The Top 10 Crankworx Moments from the Past 10 Years

Jan 10, 2020
by Official Crankworx  
 Photo by clint trahan crankworx
Photo: Clint Trahan

Words by Crankorx

From Inside the Race Tape - Crankworx Top 10 Moments from the Past 10

It’s been a time. The past decade has brought us some people that have changed the game forever and some moments that’ve been burned into our memories.

As we head into a new decade, a few of us Crankworx old-timers who’ve been at this game for a while sat down to reminisce about our top moments from the past 10 years.

We hope you enjoy taking a stroll alongside us down Crankworx memory lane, and share your favourite Crankworx moments in the comments. #LongLiveChainsaw #McGazzaForever

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10. 2012 – Chainsaw goes full pull in Crankworx DH
Before there was the Triple Crown we know today, there was Stevie Smith’s triple-crown. In 2012, the Canadian rider solidified his spot in the history books, winning every DH event at Crankworx Whistler that year. The feat earned Smith the 2012 King of Crankworx title.

Legends never die. #LongLiveChainsaw

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9. 2011 – The first Red Bull Joyride
Slopestyle was part of Crankworx’s earliest days, but 2011 was the first year it took the name that would take it to new heights: Red Bull Joyride. The inaugural Joyride competition certainly set a memorable precedent. Cam Zink, the previous year’s winner, podiumed in second. Unseating him, 20-year-old Whistler local turned legend, Brandon Semenuk. But the kid who stole the show? 15-year-old Anthony Messere, who entered the event as an alternate then pushed his way to the third spot on the podium with huge air.

Starting at 4:51: Brett Rheeder recounts the first year of the Triple Crown.

8. 2015 – The Triple Crown of Slopestyle is born
"Imagine if a rider could win all three Crankworx Slopestyle contests in a season? How crazy would that be?"

As the Crankworx World Tour was solidified and a three-stop season took shape, an idea was sparked. In 2015 that idea morphed into a new prize on the line. It was lofty, but we hoped that some day, someone would rise to the challenge.

That day nearly came earlier than anticipated. The first year the Triple Crown of Slopestyle was up for grabs, as well as the additional $25,000 prize, Brett Rheeder was on a tear. He started the season with a win in Rotorua, then nabbed an unprecedented second win in L2A. The wave of momentum heading into Whistler was enormous, and the chatter around the Triple Crown rose to a fever pitch. Ultimately, Rheeder faltered in Whistler, and the prize remained unclaimed that year. But the excitement the chase had created was unreal, and the hype around this seemingly unattainable prize was solidified.

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7. 2014 – “Crankzilla” pushes the world’s best enduro riders to their limits
“The longest day. Nearly 9 hours on the bike. More than 65km covered. 2,300m of climbing, 3,300m of descending. This was a big day in every sense of the word, and that is before you even talk about the stakes for the race, both for the series and the huge prize money…” (Check out the full Pinkbike recap, from which this text was pulled, HERE.)

And the sweltering heat. Anyone who raced the 2014 Enduro World Series race at Crankworx Whistler will remember the heat. “Hot as balls,” described a Crankworx team member who will remain anonymous.

And thus, the moniker “Crankzilla” was born, a name forever associated with the monstrous five stages that pushed riders to the edge that year. To the winners - Jared Graves (Open Men), Cecile Ravanel (Open Women), Sebastien Claquin (Junior Men 16-18 ), Roland Jan Spaarwat (Senior Men 19-29), Craig Wilson (Master Men 30-39), Zach White (Master Men 40+), Duncan Nason (Boys 13-15), Leonie Picton (Women 19+) - and the 312 others who lined up at the start gate that day: we are not worthy.

Photo Clint Trahan
The first King and Queen of the Crankworx World Tour. Photo: Clint Trahan

6. 2015 – The first King and Queen of the Crankworx World Tour are crowned
2015 was a game-changer year for Crankworx, beyond the fact that it was the birth of the world tour. In 2015 we debuted equal prize money across the tour, and ended the season crowning the first King and Queen of the Crankworx World Tour. For the first time, we were able to reward and truly celebrate riders who dedicated themselves to Crankworx and persevered across disciplines and continents. 2015’s King and Queen, Bernard Kerr and Anneke Beerten, set the standard for dedication and spirit that’s become synonymous with the prize.

Starting at 1:31:13: The Crankworx World Tour is born.

5. 2014 - Crankworx Rotorua is announced
Ahead of Crankworx Whistler 2014, we were carrying a big secret. For months we’d been putting the final details in place on a deal that would bring Crankworx to the Southern Hemisphere, expanding our tour to three global stops. Ahead of Red Bull Joyride, we dotted our i’s and cross our t’s, making sure we were ready to share the news in a way that would get the world as excited as we were. One of the final pieces of the puzzle saw Rotorua’s Deputy Mayor Dave Donaldson (who for the last few years has sported a custom “CWXFAN” license plate - a true GC) come in to record the voiceover for the launch video that was to accompany the announcement. As Brandon Semenuk settled into the hot seat after the first runs and the broadcast rolled into the halftime show, the team assembled. With that announcement, the Crankworx World Tour was born. The team often kicks off Crankworx Rotorua by watching the clip of the announcement - it still gives us goosebumps.

4. 2017 - #FerdaGirls
Love it or hate it, this video made serious waves. Micayla Gatto’s submission into the 2017 Dirt Diaries video competition got Pinkbike commenters all fired up about humour, sexism and irony, the mountain bike community talking about equality, and the non-mountain biking world, well, talking about mountain biking. The results? Close to 2M views on the IFHT produced edit on YouTube, and a movement amongst female riders who, more than ever before, encouraged each other to own their place on trails around the world.

 Photo by clint trahan crankworx
Photo: Clint Trahan

3. 2014 – #LetFinnIn
A few days into Crankworx Whistler 2014, we started seeing a rogue hashtag pop up. We didn’t think much of it initially (we were busy, you know, running a festival), but it got louder. The world was calling for then 14-year-old Whistler shredder Finn Iles to gain an invite into the Official Whip-Off World Championships. Let’s make a couple things clear: the event takes place on Crabapple Hits, the Whistler Mountain Bike Park’s most infamous jump line. These jumps are very, very big. Add to their enormity the adrenaline and pressure that comes with dropping in in front of thousands of rabid fans… There is a reason this is an invitation-only event, reserved for the best of the best. But Finn and his parents, plus the hordes of fans behind the now-viral #LetFinnIn campaign, pleaded their case. We listened, evaluated, deliberated, and ultimately handed him the golden ticket. Far be it from us to hold someone back who can prove they’re deserving. So, you asked. We answered. And come Whip Off day, the damn kid won. That’s Crankworx for you.

2. 2016 – McGazza Tribute Train in Rotorua
The Crankworx Rotorua Slopestyle was about to start, and the eyes of the world were on Rotorua. But in that moment, the normal electricity and buzz was silenced. You could have heard a pin drop at the top of the course. Through the silence, Kelly McGarry’s best friends, riding buddies and fellow pro riders dropped in to the course he had helped design and shape, in tribute to their friend who had passed unexpectedly just weeks before. As riders continued to drop, the solemn vibe shifted, the crowd sharing in the celebration of a legend of a man who led a great, big life. The McGazza Tribute Train has now become an annual occurrence at Crankworx Rotorua, but 2016 was the first. Always led by his riding buddy and course building partner Tom Hey, it kicks the action off at the now renamed Crankworx Rotorua Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza. #McGazzaForever

Credit Fraser Britton Crankworx 2018
History, made. Photo: Fraser Britton

1. 2018 – Nicholi Rogatkin wins the Triple Crown of Slopestyle
The last rider to drop in at Red Bull Joyride 2018, Nicholi Rogatkin had the weight of the world on his shoulders. Rogatkin had two other wins under his belt that season, and a never-before-won title within reach if he could pull off a third. The Triple Crown of Slopestyle trophy was literally sitting in the finish corral, waiting to be handed to Rogatkin if could string together a run for all-time. Brett Rheeder stomped his second run and settled into the hot seat, looking to repeat his Joyride win from 2017. Rogatkin, who had been on top after the first runs, had to do what had never been done before: win Red Bull Joyride on the last run of the day, somehow bettering his near-flawless first. He pulled out all the stops, throwing down a clean and trick-heavy run. The tension from the finish corral as he and Rheeder stood awaiting his score was undeniable. As his score flashed onto the screen, Rogatkin crumpled and fell to the ground, the release of a season’s worth of pressure. He had done it, cementing his name in the mountain bike history books. “Never before have we had the last guy drop in and win the contest,” said Crankworx GM Darren Kinnaird. “Let alone the Triple Crown.”

Here's to the next 10, and beyond.

Regions in Article
Whistler Mountain Bike Park


  • 45 19
 +1 moment: Nicoli Rogatkin is officially the sketchiest rider ever attended Red Bull Joyride. Not a single flawless trick ever, landings are like drunk people on a monocycle, not close enough for Semenuk or Rheeder.

I honour the guys trophies, I just can't handle watching him ride for a second.
  • 11 9
 WTF are you talking about? Dude missed one trick in the entire run. Go watch all of his runs from 2018. Every trick from his winning runs was straight to both tires. Even his 2019 Joyride run was practically flawless until the double whip on the shark fin.
  • 16 5
 I completely agree. He is sketchy as f**ck. His lack of precision finally caught up to him last year when he crashed every event. He managed to torpedo himself twice in a row in Innsbruck too knocking himself out.
Three types of riders:

Technical riders with surgical precision like Rheeder.
Unorthodox and stylish riders like Fedko and Emil
Big tricks senders like Dawid Godziek and Rogatkin.

Rogatkin's niche was big tricks, but now hat Dawid Godziek does it better, he's got pressure on him.
  • 11 0
 @SupraKZ: I think I'd move Emil into the same technical category as Semenuk and Rheeder. He is pretty damn special on a bike, has his own style, but is in that category one click above IMO in technicality and precision. Though Dawid Godziek is another guy that might just blow things wide open. I think Rogatkin is so outside the dominant social and practical norms in the sport he has been a hard one for a lot of people to relate to but he has always been such a good sport, so supportive of the other riders, and never afraid push his riding and risk it for a show. I'm super grateful for Rogatkin's place in the sport and his contributions- it's hard to say whats sketchy or not when we are talking about tricks that one or two people in the world can do. He just brings something different. Like a someone who can do a ridiculous drum solo vs. someone who can put together an album. Either way- all of them contribute to how fun the sport has been to watch and will be so thank you.
  • 21 6
 Rogatkin at number #1 hmmmm..... clearly they didn’t see Semenuk crash on his victory lap run.
  • 12 1
 Or when he did not emerge back in view after falling off the boardwalk at the start of his run.
  • 4 0
 Whenever I tweek my bars I always think about Semenuk trying to straighten his bars during that victory lap. He does it like 10 times, gets back on the bike, and realizes they aren't millimeter perfect, and then gets off and tries to straighten them again. Always makes me chuckle.
  • 8 0
 Personal highlight that I'm gutted didn't make it in: Martin Soderstrom @Joyride 2013, unseated from the top spot by Brandon Semenuk in his second run. Soderstrom came down with a scorcher of a run top to bottom, was on to a possible winning run then crashed on the last drop and broke his leg. Dude never made it across the line and still got 2nd place.
  • 6 0
 His first run secured him second place. That was, to this day, one of the best Crankworx I've been too. Probably top 2 or 3. I am surprised at the lack of Semenuk mentions in this... He cleaned up in Joyride more than anyone has, and probably ever will.
  • 3 0
 @leon-forfar: The whole Crankworx organization never really seems to talk about him much. Tinfoil hat time, but I feel like they don't want to draw attention to the fact that he stopped competing at basically his peak.
  • 1 0
 @leon-forfar: cheers for the clarification, couldn't remember the exact battle for the top step, but his second run was insane nonetheless
  • 2 0
 @N-60: yeah maybe, it's a shame though as soderstrom has been at the top with semenuk, and has obviously had more than a hand in helping the young swedes along
  • 3 0
 Stoked for Rogatkin for won the triple crown, but the year that was 4 crankworx events (Rotorua, Les Gets, Innsbruck, Whistler). This give an option to fail one event, but win the three events in a year that have only 3 stops is the real triple crown. Hope to see this anytime...
  • 5 3
 I'd love to see some of Semenuk in the top 10. But also, i'm super happy that the top 10 isn't just competition based. the internet videos. the recognition of younger pinners and recognition of those GC's past and present is part of why Crankworkx is on my bucketlist
  • 6 1
 #LetFinnIn is a serious highlight of the last ten years. Full community moment, right there.
  • 6 0
 #LongLiveChainsaw #McGazzaForever

Ride in peace, legends.
  • 5 1
 more than 10 years ago, but for me, Timo Pritzel gapping the entire scaffolding in 2004 was the gnarliest (3:30 for the clip)
  • 1 0
 Mother of God that was ambitious.
  • 6 0
 No semenuk? Super fail.
  • 3 0
 I cannot believe they didn't touch base on his dominance of joyride. Be it the first time anyone won it 3 times, yet alone 5 times...
  • 3 0
 Bruh wheres email winning 2019 after all his medical problems #emilgotrobbed
  • 4 0
 Semenuk's first win was mine...
  • 5 2
 Brandon dropping first and winning after not doing a contest all year is better than all these. Cmon guys.
  • 3 0
 They didn’t mention Semenuk not even ones!! I mean he only won the slope style competition FIVE TIMES!! This bullshit!!
  • 1 0
 Anthony launching that hip jump in 2011 is still one of the greatest things to happen ever.

Also honorable mention to the vanzacs dirt diaries video?? ;D
  • 1 0
 what about brandon and brett battle? that shit was on fire when it happened
  • 1 0
 Stevie for the win. #longlivechainsaw
  • 2 5
 If you were at Whistler when Rogatkin won the Triple Crown... you would agree that it was the most electrifying experience of your entire life... the stillness that came over the ENTIRE Whistler Village once his run was completely done and the judges were figuring out a score while both Rheeder and Rogatkin stand next to eachother at the bottom was absolutely breathtaking. While a lot of the other riders may have better style or have it put together a little better, I think that Rogatkin rightfully deserves this #1 spot.
  • 1 0
 Where’s the mention for Jill Kintner?
  • 1 0
 Fersda Girls...still cracks me up...awesome!Smile
  • 3 5
 How about Paul freakin' Basagoitia wining the first ever slopestyle out of nowhere as an unsponsored rider on a borrowed bike??? How did THAT not make the list, FFS?!
  • 18 0
 Maybe because its more than 10 years ago (2004). I know time is running fast mate.
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