Photo Epic: Slopestyle Finals - Crankworx Rotorua 2019

Mar 23, 2019
by Andy Vathis  


It's been a long winter off since we last saw impressive aerial action from the select few that dare to push the limits of gravity and themselves. That's right, Slopestyle is back and it's the cherry on top of the week-long festivities here at Crankworx. Riders come together for a try at the Triple Crown a few times a year while spending the rest of their time training, learning new tricks, and recovering. Everyone on the start list has been prequalified and are well aware of how massive the courses can be. Rotorua is no exception to that. The course is long and the features are big. It's common for riders to not complete their runs. Everything has to be calculated and perfect once the cameras start rolling.

Today's competition featured the usual suspects plus a handful of new faces. Brett Rheeder is back to repeat last year's performance. The Canadian has had a busy off season putting out a few video parts so you know he's been putting time on his bike. Nicholi Rogatkin is seeking revenge after winning here in 2017 and that's entirely possible considering his insane bag of tricks. Tomas Lemoine has already competed in other Crankworx events and is now sizing up the biggest challenge yet. Alex Alanko is a name worth mentioning here since he landed himself a solid third. This was his second Crankworx Slopestyle and he definitely left his mark. The weather was looking bleak yet held off long enough to keep to tarps folded up. The arena was packed. It was go time.

First tricks of the day with the sun peeking in and out.
First tricks of the day with the sun peeking in and out.

Erik Fedko jumping right into the deep end.
Erik Fedko jumping right into the deep end.

Touch ups and other preparations for the big show.
Touch ups and other preparations for the big show.

Unlike last year s rain and drizzle moisture was provided through a hose to keep the dust down and pack it all in.
Unlike last year's rain and drizzle, moisture was provided through a hose to keep the dust down and pack it all in.

Rogatkin and Isted planning their runs.
Rogatkin and Isted planning their runs.

Pick one.
Pick one.

Thomas Genon had a less than ideal day. His shoulder gave him issues only to finally pop out of socket mid trick. Not good.
Thomas Genon had a less than ideal day. His shoulder gave him issues, only to finally pop out of socket mid trick. Not good.

Tomas Lemoine has kept busy for most of the week with other Crankworx events. One more to go.
Tomas Lemoine has kept busy for most of the week with other Crankworx events. One more to go.

Nicholi Rogatkin has won here before but with the envelope being pushed even further he s going to have to dig deeper.
Nicholi Rogatkin has won here before but with the envelope being pushed even further, he's going to have to dig deeper.

Hydro gyros are all the rage.
Hydro gyros are all the rage.

New lid paint for Fedko courtesy of Redbull.
New lid paint for Fedko courtesy of Redbull.

Anthony Messere is known for his amplitude on the bike. He s been in enough Slopestyle s to know what it takes.
Anthony Messere is known for his amplitude on the bike. He's been in enough Slopestyle's to know what it takes.

Anthony Messere coming around on a front flip.
Anthony Messere coming around on a front flip.

Jakub Vencl tucking and letting go.
Jakub Vencl tucking and letting go.

Messere spinning and whipping the start gate step down.
Messere spinning and whipping the start gate step down.

Mechanical Gyros have come a long way from earlier bulkier versions.
Mechanical Gyros have come a long way from earlier bulkier versions.

No gyro no problem.
No gyro, no problem.

Nicholi was on a heater first run.
Nicholi was on a heater first run.

He was set for destiny it seemed until he under rotated on the final jump.
He was set for destiny it seemed until he under-rotated on the final jump.

Brett Rheeder with a signature 720. By the time practice was over he d already done his finals run a few times.
Brett Rheeder with a signature 720. By the time practice was over, he'd already done his finals run a few times.

Frustrations with incomplete runs. That s just the way she goes.
Frustrations with incomplete runs. That's just the way she goes.

Double back flips were thrown around a number of times. Vencl half way through his.
Double backflips were thrown around a number of times. Vencl halfway through his.

Messere front flipping mid way through a great run. Luck would have it though he would slip a pedal on the next stunt.
Messere front flipping midway through a great run. He would slip a pedal on the next stunt.

Alex Alanko catching the bars. Third place for the not-so-new guy.
Alex Alanko catching the bars. Third place for the not-so-new guy.

Alanko upside down in his third place run.
Alanko upside down in his third-place run.

Erik Fedko truck driving over the wheel barrow feature.
Erik Fedko truck driving over the wheelbarrow feature.

Tommy G right before going down hard. Such an unfortunate and scary injury.
Tommy G right before going down hard. Such an unfortunate and scary injury.

Fredriksson was looking good until a few mishaps cost him any chances at the podium.
Fredriksson was looking good until a few mishaps cost him any chances at the podium.

Max Fredriksson is another rider who couldn t keep it rubber side down.
Max Fredriksson is another rider who couldn't keep it rubber side down.

Torquato Testa feeling the heat. It seemed as though many riders simply had difficulty keeping momentum over the gaps as finals wore on.
Torquato Testa feeling the heat. It seemed as though many riders simply had difficulty keeping momentum over the gaps as finals wore on.

Tomas Lemoine stretched out.
Tomas Lemoine stretched out.

A double whip for good measure.
A double whip for good measure.

Proper Euro fashion from Lemoine.
Proper Euro fashion from Lemoine.

Rheeder gearing up for another one.
Rheeder gearing up for another one.

Welcome to the Rheeder show.
Welcome to the Rheeder show.

Thomas Genon s arm in a makeshift sling. He might be in for a long recovery but only time will tell.
Thomas Genon's arm in a makeshift sling. He might be in for a long recovery but only time will tell.

Tomas Lemoine put down a tough to beat first run that had him sitting in second and staying there.
Tomas Lemoine put down a tough to beat first run that had him sitting in second and staying there.

Not Erik Fedko s day.
Not Erik Fedko's day.

Casual corked 720 on his victory lap Brett Rheeder isn t your average competitor.
Casual corked 720 on his victory lap, Brett Rheeder isn't your average competitor.

Champagne showers with McGazza looking over it all. What a day.
Champagne showers with McGazza looking over it all. What a day.

Lemoine hanging with the friends and fans.
Lemoine hanging with friends and fans.

Fan love for Rheeder.
Fan love for Rheeder.

They may all be competing against each other but they re all friends that look out for each other in the end regardless of the result.
They may all be competing against each other but they're all friends that look out for each other in the end regardless of the result.


Three legends engraved and now one is looking for the hat trick.
Three legends engraved and now one is looking for the hat trick.

One down two to go.
One down, two to go.

Brett Rheeder s weapon of choice.
Brett Rheeder's weapon of choice.

On to Innsbruck.
On to Innsbruck.


MENTIONS: @officialcrankworx



17 Comments

  • + 18
 Awesome coverage guys! Any chance there is a clear snap or two of that tight Nac Nac by Erik Fedko @
143.56 in the replay. Even with all the crazy tricks being thrown, IMO that was the highlight. So much style on huge jumps is rare when the progression is to combo/triple etc. for points.
www.pinkbike.com/news/coming-up-live-slopestyle-crankworx-rotorua-2019.html
  • + 9
 God I hope so. Victory laps and throwaway runs are some of my favourite things.
  • + 3
 @brianpark: That NacNac was insane the bike was over 90 degree!!
  • + 10
 Did Redbull drop Messere?
  • + 1
 i was wondering that to
  • + 1
 how does a can drop a knife?
  • + 7
 Gutted for Genon, I wanted to see a full run of his so bad !
  • + 6
 Nice work Andy !!!
  • + 5
 Is Messere not redbullal athlete anymore?
  • + 4
 Are Rheeder and Brown a couple yet?
  • + 4
 Time for Lemoine to get a redbull helmet. Or, better yet, Evian.
  • - 1
 Wow, so like are you guys pay royalities to the boys at Odyssey for the endless photos of this 'new fangled' device.....

Seriously, deep of field shots of a gyro? Really? (And to think some argue that current "hardcore, omg spinny MTB" tricks isn't biting on 90s bmx...)

Endless wack-flips, sure. Gyros? Wow.

Brian Scura, you've arrived bro!!!
  • + 3
 Where is MessereĀ“s RedBull helmet?
  • + 2
 What chain device is Rheeder running?
  • + 2
 ...never mind. G3, had never seen these. Pretty sweet design.
  • + 2
 andymob

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