Photo Epic: Taniwha Downhill - Crankworx Rotorua 2024

Mar 18, 2024 at 15:03
by Cameron Mackenzie  


Welcome back. In what has felt like an extra-long off-season, we find ourselves once again at the start line of an impending season of racing. Crankworx Rotorua has long marked the start of the international calendar, and this year, they've turned up the volume to mark a decade of hosting the event in Rotorua.

Starting with a bang, the Taniwha Downhill saw riders descend on the infamous Whakarewarewa Forest for the Rockshox Taniwha Downhill, in what started out as less than ideal conditions. What started as a very wet and slippery practice on Friday, finished with near perfect conditions on a warm and exciting Sunday in the Redwoods. The Taniwha Downhill has long been a race which favours the locals since it sports such unique conditions - highly changeable weather, soft loamy dirt, slippery roots, in addition to being physically demanding.

This weekend we saw quite the story unfold. There was never much doubt as to who the ones to watch were, but Bernard Kerr's seeding result saw onlookers waiting anxiously come Sunday to see if their hometown hero, Lachie Stevens-McNab, could best that of the veteran racer. In the women's, the young phenom, Ellie Hulsebosch, took control of proceedings from the outset, but made the home crowd sweat as she tried to stave off a formidable Jess Blewitt and stay on her bike.

Tyre choice proved to be quite the topic of conversation with such changeable conditions.
Tyre choice proved to be quite the topic of conversation with such changeable conditions.

 Like this bro
"Like this bro"
Tegan Cruz getting suited up for battle
Tegan Cruz getting suited up for battle.

With half the of the pivot crew walking wounded this weekend it was up to Jakob Bernard and Matt to bring home the bacon.
With half the of the Pivot crew walking wounded this weekend, it was up to Jakob, Bernard and Matt to bring home the bacon.

Something about a knife and a gun fight...
Something about a knife and a gun fight...

Kasper Woolley clocking some real world testing aboard his wheeled wetsuit and scoring a 16th place for his efforts
Kasper Woolley clocking some real world testing aboard his wheeled wetsuit, and scoring a 16th place for his efforts.

Who needs break when you can just back it into a stump
Who needs brakes when you can just back it into a stump.

Dan Booker
Even a broken nose can't stop Dan Booker.

Sam Gale
Sam Gale riding the rut.

Blenki was looking to have a loose time in practice.
Blenki was looking to have a loose time in practice.

Without fail Allan Cooke s always on the start list here in Rotorua.
Without fail, Allan Cooke's always on the start list here in Rotorua.

Mick Hannah
Mick Hannah through the stumps. Watch those shoulders.

photo
The first of many downhill races this year for Richie Rude.

Bella Birchall
Bellah Birchall was one of the few ladies to hit the big jumps on course.

Liam Jackson
Liam Jackson laser focused.

Sik Mik
Sick Mick rounded out a strong showing by the Yeti team this weekend.

Dan Booker
Maydena or Rotorua? The similarities aren't lost on Dan Booker.

Blenki
We hear Eliot Jackson talk a lot about "Body English", but Blenki speaks his own language.

Somethings in the water here in New Zealand at the minute. Tyler Waite s another one of these first year juniors doing damage in the elite ranks already.
Somethings in the water here in New Zealand at the minute. Tyler Waite's another one of these first year juniors doing damage in the elite ranks already.

The downhill s never quite been Bas s strong suit but is critical in his defence of that King of Crankworx title each year.
The downhill's never quite been Bas's strong suit, but is critical in his defence of that King of Crankworx title each year.

Yea na tracks good.
Yea na, tracks good.

Chris Hauser. Full style Full Speed.
Chris Hauser. Full style, full Speed.

Erice Van Leuven was looking strong in early practice but a crash saw her having to sit out finals.
Erice Van Leuven was looking strong in early practice, but a crash saw her having to sit out finals.

Bernard Kerr warming the hips up for some race run break dancing.
Bernard Kerr warming the hips up for some race run break dancing.

Want to compare notes
Want to compare notes?

Come race day the dirt was perfect
Come race day the dirt was perfect.

Lachie finding lines not many others were taking
Lachie finding lines not many others were taking.

Does it come in red
Does it come in red?

A near on home track for Poppy Lane this weekend.
A near on home track for Poppy Lane this weekend.

Bellah Birchall
Bellah Birchall was loving racing at home.

Martha Gill s a women to watch for the Queen of Crankworx this year and a 5th place sets the stage nicely for the points race to come.
Martha Gill's a woman to watch for the Queen of Crankworx this year, and a 5th place sets the stage nicely for the points race to come.

Sacha Earnestt
Sacha Earnest looked a little off the pace this weekend, ending up 16 seconds on Ellie.

Shania Rawson s always done well here in the Redwoods and once again found herself on the box.
Shania Rawson's always done well here in the Redwoods, and once again found herself on the box.

Jess Blewitt
Jess Blewitt was struggling this weekend, coming off the back of some sickness, but fought hard for 2nd place.

Women of the hour Ellie Hulsebosch flying past a roaring home crowd.
Woman of the hour, Ellie Hulsebosch, flying past a roaring home crowd.

Richie Rude proved himself when it matter overcoming his 31st place in seeding and putting down a run which saw him take a nice long ride on the hot seat.
Richie Rude proved himself when it mattered, overcoming his 31st place in seeding, and putting down a run which saw him take a nice long ride on the hot seat.

Tegan Cruz
Tegan Cruz looked strong aboard his new ride.

Chris Hauser
Chris Hauser rounded out a strong weekend for the Union team, clinching a 7th place overall for his efforts and 2nd in the U19's.

Local knowledge wasn t quite enough for Louis Hamilton this weekend having to settle for a place a little further down the results list than he would have liked.
Local knowledge wasn't quite enough for Louis Hamilton this weekend, having to settle for a place a little further down the results list than he would have liked.

Jackson Frew
Jackson Frew's no stranger to a Crankworx podium, and was riding like a man possessed all weekend.

George Brannigan
George Brannigan's had a long road back to full health after years of niggly sickness, but is back now, finishing 6th here in Rotorua.

The old boy proved he s still got what it takes.
The old boy proved he's still got what it takes.

Lucas Cruz
Lucas Cruz, second place in the battle of the brothers. 24th overall.

Alex Storr
20th for Alex Storr.

Lachie Stevens-McNab
There was little doubt that Lachie Stevens-McNab could take the win.

Oli Clark
Oli Clark's another of these first year juniors showing serious pace.

Bernard Kerr
Even before breaking his bike, Bernard Kerr looked to be having a hard time matching the pace of Lachie.

Jakob Jewett proved his win in Whistler was no fluke taking the silver.
Jakob Jewett proved his win in Whistler was no fluke, taking the silver.

Tyler Waite
A very good result for Tyler Waite in his first pro race - 5th overall, 1st U19.

Brook MacDonald making it bark.
Brook MacDonald making it bark.

Lachie Stevens-McNab down to the line
Lachie Stevens-McNab down to the line

No complaints with 3rd in a field of kids half his age.
No complaints from Blenki. 3rd place in a field of kids half his age.
Sacha Earnest
Sacha Earnest was a little off the pace here in Rotorua, having to settle for 4th.

Lachie Stevens-McNab
Lachie laid down a scorcher of a run in the hope of keeping Bernard at bay.

photo
Lachie Stevens-McNab Ellie Hulsebosch
The first of many champagne showers for these two.


Your 2024 Crankworx Taniwha Downhill elite podium
Your 2024 Crankworx Rotorua Taniwha Downhill elite podium.

The Union s going to need a bigger trophy cabinet at this rate.
The Union's going to need a bigger trophy cabinet at this rate.


Author Info:
cameronmackenzie avatar

Member since Mar 6, 2011
72 articles

18 Comments
  • 31 0
 ...Came here for the BKerr Frame Breakage full high res action shot - ....went away empty handed :]
  • 4 0
 Same, scanned all the photos hoping for this shot lol
  • 10 0
 So BK was not the only rider to smash a frame during the weekend…
  • 5 0
 i was hoping to see a photo of Blenkis race run whip i could steal for my screensaver as a reminder i'll never be that good
  • 4 0
 Blenki dealing speed on track and on the podium in those sunnies!
  • 2 0
 When was belt drive ok'd? Chain snap is rare, but sure has ruined a lot of runs... cept for Gwin.
  • 1 0
 The podium photo looks like a load of school kids with their English teacher on the right :-D
  • 2 5
 Looks like it was the carbon lay up that failed, not the tubes pulling out of the lugs on Burger King's bike. They need to make BK edition with solid tubes the way that guy murders his bikes! Always cool to see non sponsored riders getting on the podium!
  • 2 0
 It was the adhesive between tubes and lugs that failed.
  • 1 0
 @HeadlessIronhorsemen: Had a second look, I stand corrected. Didn't realize another rider broke his frame in the same event. Looked like he was being nice guy and helping BK get his bike off course, but that is clearly a YT not the Pivot, my bad.
  • 1 0
 Thank you for the great photos!!!
  • 1 0
 Somthing about a knife and gun fight?????????????????????????
  • 1 0
 The guy’s riding an enduro bike at a dh race, a but inadequate
  • 1 0
 @sixteridesbikes: Oh ok! makes sence! Thanks dude!
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