Photo Epic: Downhill Finals - Crankworx Rotorua 2019

Mar 22, 2019
by Andy Vathis  


13 years after it hosted the World Championships, this Rotorua track is still a challenging technical beast. Deep techy jungle bookended by fast, wide open grass sections means it tests all aspects of a rider's abilities.

In the men's race, just 0.5 seconds separated the top three. Brook MacDonald was the hugely popular winner but he snatched it by less than a tenth from Finn Iles, who was testing a 29/27.5 set up. Third place fell to George Brannigan, it's great to see him back at the business end of things. Tracey Hannah ran out the victor in the women's race with a huge margin of 5 seconds over Kate Weatherly. Tahnee Seagrave had a tussle with a tree in the larches but still managed to finish third.

The start hut had quite the view considering how thick the jungle can be bellow.
The start hut had quite the view considering how thick the jungle can be below.

Eliot Jackson taking off over the hump.
Eliot Jackson taking off over the hump.

Bas Van Steenbergen s name has shown up on more start lists than most here at Crankworx Rotorua. He ll be racing pump track soon after he putting his downhill bike away for the night.
Bas Van Steenbergen's name has shown up on more start lists than most here in Rotorua. He would go on to race pump track immediately after he put his downhill bike away for the night.

Emilie Siegenthaler boosting just missing the podium but is always one to watch out for.
Emilie Siegenthaler just missed the podium but is always one to watch out for.

Mitch Ropelato finished outside the top 10 against the usual UCI start list.
Mitch Ropelato finished just outside the top 10 against the usual UCI start list.

Kate Weatherly dropping into second place.
Kate Weatherly dropping into second place.

The Bulldog charging and as he should. The men s race was super tight in times.
The Bulldog charging... and he had to. The men's race was super tight in times.

Casey Brown doubling down for the step up.
Casey Brown doubling down for the step up.

Warp speed over the step-up.
Warp speed over the step-up.

Kona s newest recruit Jakson Frew boosting himself into a solid top 10 finish.
Kona's newest recruit, Jakson Frew, boosting himself into a solid top 10 finish.

Tracey Hannah put in a significant gap in time over the rest of the woman s field.
Tracey Hannah put in a significant gap in time over the rest of the woman's field.

Vaea Verbeeck flying her flag from across the pond. She s been having great success so far in the points race for the Queen of Crankworx and racked up some more today.
Vaea Verbeeck flying her flag from across the pond. She's been having great success so far in the points race for the Queen of Crankworx and racked up some more today.

Tracey Hannah felt right at home on this track.
Tracey Hannah felt right at home on this track.

George Brannigan kept the hot seat warm for quite a while before Finn Iles decided he wanted a turn. Second place for the GT rider.
George Brannigan kept the hot seat warm for quite a while before Finn Iles decided he wanted a turn. Third place for the GT rider.

Tahnee Seagrave took her time to find her pace on this tricky track. She would finish third in finals.
Tahnee Seagrave was taking some big lines through the larches. She would finish third in finals after being caught out by a tree.

Laurie Greenland rounded up the top 5 in the men s field.
Laurie Greenland rounded up the top 5 in the men's field.

Alex Fayolle navigating the moon dust.
Alex Fayolle navigating the moon dust.

The reigning King of Crankworx and local boy Sam Blenkinsop would need more than a couple mid-air pedal strokes to claw back at the clock.
The reigning King of Crankworx and local boy, Sam Blenkinsop, would need more than a couple mid-air pedal strokes to claw back at the clock.

Bernard Kerr just missing out on the podium in fourth place.
Bernard Kerr just missing out on the podium in fourth place.

Kaos Seagrave is another rider put out by injury.
Kaos Seagrave is another rider struggling with an injury this week.

Loic Bruni had the speed to back up the yellow kit. The split times looked promising until a front flat put him out of the race.
Loic Bruni's split times looked promising until a front flat put him out of the race.

Brendan Fairclough was a DNS for the race after an injury sidelined him in practice.
Brendan Fairclough was a DNS for the race after an injury sidelined him in practice.

Iles into the finish arena and comfortably on the hot seat with only a few riders left.
Iles into the finish arena and comfortably on the hot seat with only a few riders left.

Finn Iles was the first to knock George Brannigan off the hot seat after a blazing hot lap down the track.
Finn Iles was the first to knock George Brannigan off the hot seat after a blazing hot lap down the track.

Connor Fearon was looking for a positive result. He held a descent time crossing the line and finished the day in seventh.
Connor Fearon was looking for a positive result. He held a descent time crossing the line and finished the day in seventh.

Brook Macdonald is definetly a favourite personality around these parts and the crowd let him know it. He managed to just edge out the young Finn by a mere hundredth of a second.
Brook Macdonald is definitely a favourite personality around these parts and the crowd let him know it. He managed to just edge out the young Finn by a mere hundredth of a second.

Dean Lucas navigating the dusty rut in the open.
Dean Lucas navigating the dusty rut in the open.

Impressive victory from Tracey today. Let s see if she can bring that confidence into the first round of the traveling circus.
Impressive victory from Tracey today. Let's see if she can bring that confidence into the first round of the traveling circus.

Blenki enjoying every bit of it.
Blenki enjoying every bit of it.

Finn pleasing the young fans taking the time to snap some pics and sign whatever they brought.
Finn pleasing the young fans, taking the time to snap some pics and sign whatever they brought.

Big smiles from the Bulldog.
Big smiles from the Bulldog.

Pro Downhill Podium.
Pro Downhill Podium.


Posted In:
Stories Crankworx



36 Comments

  • + 20
 Emilie Siegenthaler was robbed.
  • + 13
 Yes she was. She is out $3,500 due to short sighted policies. For those saying this issue isn't harming anyone would you mind sending Emilie $3,500 of your own money? What about female athletes that have already lost out on contest winnings, scholarships, sponsors etc... Or even just some female athlete that has trained hard for years losing at a competition regardless if there was any monetary value attached to it. Are we really going to go down this slippery slope towards the end of women's athletic events?
  • + 1
 Comment will ne deleted in 3...2...1...
  • + 5
 In all fairness I see more relaxation on the faces of the girls here than when Rachel is present on the podium... if you care ask the girls to speak up for themselves. They are all within your reach on social media. I am not saying there is no obvious issue.
  • + 1
 Social justice warriors in here downvoting you. Lame.
  • + 14
 @WAKIdesigns: Might just be me but I highly doubt these girls are going to speak up at the expense of being subjected to ruthless political shaming that's clearly taking place. I'd be very surprised if an anonymous voting from the female athletic community didn't reveal that most female competitors are concerned about fairness. If anyone is aware of any such survey let me know.
  • - 1
 You're observation of reality is highly offensive to me.
  • + 2
 @zzzogas413: that is an assumption. Or as I would call it a theory which motivation can be explained. An unknown none the less. How to figure it out... what about... so, let’s say that if they actually do feel worried about their careers, or at least think that it may be an uneven field, but are afraid to speak up then they should say that they are worried but they are afraid to speak their mind. Would work best if they coordinated personal short statements about it, rather than write one collective one. Then allow someone write an article “women afraid to speak up”. Do you see what is going on here... positioning of the victim...

Back to reality, it is the victim/ opressor relation that fks it all up. Come the fk on, Look at Kate, does she look like an evil person? Hell No! I really think it is an obligatory unfairness to Kate to put the whole issue on he shoulders. I give her full benefit of doubt, and genuinely feel sorry for her. She looks like a genuinely good person... meanwhile most online discussions are polarized and a person looking at it from the side may see it as a raging fight of trans-samdbaggers vs tramsphobes which is very rarely the case.
  • + 1
 WHY??????
  • + 0
 @McCason: you like the new Tesla or what?
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: I agree. Having to be Kate right now sucks and I feel sorry she has to be the center of all this. I don't think she has any malicious intent wanting to race in a category where she feels like she truly belongs and whoever thinks this is a case of trans-sandbagging is completely soulless. However, call it my personal opinion but I think there is an obvious victim here (besides Kate) and that is the integrity of female sports. Until science has the chance to catch up, there is no doubt in my mind that this will, to some degree, discourage females who are true competitors from caring about competition in sports. Maybe not the current elite class but younger generations who will be exposed to these self-identification policies from an early age.
  • + 11
 @zzzogas413: we can be clear, the real problem is trans-sandbaggers and transphobes. The one level deeper we have online warriors most of whom have no fkng clue about repercussions of their sht throwing, and I doubt whether they actually care about women being robbed or transgender people being emancipated. They all care about online entertainment and self leverage, recreational empathy and outrage. Ooooh I want to fight for transgender rights, I am such a good person... oh I want to fight for women...

I will give an example that shows how stupid the whole thing is: If Emily Batty (yes she of all) makes a short instagram post where she writes something in the lines of: "we are worried and urge UCI to take a stance in transgender case, for the good of female racing and the transgender people themselves" - hell will break loose, she will be called names, she'll be called an agent of patriarchy, ONLY because she grew up to be pretty and she is successful... and she drives a Porsche. All her assets, all her hard work, all good things that she worked for or was lucky to get, will be turned against her. As it already happened on an occasion or two. And on top of that she will get a bunch of idiots from the transphobic side, making her into a symbol of fight against "weirdos". Just like Far right folks use J Peterson as their poster boy, even though he openly condemns them.

The ultimate problem here is, that case is unresolved, and Kate, who is one of all of us Mountain bikers, people who get extremely happy because they ride a bike fast in the woods, she just got on podium (how rad is that?!) and this joy will be broken to some degree by folks calling her a sandbagger. That she didn't deserve it. And this will happen every single time she steps on a podium.
  • + 3
 @WAKIdesigns: Yes exactly, the true failing is that those at the organizational level sat on their hands and didn't do anything for years when they could have been studying while thoughtfully and carefully thinking this through, then coming out with well laid out and research backed specific rules.

You know right now all women's sports organisations are sitting around tables saying "Oh f*ck, now what do we do?" Get to work you f*cking cowards and figure it out. You owe it to women and and trans athletes around the world... f*cking get it done.
  • + 1
 @islandforlife: Correct. For example, the UCI ignores or missed this: "In the brain there are high concentrations of male sex hormone (androgen) receptors throughout cerebral cortex, especially in the visual cortex which is responsible for processing images. Androgens are also responsible for controlling the development of neurons in the visual cortex during embryogenesis, meaning that males have 25% more of these neurons than females."

I'm not going to post the URL because the Google makes such scientific studies showing that men's vision is superior for sports like DH racing, motor racing, clay pigeon shooting and tennis so easy to find. I've read plenty. Note that hormone therapy will never take the advantage away because superior vision was developed before birth and not during puberty.

Eyesight is one of the greatest predictors of sporting performance for a reason.
  • + 2
 @LittleDominic: what's this story?
  • + 5
 @LittleDominic: my math may be a bit off, but how exactly is Emilie out $3500? In your eyes, she goes from 4th place prize money to 2nd? The biggest question shouldn't be about trans-athletes, it should really be how Tahnee would get skipped over for 2nd place by the 4th place rider, had Kate not been there. #LittleDominicRobbedTahnee
  • + 1
 @glenward: got me there, looked at the wrong check amount.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I don't know what happen that's it. i didn't watch the race and I don't understand why someone is saying that Emelie was robbed.
  • + 1
 @McCason: I am not taking the bullet... ask hamncheez Smile
  • - 1
 @McCason: Kate Weatherly is a female-identifying male-to-female transgender transexual competing as a female mtb racer. The debate is whether her chromosomes should be permitted on the women's podium. One problem is that DNA isn't conclusive as an indicator of sex. You may read more about it in the hyperlink towards top of comments, and elsewhere. Best of luck with Google translate English-->Italian.
  • + 3
 @ceecee: the main issues are that A. Kate rather obviously means no wrong while it hurts her just like others like her. B. governing bodies haven’t done much if anything to prepare for this. C. Some people believe (based on God only knows what research) genetics and physiogical differences between males and females is a blurry subject, in which case, the only solution in line with their reasoning is that we should abolish differentiation between male and female competition. An interesting form of good intentions driven justice. Same kind that inspires parents to tell their kids after match that everyone’s a winner. Good intentions, hell is paved with them
  • + 1
 @ceecee: thanks man, i was not aware of that, now I understand all these comments regarding it. I'll definitely have a look at link above but i don't the translator thankfully
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I thought it was paved with medical waste from male-to-female sex reassignment surgeries. For the orthodox mtber, it's sufficient that it's paved.
  • + 2
 @ceecee: In orthodox MTB department of hell, everyone rides e-bikes up a hill and takes lift down.
  • + 1
 This race is always a super fun one to watch. The larches are a great place to heckle and my favourite part to watch, but the last grassy open but is a close second for me. Always a make-or-break section of track
  • + 3
 Best part of the race was when Loic flatted and used that guys mini pump to try and air it back up. #alwayshavingfun
  • + 0
 Miss me with the talk about transwomen killing women's sport--look how many men care about the women's results all of a sudden!

"Won't anybody think of our women? The poor things are surely too flighty and hysterical to speak up about this for themselves! We must protect their feminine virtue by arguing about this online!"
  • + 3
 Stoked to see Alex Fayolle getting 8th! Looks like he is back in the game
  • + 2
 Loic was wearing his world champion kit, not yellow.
  • + 1
 Were you there? Check Loic's Instagram.
  • + 2
 @Patsplit: the yellow kit was from practice..I don’t think @geoffcalv was there but like most of us, prolly watched the live feed.
  • + 2
 Kate with the upside down check haha
  • + 1
 just like her penis is now
  • + 2
 GG Andy
  • + 1
 GG

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