pene, the reigning Kin of Crankworx.

Give the King his g!
  • 3 0
 Louise Ferguson is listed with Nukeproof but is of course now on IFR! ...... how long ago was this list created? poor effort by Crankworx for a professional press release.
  • 1 0
 With the explosion of Grassroots mountain biking happening the world over, what a great sign to see the Next Generation element of Crankworx also have a special event/kids track offered at every event in the rotation.

Also really delighted to see the reinstatement of the women’s Slopestyle event at Rotorua, something lost in Les Gets this year – maybe an all Mountain Bike venue is the best way to ensure this kind of event is viable long term?
  • 1 0
 Interesting to see that a few riders are still stating they are part of Nukeproof with still no further information about the future of the brand from Nukeproof themselves. Really hope the brand continues.
  • 3 0
 Can we stop with Chat GPT press releases?
  • 3 1
 Shame there's no enduro
  • 1 0
 No Ngongotaha DH?

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