Race Day EWS Round 1: Photo Epic - Crankworx Rotorua 2017

Mar 26, 2017
by Dave Trumpore  




Just as predicted, the opening round of the Enduro World Series in Rotorua was full of surprises. Not only did the weather throw a wrench in the mix, a whole host of new names emerged at the top of the pack when the mud started flying. Nearly all of the usual EWS suspects struggled while some new blood had everyone doing a double take at the result sheets by the end of each stage. Other than Cecile Ravanel's predicted dominance in the women's race, absolutely nothing about the racing in Rotorua was what we were expecting.

Luckily the biblical rains held off (for the most part), but the rain that did fall was enough to turn the race on its head right from the get go. While most of the unseeded riders came down on a semi-dry track on stage one, the top 20 riders were not so fortunate. The skies opened up for almost an hour, creating a mess of slick mud and deep ruts for the top riders; A fate that was avoided by the earlier starters who would go on to fill the majority of the top 10 by day's end.

Some of the riders caught out in the rain on Stage 1 never recovered, while other's would persevere and not let the slow start bog them down. Most notably Sam Hill, who was only one of three top seeded riders to crack the top 10 today. The rest of those top spots were filled by newcomers and a few World Cup DH riders, both current and recently retired. Take Josh Bryceland for example, who claimed to get "a bar drag in on the second turn and was buzzing for the rest of the day" en route to an 8th place finish. And of course, you can't ignore the podium made up of the Master's brothers and Matt Walker, all of who make strong showings each weekend on the WC circuit.

For the women, it was the Cecile Ravanel show once again but the usual challengers were nowhere to be seen. Isabeau Courdurier crashed and rode the day injured, while Anneke Beerten battled fatigue to finish 10th. In their place, Ines Thoma would push through a week of adversity marked by illness and the passing of her Team Manager to take a career-best 2nd. Anita Gehrig would close out the podium with newcomer Camille Balanche just two seconds behind. And in perhaps what could be a foreshadowing of things to come, Katy Winton took her first ever stage win en route to a top five in the overall.

So now the stage is set, the pecking order has been rewritten and we get a short week off before heading to Tasmania where the second round in the series will pick up where Rotorua left off.

Early morning at the TFR house getting ready for what will be a long day.
Early morning at the TFR house getting ready for what will be a long day.

The Gehrig twins take a few to relax before the start.
The Gehrig twins take a few to relax before the start.

Iago fuels up before he heads out for the day.
Iago fuels up before he heads out for the day.

It s going to be a long day out there. Look at all of my sh t Randy. Marco Osborne is well prepared.
It's going to be a long day out there. "Look at all of my sh%t Randy." Marco Osborne is well prepared.

Matt Walker is knows the trails here as well as anyone and used the home field advantage to help land himself a spot on the all Kiwi podium.
Matt Walker knows the trails here as well as anyone and used the home field advantage to help land himself a spot on the all Kiwi podium.

How dark was it in the woods today Veal Verbeek is in there somewhere.
How dark was it in the woods today? Vaea Verbeeck is in there somewhere.

Cecile dominated once again winning 6 of 7 stages today.
Cecile dominated once again, winning six of seven stages today.

Jack Moir was another of the DH riders who started early in the day who would land themselves inside the top 10.
Jack Moir was another of the DH riders who started early in the day and landed themselves inside the top 10.

3rd for Anita Gehrig.
3rd for Anita Gehrig.

Wyn Masters cam out and rode hard today. The wild Kiwi had what it took to walk away with the win.
Wyn Masters came out and rode hard today. The wild Kiwi had what it took to walk away with the win.

Anneke Beertan took a hard fought 10th today. Rotorua dished out heaps of punishment for many a top five rider.
Anneke Beerten took a hard fought 10th today. Rotorua dished out heaps of punishment for many a top five rider.

Sam Hill proving that the move to Enduro was a good one.
Sam Hill proving that the move to Enduro was a good one.

Jesse Melamed drops into the slippery woods on stage 1.
Jesse Melamed drops into the slippery woods on Stage 1.

Rae Morrison lost time once the rain began to fall and would end the day in 11th.
Rae Morrison lost time once the rain began to fall and would end the day in 11th.

Isabeau Courdurier had a crash and injury on stage 2 and would struggle through the day just to make it to the bottom of each stage.
Isabeau Courdurier had a crash and injury on Stage 2 and would struggle through the day just to make it to the bottom of each stage.

Mark Scott loved the mud on his way to 10th.
Mark Scott loved the mud on his way to 10th.

Jose Borges Pulled out a 9th today in the slick.
Jose Borges pulled out a 9th today in the slick.

Lewis Buchanan had plate number 38 for the season opener he finished in 19th.
Lewis Buchanan had plate number 38 for the season opener, he finished in 19th.

Katy Winton had here best day to date with a stage win and fifth overall. Perhaps today was a bit like the Scottish sunshine Winton is used to.
Katy Winton had her best day to date with a stage win and fifth overall. Perhaps today was a bit like the Scottish sunshine Winton is used to.

Cecile was quick to get out of the roots and avoid Jurassic Consumption
Cecile was quick to get out of the roots and avoid Jurassic Consumption

Photo Epic Race Day - EWS Round 1 - Crankworx Rotorua

Ines Thoma pushed through a lot of adversity today to take a career best 2nd.
Ines Thoma pushed through a lot of adversity today to take a career-best 2nd.

Adrian Dailly started the day with in the lead but a huge crash in the middle of the day pushed him back to 7th.
Adrian Dailly started the day with the lead but a huge crash in the middle of the day pushed him back to 7th.

As an Irishman Greg Callaghan knows a thing or two about how to ride mud and roots.
As an Irishman, Greg Callaghan knows a thing or two about how to ride mud and roots.

Mud in and on everything.
Mud in and on everything.

It s been a long hard day and it s only half over. Graves and Hill pedal back up for another slippery run.
It's been a long hard day, and it's only half over. Graves and Hill pedal back up for another slippery run.

Mud. There was plenty of it. It caused problems on the tracks and in the pits.
Mud. There was plenty of it. It caused problems on the tracks and in the pits.

Damion Oton speeding through the jungle.
Damion Oton speeding through the jungle.

It wasn t Casey Browns day today. After getting a bad chest cold this week Brown rode as hard as she could but a bad stage five crash put her out of the race.
It wasn't Casey Brown's day today. After getting a bad chest cold this week Brown rode as hard as she could, but a bad Stage 5 crash put her out of the race.

Casey Brown and Miranda Miller weren t loving the loose conditions today but enjoyed racing together and yarning on the ups.
Casey Brown and Miranda Miller weren't loving the loose conditions today but enjoyed racing together and yarning on the ups.

Bike cleaning any way you can in the remote woods.
Bike cleaning any way you can in the remote woods.

Not Richie Rudes best day but still having lots of fun. He turned his day around by grabbing a win in stage 6 but would land 20th in the overall.
Not Richie Rude's best day, but still having lots of fun. He turned his day around by grabbing a win in Stage 6 but would land 20th in the overall.

Richie had a few disastrous stages early in the day as the rain poured down for the last few starters on stages 1 and 2.
Richie had a few disastrous stages early in the day as the rain poured down for the last few starters on stages 1 and 2.

This trail would be the undoing of more than a few racers today with the mud giving lots of people nightmares.
This trail would be the undoing of more than a few racers today with the mud giving lots of people nightmares.

Claire Hassenfratz had her best finish in 6th.
Claire Hassenfratz had her best finish in 6th.

Camille Balanche came out of nowhere to take 4th in the pro women s race.
Camille Balanche came out of nowhere to take 4th in the pro women's race.

Not a day Jared Graves will want to relive anytime soon.
Not a day Jared Graves will want to relive anytime soon.

Sam Hill was not going slow today. Where others struggled Sam excelled. Hill finished fourth.
Sam Hill was not going slow today. Where others struggled, Sam excelled. Hill finished fourth.

The last time the EWS came to Rotorua Jerome Clementz went home with gold. Today he had to settle for 11th.
The last time the EWS came to Rotorua Jerome Clementz went home with gold. Today he had to settle for 11th.

After battling with his brother all day Wyn Master s would finally live up to his namesake to take the top spot the podium.
After battling with his brother all day, Wyn Masters would finally live up to his namesake to take the top spot the podium.

Katy Winton won her first EWS stage today and would come 5th overall to kick off the season.
Katy Winton won her first EWS stage today and would come 5th overall to kick off the season.

On the gas. Eddie had a dropper post freeze up on stage 5 crashed on six and got back on it to finish 2nd.
On the gas. Eddie had a dropper post freeze up on Stage 5, crashed on six, and got back on it to finish 2nd.

Eddie Masters happy but smoked.
Eddie Masters happy, but smoked.

It s rare to see Sam Blenkinsop tired but today left the super fit Kiwi more than worn out.
It's rare to see Sam Blenkinsop tired, but today left the super fit Kiwi more than worn out.

What a day for Ines Thoma.
What a day for Ines Thoma.

Even a broken dropper post and a plethora of crashed on the final two stages couldn t keep Eddie Masters from the podium.
Even a broken dropper post and a plethora of crashes on the final two stages couldn't keep Eddie Masters from the podium.

Matt Walker in the middle of the Master s sandwich on the podium.
Matt Walker in the middle of the Master's sandwich on the podium.

The fastest men and women to kick off the 2017 Enduro Word Series Season.
The fastest men and women to kick off the 2017 Enduro Word Series Season.

We ve lost another great one. Canyon pays their respects to Flo Goral.
We've lost another great one. Canyon pays their respects to Flo Goral.

Top teams to start 2017.
Top teams to start 2017.


Get the full race results.



MENTIONS: @EnduroWorldSeries / @officialcrankworx




122 Comments

  • + 110
 Aluminium has won, again.
  • + 80
 I don't give a shit but take a note pinkbikers... Sam Hill never won any race on a carbon bike ;o
  • + 2
 why you care so much about frame material? are you allergic to carbon? I really dont get that hate for carbon... carbon is erywhere even on city bikes but you feel the need to say aluminum is better than carbon... well, for someone Thrump is a great man and for others hes a dick
  • + 39
 I love having a better bike than the pros.
  • + 94
 @mudmandhbrazil: Pinkbike is a happy place. no more trump references!!!
  • - 22
flag mudmandhbrazil (Mar 26, 2017 at 8:44) (Below Threshold)
 last year EWS champion was on an aluminum bike or carbon? so if aluminum is so good why a carbon bike won the 2016 overal EWS and keep winning on DH, XC and every other discipline even in BMX race. For me most of the people that hate carbon or dont have money to buy it or they broke any carbon frame or bike part and became traumatized. but all that hate is pathetic in my opinion. look mama he won a race in an aluminum frame oohhh I dont give a shit to what frame material won the race why you care so much about that? what you win if an aluminum frame win the race?
  • + 68
 @mudmandhbrazil:

It's not that I think anyone hates carbon, we just hate the marketing that says carbon is the only material for fast bikes. This proves that fast bikes can still be made out of aluminum, which is much more wallet friendly.
  • + 72
 @jclnv: a bike is a bike. It's the rider that makes it rip
  • + 3
 @jclnv: and they'll still beat you
  • + 0
 @mudmandhbrazil: waisting you time trying to reason with keyboarded kiddo warriors on this site...
  • - 1
 @da-yeti: thank you!
  • + 35
 @mudmandhbrazil: some people hate carbon because some of the big companies take a $300 frame and charge us $3000 for it - - - and most of us guys that have been mountain biking over 20 years grew up on steel and aluminum hard tails. That's it bro - we don't hate the material, we hate the bullshit
  • + 19
 @mudmandhbrazil: um people like seeing aluminum win races because it's the underdog. It's the cheaper, old style material that everyone has probably ridden on at one point or another. also not having the money to buy a carbon frame isn't "pathetic", it's perfectly reasonable. We're talking about weight saving that are often under a couple pounds but a price that's easily a thousand or so more. Also as far as the EWS overall champion winning it on a carbon bike... that's simply not true. Cecile Ravanel won the EWS Women's overall last year on an ALUMINUM Commencal. Please respect any choice of frame, there is no right or wrong
  • - 5
flag bohns1 (Mar 26, 2017 at 10:52) (Below Threshold)
 @AdamOdh: who cares! I'll always roll on carbon ...Just cuz!
  • - 1
 @jclnv: hahaha! Yess
  • + 2
 Have carbon bikes. Going back to metal.
  • + 4
 @mudmandhbrazil: Carbon is bad for the environment, as it's non-degradable.
  • - 7
flag markar (Mar 26, 2017 at 13:29) (Below Threshold)
 @ryanandrewrogers: aluminum makes more sense, Carbon is pointless if it's not lighter and stronger, steel is to heavy, titanium is heavier than aluminum, Carbon cracks in a small crash? Or for no reason! Then you're waiting for months for a new one and then it cracks again? No thanks
  • + 1
 It's cheaper to hate. Carry on PB.
  • - 7
flag markar (Mar 26, 2017 at 13:37) (Below Threshold)
 @Dustfarter: yes I hate Carbon frames that crack so what, they are more expensive and slightly lighter and more likely to crack, it's a hassle, I can afford anything by the way
  • - 1
 @da-yeti: FACTS my man
  • - 2
 Carbon for bike and wheels, alloy for bars and cranks. Seen way to many of those broken to want to risk it.
  • + 7
 I was at the Taipei Show on Saturday and it was pretty much wall to wall black carbon. Just carbon, carbon, carbon. It's gone too far. The novelty has worn off, and now they just all look like generic plastic toys.

On a modern aluminium frame, the craftsmanship and workmanship is evident. There are formed tubes, welds, machined parts. It's like every frame tells a story.

It's taken the shift to carbon for me to not e the beauty of a metal frame.

I'm going back to metal for my next bike, FO SHO. Oh yeah? Believe that.
  • + 5
 @jaame: just Demo'd some Guerilla Gravity bikes: the Megatrail and Trail Pistol --- beautiful craftsmanship and goos geometry --- thinking of selling my Hifhtower to get one???????? Check em out
  • + 3
 @mikeyb76: I promised my wife I would never sell my Nomad... but she'll forget that in a few years.
  • + 8
 @jaame: My buddy's trick is to always get the same color bike - that way wife won't notice --
  • + 4
 @mikeyb76: That is funny because it sounds like a joke, but it's not
  • - 1
 @HamsterPants: not to mention alloy is more environmentally friendly. Impossible to recycle (joke) all those broken carbon frames, bars and shit.
  • + 3
 12x142 rear spacing has won, again, as well.
  • + 1
 so for some of you a 5K carbon bike is a crime to the custumers
what you should think about a Ferrari full carbon car that cost 1 million dollars?
  • + 1
 @markar: hasn't cracked on me yet since my 2010 blur LTC and I've had numerous crashes...
  • + 1
 @hayden19: been sending it on race face sixc for three seasons now..No failures yet..
  • + 1
 @ColquhounerHooner: broken carbon frames! Where? It's not 2007 anymore.
  • + 1
 @bohns1: my brother had 3 go on him. A 2015 frame and 2 2014 ones. All replaced under warranty, but still. Anyway, regardless of breakages, the stuff cannot be recycled. Yet. Smile
  • + 1
 @ColquhounerHooner: Excellent point. It's only a matter of time.
  • + 78
 No comment needed for the RatBoy photo. Super stoked on Wyn! Can't wait for WynTv
  • - 59
flag RedRedRe (Mar 26, 2017 at 9:27) (Below Threshold)
 Every comment on PB is like yours... you guys grew up watching reality shows... there is not one single comment about the race itself... all about clothing, clowns and objects... ratty here, rudy there... ????????
  • + 4
 @RedRedRe: Including your comment,awesome race.Don't take away from that.
  • + 4
 @RedRedRe: dear lord i pray to thee, smite down those commenting on clowns or sunglasses.
  • + 1
 @RedRedRe: why would any one comment on the obvious. Smile
spokemagazine.com/content/ews-hecklefest
  • - 18
flag RedRedRe (Mar 26, 2017 at 13:23) (Below Threshold)
 @ugez: excatly... once this sort of idiotic behaviour was confinded to the american college jock type, and hated by all others, in particular cyclists of all types.
It is annoying and disrespectful for the racers.
Too many wannabe mountain bikers around.
Just stop crowding and slowing the trails w your supd specialized enduros, and learn how to move out the way when people are yelling "rider up".
  • + 2
 @SalsaVerde Exactly! I want to see him interview all the top guys, and also ask Jared Graves about his tire pressure since he was the only rider that didn't want to share
  • + 3
 @RedRedRe: Troll alert
  • + 2
 @RedRedRe: How is the Specialized Enduro stupid?
  • + 66
 Asides from all the hype,enduro really is the best thing that happened to mtb racing. Great race!
  • + 7
 Yes it is!
  • + 8
 100% agree with that,all the big DH boys looked to be having a blast with their buddys on the trail.
  • + 34
 love how ratty is wherein a pair of workshop eye protectors! haha!
  • + 3
 I wear a pair from Lowes hardware store!
  • + 33
 I could stare into Eddie's eyes for eternity..
  • - 26
flag abzillah (Mar 26, 2017 at 11:52) (Below Threshold)
 That's pretty gay, but not illegal, so continue.
  • + 27
 I geuss this is a Wyn win situation.
  • + 1
 Take a bow, nicely done.
  • + 20
 Who the hell choses a white race kit for a muddy MTB race ? #doublelaundry
  • + 12
 sponsored by daz whites mate.
  • + 3
 Someone getting paid for it. That is who
  • + 3
 @bman33: and who can bin them after he takes them off
  • + 1
 @jaame: very true also
  • + 11
 Was wondering what happened to Dailly, and there it is.

In the mad scramble of taking pics, editing, and getting a story up so soon, when do you guys have time to talk to riders? Fantastic job once again!
  • + 12
 Gotta love the fact it's anyone's race in enduro, makes you feel the next race you enter has a podium spot for you, until you eat it first turn and remember you suck.
  • + 12
 I need to stop looking at these photos with a broken collar bone... torture!!
  • + 7
 Heal up soon, buddy!!
  • + 8
 Am I the only one frustrated by the fact that it is basically impossible to see a full picture on the screen with the full width layout? So great pictures, I would like to see them in their full beauty.
  • + 2
 I'm frustrated too but I have a slow internet connection and this type of galleries/pictures comes with a lot of lag while charging the page.
  • + 7
 Sam Hill always excelled in bad DH riding conditions, the muddier the more likelihood he would do well in the race. I'm happy for him, he was always a great guy in person, just hard to understand him when he spoke, lol...
  • + 8
 In the feels for the Canyon crew, bittersweet week.
  • + 5
 Eddie Masters is kind of an anti-hero. Crashes and bad luck keep him away from the top spot. But when he wins his first DH world cup or even EWS I am sure that I am gonna cry for happiness. Great guy
  • + 6
 Great Photo work on the photos, obviously a challenging dark environment. One shot at 12,500 ISO and several at 8K ISO. Thanks for the hard work!
  • + 7
 Who wants to bet that Rude destroys the competition at the next stop?
  • + 4
 I bet a lot of the top riders who placed out of the top 10 are gonna have their come-uppance in better conditions.
  • - 1
 @Jvhowube: @Jvhowube: its not really come-uppance its just the top 10 riders today were the best at riding ride mud and it suited their style. The usual EWS podium faces that finished down the field today are awesome riders but not in these conditions. on the easier dryer tracks like they will have in Australia next stop they will smash it. rude still won stage 6 which was the dryest stage of the day on what was a flat out no messing stage. when things get wet and wild the DH boys come to the party. after i finished stage 1 me and the guys around me all felt it was quite clear that people like hill and Bryceland were going to excel.
  • + 3
 @bthomson84: did you read the article?
it rained for the top riders and the ones before the women category don't

having said that, happy for my mate that did 9º
  • + 4
 @tiagomano: The rain was only early on, then it stopped, and because Vegas drains fast, the trails starting drying out. By the time Rude got to stage 6 the open section was running fast again. @bthomson84 actually rode the race, so he doesn't need to read the article. I rode the Challenger the day before in drying conditions from raining overnight.

I agree with @bthomson84 that those more suited to wet trails had a good shot at getting placed well. Rude still smashed back up to 20th once the trails began to dry.

As for Derby, it could be a wet fest too. Tasmania sees a lot of rain....it's actually forecast to be raining up until 1st April, then who knows after that.
  • + 0
 @tiagomano: the rain wasn't isolated and it actually rained for everyone on course so it just affected the various stages differently as it depended where on course you were when the heavy rains came down. so tough for the top 20 on stage 1 but tough for the amateurs on stage etc. everyone would concur that stage 5 was an absolute shit show and resembled something more like a WW1 battlefield than a bike race
  • + 6
 @bthomson84: Rude was the last man down and the track would have been a shite show with a couple of hundred riders tearing the track up before him.

Hill is a weapon and notorious mud runner.
  • + 8
 Jack Sparrow win...
  • + 6
 I haven't wanted a GT this much since Peaty's DHi! Might have to rent one at whistler this season ????
  • + 6
 Thats a hell of a lot wheelie skills on the top spot!
  • + 6
 How many Bananas were consumed?
  • + 2
 Two questions for anyone who knows:

1. Didn't they require full face helmets for timed EWS stages in past seasons, or what that only in Euro stops? Sam, Eddie, Etc... are all rocking open face here, so whats up with that?

2. Somewhat related to question 1, what are those wires on Eddie Masters eyeteeth in the close up where he is wearing the fur hat? Did he knock out his fronts and is wearing some sort of semi denture?
  • + 2
 It's up to the organisers at each individual ews event to stipulate whether full faces are mandatory or not. They've had events in prior years without mandatory full face eg. Wicklow
  • + 2
 2. That'd be an upper denture. I have 'em for my lower front teeth.
  • + 6
 Second straight EWS win for the GT Sanction!
  • + 5
 Not a good day for the french riders ...
  • + 16
 You forget Cécile Ravanel, winning every stage but the last! She was ripping.
  • + 2
 Not gonna lie, I wasn't even close to winning that Fantasy Contest with such an unpredictable kiwi filled podium. Wicked photos, wicked racing!!
  • + 4
 Warms the heart to see Jarred and Sam riding together!
  • + 4
 Ratboy enjoying and placed top ten
  • + 4
 Rude and Keene got a lot of hype but still couldn't snag that Wyn...
  • + 2
 GT ending the 2016 season in the podium and starts 2017 with podium again... Some things are doing good these boys....
One question: Where is Dan Atherton??
  • + 4
 Dan only races certain ews events he's not usually a regular rider.
  • + 2
 Congrats to Canadian ripper Max Leyen who just missed the podium in U21. Yea buddy!
  • + 2
 Gorgeous! Simply Gorgeous.
  • + 2
 That T-Rex is one of the best things to happen to mountain biking lately.
  • + 2
 Epic photos. Nice one!
  • + 2
 Wyn for the win
  • + 1
 I can't wait for the downhill season to start
  • + 1
 Do they not have to wear full face helmets anymore?
  • + 2
 I think each venue gets to choose. Not a lot of rock or wide open super fast stuff in Rotorua so a full face isn't really necessary.
  • + 1
 Was Ratty on the 50/10 or the Nomad?
  • + 15
 None of the above. Hightower.
  • + 2
 Hightower
  • + 5
 All SC guys seem to be riding the Hightower... Make what you will of that.
  • + 5
 @gonecoastal: I make of it that they are releasing a new bike on April 1st which is most likely a long travel Hightower
  • + 3
 @salespunk: the nomad is due for a change
  • + 0
 @tiagomano: @salespunk LT HT/29er Nomad type-ish
  • + 1
 How did the Trek Gravity Girls do in the race...?
  • + 3
 Casey Brown had been sick all week, put up a good fight anyway, but pulled out of the race after stage 5. Katy Winton won the last stage, got 2nd on two stages, and fifth overall!
  • + 1
 So stoked for the Masters podium on their home turf. ???? podium
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