Thirty-two became sixteen, sixteen became eight, eight became... well you can see where this is going and we all know the format well enough by now as the Whistler crowds came out to witness the 4th Clif Dual Speed and Style battle of the 2017 Crankworx season go down on Canadian soil. The spanner in the works this time, for those that think they've seen it all before, was a loose and sketchy course that threw more than few big names off their A-game and the wrong side of a gate on multiple occasions. In a somewhat controversial manoeuvre, the large wooden kickers of years gone by were subbed out for two extremely steep dirt tables, which rubbed further salt in the wounds of the 'stylers' as they struggled to get the steady airtime required to break out the really big moves. In the end however, speed didn't quite win-out as thoroughbred racer, Tomas Slavik, roared down to the line first in both final runs but was still unable to topple the flips and flatspins of Adrien Loron. Having taken wins in Rotorua and Les Gets, the Czech trickster, Jakub Vencl also did enough to secure the overall Speed and Style World Tour victory, but boy was it close...
Austin Warren eliminating Reece Wallace earlier in the day as we saw the sea of talent filtered down to just 16 finalists...
It's always exciting to see Cam Zink turn up for a rip.
After destroying a lot of the competition with his double flips here last year, Van Steenbergen wasn't able to do the same damage on the short and steep tables of this year's course...
... although he certainly tried... Van Steenbergen front flips the final jump.
Noah Brousseau unfortunately about to get dropped by the man of the match.
It was to be one hell of an afternoon for Frenchman, Adrien Loron.
Mitch Ropelato was out front in all the early heats of the night.
Crankworx means business time for Ropelato, so the goggles stay on.
A couple of Crankworx legends chatting before stepping up to the block and going head to head.
T-Mac getting the snap on R-Dog out of the gate.
McCaul versus Howard in the round of 16.
Zink and Warren ready to drop bombs on each other.
The new Clif start gate allowed riders to stomp about 3 pedal strokes before dropping onto the dirt.
Cam Zink took a big slam when a flip trick went way wrong...
Zink gets the call; his planet needed him.
Genovese couldn't quite bring down S&S veteran, Brown.
Oszkar Nagy fought his way into the last 16 today and looked like he might take down Vencl. In the end he would miss out by an absolute whisker.
Some folks only need speed.
Adrien Loron spins the final jump.
A familiar view; Loron getting out in front.
Kyle Strait was looking like the favorite all day after setting the fastest lap in the qualies.
Daryl Brown topping Kyle's flip, adding in the tuck.
Into the berms with nothing to separate them.
Daryl Brown 360 tuck v. Kyle Strait's tailwhip.
Jakub Vencl rode into 7th spot this afternoon, taking the Crankworx Speed and Style World Tour title by just one spot... $5000 was the reward he so nearly lost to Loron.
Vencl on a tear.
Ropelato had his work cut out with Vencl, but managed to silence him headed to the last 4.
Even Stevens through the rhythm section in front of the excitable Whistler crowds.
Balcony with a view.
Brown mid 360 tuck no-hander.
Synchronized flipping from Austin Warren and Adrien Loron.
Loron v. Warren was a close fight until things went particularly sour for Warren in heat 2.
Loron and Warren neck and neck in their first heat.
Loron watches Warren's dramatic eject which he was fortunate to walk away from.
Ropo trying to escape Loron's angry clutches.
Slavik besting Brown despite his extensive trick quiver.
Loron about to give Ropelato the boot.
Mitch Ropelato carves into the final big jump.
In the small final Brown's trickery would leave Mitch out of the medals in 4th.
Ropelato isn't the most technical on the trick front, but always brings a good amount steeze to the equation.
In both runs of the final Slavik got down to the line first, but it wasn't enough...
It was a close final, damn close.
Last year's King of Crankworx, Tomas Slavik would finish 2nd on the night.
Loron spinning in Slavik's wake, but the tricks would prove worth the lag in time.
Style trumps speed.
Loron and Slavik await the final verdict with pride and prizing on the line.
Good sports to the very end, Slavik congratulates the champ.
Glory days for Loron here in Canada.
Loron , Slavik and Brown are faster and more stylish than you, and after today probably richer too.
Nothing but oversized cheques for the champs.