PRESS RELEASE: Crankworx
New champions have stepped up, campaigns for the King and Queen of Crankworx crowns have kicked off and the stoke levels have begun climbing to a fever pitch. In summary: it’s on. But things are about to get next-level at Crankworx Rotorua. Four live webcast events are on the schedule. starting tomorrow, including one of the most hotly anticipated events of the season: The launch of the Crankworx FMBA Slopestyle World Championship live on Red Bull TV and crankworx.com (Saturday March 24th @ 3:30 pm NZDT, Friday March 23rd @ 7:30 pm PDT, Saturday March 24th @ 3:30 am CET).
Leading up to the big day, the team from Elevate Trail Building, including Tom Hey, Emmerson Wilken and Scott Bedford, have been hard at work re-visioning and re-shaping the dirt that will set the stage.Tom Hey and Emmerson Wilken work in tandem to put the final pieces of the Slopestyle puzzle into place. Photos: Fraser Britton
Tom Hey says it’s no easy feat given the hands of a legend helped lay the original foundation, and for the past three years, the world’s best have sung its praises while launching off it to previously unimaginable heights. He says the re-worked course pays homage to its roots, while providing some fresh challenges.
Past winners of the event include Brett Rheeder (CAN) in 2015, Brandon Semenuk (CAN) in 2016 and Nicholi Rogatkin (USA), who successfully landed his signature Twister for the first time in Crankworx competition in front of the Kiwi crowd in 2017.
Nicholi Rogatkin pays tribute to McGazza, sending it over the final jump in 2017. Photo: Fraser Britton
Hey says the changes will keep things super trickable, but will mix it up a bit, requiring more technicality than the previous iteration of the course.
Crankworx Rotorua Event Director Ariki Tibble says, it was time. “It’s not that we’re trying to improve things, it’s that we’re trying to move forward and it seemed like it was the right time. After three years...let’s turn a little bit of new dirt and start a new chapter, while keeping Kelly’s fingerprints on the overall course.”McGazzaForever - hanging on deck with the boys in 2015, and showing them how it's done on the course that's become a part of his legacy. Photos: Clint Trahan
The course will be ready to roll today, with the first practice session kicking off late this morning.
The rider roster for Saturday’s event has been locked into place. The final pair to launch from the start drop will be two riders who were engaged in some of most epic battles in Slopestyle history last season. Rogatkin, who topped both the Rotorua and Innsbruck podiums last year will drop in last, preceded by Rheeder, who missed Rotorua in 2017 due to injury but stormed the Slopestyle scene when he returned to competition in Europe, winning in Les Gets.
“The McGazza Slopestyle course in Rotorua is literally one of best courses of the year,” says Rheeder. “After seeing the changes in person I'm stoked on what the boys have done. I'm fired up to be back and see what I can do on this course.”
Full rider list:
Brett Rheeder, sending it for the win at the inaugural event in 2015. Photo: Clint Trahan
BOGGS Reed (USA)
PEAT Logan (CAN)
PAGES Simon (FRA)
FEDKO Eric (GER)
MESSERE Anthony (CAN)
FREDRIKSSON Max (SWE)
TESTA Torquato (ITA)
GENON Thomas (BEL)
CAVERZASI Diego (ITA)
LEMOINE Tomas (FRA)
NYQUIST Ryan (USA)
GODZIEK Szymon (POL)
RHEEDER Brett (CAN)
ROGATKIN Nicholi (USA)
Noticeably absent from the start gate in Rotorua will be Emil Johansson, 2017’s Crankworx Slopestyle World Champion, currently sidelined with a back injury.
In addition to taking on a new course, riders are chasing a new title. Earlier this year Crankworx and the Freeride Mountain Bike Association (FMBA) joined forces to create a singular elite-level series of Slopestyle mountain biking events. The Crankworx FMBA Slopestyle World Championship (SWC) now represents the pinnacle of the discipline of Slopestyle. Riders in Rotorua will be vying for points in the battle to be named the Slopestyle World Champion.
Hopes, dreams, bikes, and the heroes behind them - they’ve all touched down in New Zealand as the best mountain bikers on the planet begin their season-long pilgrimage for glory and good times on the Crankworx World Tour. It’s all about to go down, live from Rotorua to the world.