Crankworx Unveils Rider List for Rotorua Slopestyle

Feb 10, 2020
by Official Crankworx  
Credit Fraser Britton Crankworx 2019


It's the end of an era... for now.

In three weeks time on Saturday, March 7, all the action, excitement, inspiration and drama of the highest level of Slopestyle mountain biking will take flight for another season. 14 of the world’s top competitors have been given the golden ticket and are getting ready to descend on Rotorua for the first contest of the Crankworx FMBA Slopestyle World Championship season.

As the pilgrimage to the Southern Hemisphere begins, the full rider list for the Maxxis Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza has been released.

First up, the top five from the 2019 SWC standings:

Emil Johansson SWE
Dawid Godziek POL
Tomas Lemoine FRA
Torquato Testa ITA
Erik Fedko GER

These riders have earned entry into all Crankworx Slopestyle competitions in 2020.

But noticeably absent from the roster: the reigning Crankworx FMBA Slopestyle World Champion. In recent years, Brett Rheeder has been the most decorated Slopestyle athlete currently competing on the circuit, second only to Brandon Semenuk in the history of the discipline.

Credit Fraser Britton Crankworx 2019
Jay French photo
Rheeder's winning run in Rotorua last year, and season end celebrating his overall championship win, and Emil's first at Joyride. Photos: Fraser Britton and Jay French

bigquotesMy decision to step away from competing for part of 2020 was tough to make but I feel good about it, in that it’s a decision that will prolong my career. Because of the level of riding we’ve reached in slopestyle, the athletes who consistently stand on each podium now have to dedicate everything they have to staying up there. For me, this has been the case for over 10 years and I feel that I’m at a point in my career where it’s important to take a step back and give myself the time to re-focus on elements of my riding that I haven’t been totally satisfied with in the past so that I can continue to achieve my goals for the future.Brett Rheeder

Credit Fraser Britton Crankworx 2019
Photo: Fraser Britton

Rheeder, who turns 27 in under a week, has won seven Crankworx Slopestyle comps over the course of his career. He says he still plans to return to compete at Red Bull Joyride at Crankworx Whistler 2020, as well as Red Bull Rampage.

With the Canadian removed from the roster, Johansson becomes the top ranked competitor heading into Rotorua. The 23-year-old Swede returned to competition mid-season after a year off working through some medical issues. He came out swinging, placing second in Innsbruck and ending his Crankworx season on the highest note possible, winning Red Bull Joyride.

Credit Fraser Britton Crankworx 2019
Jay French photo
Victory. Photos: Fraser Britton and Jay French

bigquotes2019 was a crazy year filled with ups and down, doctor treatments and contests. I battled through it all and accomplished a few goals. With 2019 in the back all eyes are looking forward to this season. With a body that is feeling healthier than in the past I am so pumped to get this season started.Emil Johansson

It’s a feeling shared by others who’re chomping at the bit to put their off-season training to work.

bigquotesI’m looking forward to this year's tour and I feel great. I spent the whole winter on the bike and I'm excited to see how it will go at the first stop in New Zealand. I’ve been working on getting my current tricks even more dialed, plus I’ve got one or two new tricks!Erik Fedko

Credit Fraser Britton Crankworx 2019
Erik Fedko, who'll be looking to better his top season finish of fith place last year. Photo: Fraser Britton

Following is the next top-seven riders from the FMB World Ranking. The ripple effect of Rheeder’s departure bumps Messere up from first alternate onto the start list.

Alex Alanko SWE
Nicholi Rogatkin USA
Thomas Genon BEL
Paul Couderc FRA
Lucas Huppert SUI
Lukas Knopf GER
Anthony Messere CAN

The world will certainly be watching to see if Rogatkin can find his stride once again in 2020. After winning three out of four events in 2018, the American cracked the top five only once in 2019. Genon will also be looking to better his performance from last season - a fall off the first drop in New Zealand resulted in a shoulder injury that took him out for the entire season.

Rounding things out, two wildcards will join the pack.

Timothé Bringer FRA
Owen Marks USA

Bringer gains entry as the 2019 Red Bull Rookie of the Year, while Marks earns his spot thanks to his strong performance in the 2019 Big White Tom van Steenbergen Invitational.

A new year and a new decade of competition are upon us. Who’s going to step up to the challenge and make their mark?

James Stokoe photo
Where things ended in 2019. Photo: James Stokoe

Tune in Saturday, March 7 to watch it all go down.

Keep up with all the action from the Crankworx World Tour at, including LIVE coverage on Red Bull TV of:

CLIF Speed & Style presented by Mons Royale
Maxxis Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza
100% Dual Slalom Rotorua
RockShox Rotorua Pump Track presented by Torpedo7
Crankworx Rotorua Downhill presented by Gull

Head to for broadcast details and times.

You can also catch the action live on, along with schedule and broadcast info, tickets, event details, and results from across the Crankworx World Tour.


  • 35 3
 Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Will Nikoli Rogatkin win it all?

I dunno guys, gotta be honest... I was really hoping to see Bill Murray out here on a new ebike, shredding lines like a monster.
  • 17 0
 He's probably still mucking around in Punxsutawney.
  • 18 0
 Bill Murr-E ?
  • 7 0
 Bill Murray will only be competing in the AT&T Pro-Am this year. He won’t be at Rotorua.
  • 34 1
  • 11 0
 so happy to see him set after he got robbed in so many energy in the field
  • 3 0
 Fingers crossed he does something good Smile
  • 3 0
 For sure! His run at Rotorua last year was worth so much more than it scored!
  • 4 0
 @G-rida: I know! It was bs that they didn’t let him compete in crankworks even tho he was one of the top in the overall rankings!
  • 3 1
 @Artikay13: I’m just stoked to see him back, for a sec I thought he fell off like Logan Peat
  • 19 0
 Call me crazy, but if the people at the top of their game (Semenuk, Rheeder) are walking away from crankworx due to a number of reasons, wouldn't it be wise for Crankworx to take an inward look and ask "why", perhaps make some changes to keep the most entertaining guys competing? Ultimately thats what the fans want to see....
  • 6 4
 What if they removed judges and awards from Crankworx and Rampage, and just split the prize money equally among all the riders. Let the whole thing be a jam session. I'd still be entertained.
  • 5 6
Totally Agree. I really don't enjoy 'judged' contests b/c there ALWAYS is a bias... if only to grade the first rider lower to 'leave room' for others.

Every time I hear Cam McCaul going "WOW, the judges REALLY Love that!" ... & then they DON'T... & the pained silence afterwards... It's just cringe. Even to my wife, walking past the tv, "how come his score is so low?" EXACTLY.

I wish there was something as objective as a timer for Slopestyle.

My I posit:
1. Post a list of tricks with their 'value'. Then simple T-shirt size, "Good, Better, Great" for each jump, with a stated multiplier.
2. Sure there'll be more 'close' or 'ties'. Great: Do a run-off, -or-
3. Let the riders themselves decide.

Goal: Put the judges out of work, & make the contest far more enjoyable!
  • 3 2
 @taijidave: YES! Needs a tiny bit of tweaking but for sure yes yes yes
  • 5 0
 @taijidave: Thats basically a formula for the "robot contest" tricks that pushed Rheeder away in the first
  • 1 0
 @rippersub: exactly! I mean a gnarly dumped 360 should score just as high as anything else in my opinion.
  • 2 0
 @taijidave: From what I can tell, most of the judges aren't really in the "business" of being a judge. They do it because it needs to be done, and it's an honor to be asked.
Having a point system wouldn't do anything. It may be worse. It'd make it more of a video game...
I was thinking that if there needs to be a winner, the riders should vote for it. Would be like a spirit award, effort award, and best rider award all rolled into one.
  • 4 0
 @mtbikemccoy: jam format, livestreamed - fans vote for fans choice and riders vote for riders choice - prize money is split between the two.

Problem solved.
  • 2 0
 @rippersub: wait, also need a minimum payout for every invited rider. Privateers and low-level factory riders are on a budget! Nothing crazy. Just enough to not make it cost money to place 4th at Crankworx.
  • 1 0
 @mtbikemccoy: Sure, if the event organizers allow for it, priority should go to someone risking their life to win though, if it's not financially justifiable nobody would compete in the first place...

Call me crazy, but isn't the whole point of sponsors to cover the costs of their athletes, not the event organizers? This isn't exactly PGA golf here... There shouldn't be privateers at crankworx because a sponsor should have picked them up by then....
  • 2 0
 @rippersub: Is that what Rheeder said? B/c quite seriously, his style of 'oppo truck driver' (& bagging on Rogatkin's Twister every time he can) is what's pushing viewers away from Slopestyle. Very few of the crew I hit the DJ's with think much of the judging at Crankworks... or Rampage, for that matter.

If I have to ask, "Wait, was that oppo? Okay, so then, um, I guess that oppo 720 is worth more b/c it had a quick can-can" etc... I'm just hating watching. Stoke has left the building.

EVERYONE can see how awesome a Twister or double-backflip is. When the judges keep ranking those lower than 'oppo 720'? I think the judging isn't serving the 'stoke.

@mtbikemccoy : I do agree that being asked to judge is an honor. I just don't understand WTF they're judging on, & obviously, neither does the public, & nor even announcers like Cam McCaul.
Let's brainstorm on a more objective criteria, b/c there's clearly some major bias going on.

...& if Rheeder srsly is complaining? Dude, he was the clear beneficiary of a ton of judges bias, & now at Rampage. "Clinical not Flat-Out" seems to be the new judging criteria.

Don't mind me. Me & my bros will be watching the 'Fest series instead...
  • 19 2
  • 18 1
 We want David Lieb.
  • 4 1
 100% agreed! Bring on Lieb!!
  • 3 0
 Banking on doing good at rocket air to qualify for Innsbruck! The top 12 isn’t easy to break into haha
  • 1 0
 @DavidLieb: we believe in you.
  • 15 1
 Its the year of Godziek and Emil!
  • 7 3
 I would retire too if I had to compete with up and coming people like Dawid and a healthy Emil.
  • 3 1
 @nug12182: and a crazy Tim Bringer
  • 1 2
 yep. and fedko fur sure
  • 3 4
 I am hoping so. Them two and Tommy G are my favourites apart from Semenuk and Rheeder. I hope Emil continues on his current form. I can see him matching Rheeder and possibly Semenuk. Not much care for Rogatkin. Not as stylish or as interesting to watch as the others.
  • 7 1
 I feel like there needs to be more big diamond style events throughout the season and more variation to the slope courses so riders like Semenuk and Rheeder aren’t getting so bored of the scene. I also think with how hard these riders work in the off season there should be more contests for them to show off their hard work. Also let more than 14 riders in because there are a lot more capable riders.
  • 1 2
 The diamond series because there were to many contests to attend so if you wanted to win the overall wich resulted in to much pressure for the riders so they summed it down to the 5 most serious comps
  • 7 1
 Boss, do what you want Reeder. You deserve it.
  • 2 1
 ^^ Was going to say, that's a smart decision Bret. Enjoy life, have a good time Smile
  • 7 2
 O-BRO!!!!! Hell yeah dude.
  • 7 1
 Yup Obro is gonna light it up this season!
  • 5 1
 @paulgenovese: Yeah he's been putting in the work for sure. I don't want to see anyone go down but I do want to see him get his chance.

PB cracking me up negative propping me on that comment. LOL!
  • 3 0
 Stoked to see Owen get some more love. Been killing it for years. He road real well last year and put up some killer results all over the world.
  • 6 2
 Johansson is 20 not 23. Shit without Rheeder it won't be the same
  • 4 1
 Think they got him confused with 23 year old Swedish ice hockey player Emil Johansson..
  • 5 1
 Damn, was hoping to see Matt Jones up there. But stoked on Anthony!
  • 1 1
 Can't even imagine how hard mega-spinning is, or doing what scores the most to win is obviously important - but I am hoping for an event filled with fun new tricks, something that is fun to watch. . ... ..
  • 2 1
 I can't figure out why us Brits are not more competitive here. We have have pockets of a great DJ scene but it doesn't grow. I guess some want to keep it that way.
  • 7 1
 I feel like most Brits ride for style and not for contest winning tricks. Which isn’t a bad thing at all.
  • 1 1
 We dont have the scene for it, thats why, only really a handful of riders doing this. Was really hoping might have seen Matt invited again but seems not as he didn't have a great season last year.
  • 7 1
 The UK scene just isn't competition focused. The only UK rider genuinely chasing ranking and titles is Tom Isted. Matt Jones, Pilgrim and the Reynolds brothers are far more media focused these days. It's not necessarily a good or bad thing, it's just the way it is.
  • 4 1
 Stoked for Genon to be on another year and yeah O-Bro!!
  • 1 1
 Im kinda new to the whole slopestyle competition world,so could anyone tell me why max fredriksson isn't going to compete in rotorua?
  • 1 1
 i dont get how max fredrikson isnt bumped in!!! he was 15th and brett it out so shouldnt max now be 14th??? this sucks!!!
  • 3 1
 12 + 2 Wildcards = 14
  • 3 1
 @RichardJBos: Yeah true...they should do top14 plus 2 wild cards like they used to..then you have 16riders...
  • 1 0
 Probably because he threw away his runs last season. Max is insanely talented and has so much bike control. I really was hoping he would throw down this year as well.
  • 1 1
 Hope Brett comes back after a year off.
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