After rain wreaked havoc on yesterday's competitions, the sun began to shine this afternoon in time for the Pumptrack Challenge presented by RockShox here at Crankworx Rotorua 2017. Both the crowds of spectators and the racers had been getting anxious waiting on the weather, and the pump track event under the lights was just what everyone needed to turn the vibe up a notch.
With the crowd in his corner all night, Rotorua local Keegan Wright was able to knock off rider after rider on his way to the final matchup with Adrien Loron. Loron, who is the current Crankworx Pumptrack Champion, was looking to get his first ever win here in Rotorua, while Wright was intent on giving the locals a reason to celebrate. Keegan had been unstoppable all night, especially down the final straightways. And when he pulled a lead out of the last corner on both his heats against Loron, it was obvious there was would be no catching the young Kiwi. It would be his first Crankworx event win, and in the process denied Adrien Loron that elusive win in Rotorua for the third straight year.
In the Women's race, all eyes were on defending Queen of Crankworx, Jill Kintner and rival Caroline Buchanan. Jill dominated this event last season winning all three rounds while Caroline had been absent due to her Olympic BMX obligations. So it was good to see both powerhouse riders here in Rotorua racing head to head once again. After the first heat it looked like it would be in Jill's favor as she had started on the slower blue lane, but on the second heat she threw her advantage away after she drifted high on one of the big right-hand turns. With the soft nature of the track, there was no way to recover from a mistake, and that allowed Buchanan to beat her to the line by about one bike length.
In the small final which would decide the third spot on the podium Danielle Beecroft took down Shania Rawson, while Barry Nobles narrowly edged out Mitch Ropelato by the smallest of margins. With his third place finish, Barry Noblefgutts would also share the podium for the second time in Crankworx history with his fiancé, Caroline Buchanan.