Once again the crowds gathered on the sides of the Crankworx Rotorua Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza course to witness some incredible two-wheeled trickery. Scheduled for Saturday, the big show was all set to get underway but as the tarps got rolled off the weather rolled in. In a holding pattern, the riders had to wait anxiously as the first phase of showers came and went. Now two hours behind schedule, the course began to dry out and riders once more had to get themselves in the zone ready to do battle. As the final practice runs came to an end Mother Nature decided today wasn't to be the day and let rip all she had. Heavy rain quickly created streams down the hill and the crowds had vanished from the sides of the course.
Roll on Sunday. Last chance Sunday. With early morning downpours wreaking havoc on the downhill course just meters away, the likelihood of the slopestyle going ahead looked slim. But Rotorua's changeable conditions played in everyone's favour. As expected, the rain held off for just long enough and without any unrequired delay riders began to spin and flip their way down the newly revised course.
This years event saw the notable absence of Brandon Semenuk who left the door wide open for previous champs Brett Rheeder and Nicholi Rogatkin to dual it out for the slopestyle title. It wasn't all smooth sailing for the previous winners though, with Tommy G back on form and a few dark horses in the mix. After the first runs, Brett was in the lead with a 98.40, and Rogatkin was sitting in 2nd on a 92.40.
Come to the second runs, riders knew what they had to do. Go big or go home. One by one, they each took turns to try and better Rheeders score but kept falling short. Genon came through, laying down a highly technical and dialled run that saw him take 2nd place. Diego Caverzasi pulled a twister that he had never done in competition before and slipped into 3rd. Come Nicholi's run, he had slipped three places from 2nd down to 5th and knew he had to go big if he wanted to walk away victorious. Unfortunately for Rogatkin, he had to settle for fifth place with a 86.75.
1st - Brett Rheeder Full Results
2nd - Thomas Genon
3rd - Diego Caverzasi
Mentions: @cameronmackenzie @officialcrankworx