Powered by Outside

Photo Epic: Downhill - Crankworx Cairns 2024

May 26, 2024
by Cameron Mackenzie  



As the saying goes, we can't always have nice things. That's been especially relevant here in Cairns this week. To expect a dry downhill here in the tropics for a third year in a row was most definitely asking too much.

Instead, riders got to experience the 'beauty' of the rainforest this week, witnessing first-hand the struggle riders faced back in 2014 when we learnt a new meaning for the term "Mud Race".
The track here buried deep beneath the canopy doesn't like the rain, and they've had a sh*tload of it in the last few months. Off the back of a wet Masters World Champs last week, the course was pre-conditioned, with Cairns' infamous red dirt pre-lined across the labyrinth of roots and rocks, waiting to greet riders.

Given the timing of this year's event within the larger racing calendar, there were many question marks as to who was going to be in attendance, and how the roster may play in some rider's favour.

In the women's field, the current Australian National Champ, Ellie Smith, was one of the favourites leading in, but wasn't going to have it too easy with the likes of Bellah Birchall and Elleni Turkovic pushing hard from the junior ranks. The surprise no one saw coming though was Tracey Hannah's return to racing, on her home track, less than 12 months after giving birth.

In the men's field, there's no shortage of fast Aussies as we know - It was just a matter of whom would venture north - or back south in the case of Mick Hannah, Ryan Gilchrist and Tuhoto-Ariki Pene. Connor Fearon opted to skip the second World Cup in favour of chasing a strong result here, and the local lad, Joel Sutherland was hungrier than ever to put himself on the box after settling for 4th last year.

photo
Early mornings in the rainforest have their perks.

photo

photo

photo
A big crash in the rock garden in seeding just about ended Ellie Smith's week early.

photo
Pockets of light before the rain came.

photo
Gilchrist, straight off the plane and into a big week of racing.

photo
Joel Sutherland could ride this track with his eyes closed he's done that many laps of it.

photo
We've all been spinning out a bit this week with such a packed schedule.

photo
All downhill from here.

photo

photo
After struggling to push in seeding, Seth Stylie opted to sit the race out and focus his effort on his other events.

photo
A close inspection of the tree bark.

photo

photo
Tuhoto-Ariki Pene making short work of the slick rocks.

photo

photo
"The Corkscrew"

photo

photo
Martha Gill looked to be struggling in the slick conditions this week, but put together a clean, safe run when it mattered.

photo
Bellah Birchall was hungry to back up her Rotorua performance here in Cairns.

photo
Tracey Hannah through the infamous Alien Tree.

photo

photo
The start of the section they call "Vines"

photo
Jackson Frew's no stranger to a podium here in the jungle, and wasn't going to let a farm accident a few short weeks back prevent him collecting another medal.

photo
Tuhoto flew straight from Poland and was on course only a few hours later, jet-lagged and all.

photo
The spots the TV cameras don't show.

photo

photo

photo
The infamous Cairns rock garden.

photo
Inflight entertainment from ChazMak.

photo
Bas van Steenbergen making the trail bike work.

photo

photo

photo
Bailey Morrison

photo

photo
Timmy Eaton doing his daily stretches.

photo
Sam Toohey knew what was required.

photo

photo
Ellie Smith about to become very sore.

photo
George Chapman letting that Zerode eat.

photo

photo
Whilst rather innocent, the roots came alive with a bit of moisture creating havoc.

photo

photo
A highway through the jungle.

photo
Duke Millington wins the race run whip off.

photo
Hudson Rose has some laundry to do. God speed.

photo
Tuhoto-Ariki Pene coming in hot,

photo
Ellie Smith emerging from the darkness on her way to a redeeming second place.

photo
Connor Fearon was saying his flat pedals came into their own here.

photo
Conditions were prime come race day...

photo
What could have been for Sik Mik. He was the fastest all week through seeding and the Oceania's run, but crashed on a rock he said he's never once crashed on after all these years riding this track.

photo
Jackson Frew made short work of the tough conditions here.

photo
Oh, a penny!

photo
The young Aussie, Elleni Turkovic took the win in the U19 field here, and put down a time good enough for 4th in the elite ranks.

photo
Tracey Hannah didn't flinch as the rain kept falling, she's played this game here once or twice...

photo
Bellah Birchall playing rough.

photo

photo
A flat tyre couldn't slow Jake Newell down too much, taking 8th only .024 behind Ryan Gilchrist.

photo

photo
Mick Hannah was one of few riders getting through this A-Line clean in practice, but was the spot where it all came undone for him in his finals.

photo
Charlie Makea's signature loose style suited the loose and unpredictable track here, keeping it upright for 6th.

photo
Jackson Frew was the first rider to knock Tuhoto from his long stay in the heatseat.

photo
Joel Sutherland pushing hard out of the long pedally woods.

photo
Connor's come close to the win here in Cairns before, and today managed to best the locals.


photo
photo


photo
Your Elite Podium from the Crankworx Cairns Downhill.

photo
A sight we've missed - Tracey Hannah back behind a champagne bottle.


Author Info:
cameronmackenzie avatar

Member since Mar 6, 2011
79 articles
Report
Must Read This Week
Sign Up for the Pinkbike Newsletter - All the Biggest, Most Interesting Stories in your Inbox
PB Newsletter Signup

10 Comments
  • 4 0
 Is that actually a 2005 Fox 40 or is it just painted to look that way? Totally awesome
  • 1 0
 Casting on the lowers matches the one we have holding up the shop sink, it's about an '05
  • 6 0
 '07 lowers, '13 internals and stanchions, with a 27.5 front wheel jammed in there. Works a treat
  • 4 0
 Too bad we missed all these awesome shots in the broadcast
  • 1 0
 Mean shots. I appreciate the work that goes into these photo epics. Thanks Cameron.
  • 1 0
 That shot of Tuhoto is pretty sweet.
  • 1 0
 Great work; love that shot of Duke Millington
  • 1 0
 Sick shots hey
Below threshold threads are hidden







Copyright © 2000 - 2024. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv65 0.046113
Mobile Version of Website