After a week of hard racing, whacky weather, schedule changes, and some incredibly long, tough days, Crankworx Rotorua has come to an end. And it couldn't have ended on a higher note for racers and spectators alike. With a mix of EWS racers, DH racers, freeriders, and the jack of all trades Josh Bryceland all in attendance, it was also a chance for fans to watch all of their favorite riders from each of the weeks' disciplines all racing together in one event. Originally scheduled as the opening race of Crankworx, Air Downhill seemed better suited as the closer.
With all of the gnarly DH and Slopestyle events in the rear view, racers of the Air Downhill were able to relax a little and ride more stress-free – just for fun. Racers were busting out lap after lap, some solo and others in mega trains with friends, all hooting and hollering through the tress and over the tracks multiple jumps. The atmosphere on site today was that of fun. Well earned and appreciated fun. It really wasn't until the clock started ticking that the game faces came out and the event took a super serious mood. With bragging rights and points on the line, racing was still the main event.
While both men's and women's races saw some fresh faces at the top of the podium, the usual Crankworx suspects were right there in the mix to set the hierarchy for future rounds, and the all important King and Queen of Crankworx title that will be decided this August in Whistler.
Australian Junion pinner, Baxter Maiwald, and some leg swag though the last rhythm section.
Richie Rude going full plaid en route to 4th. He made two huge mistakes in corners and cost himself a spot on the podium on what otherwise might have been a winning run.
With dense forest almost the entire way down, this was the one brief moment where riders could catch a view of Rotorua's skyline
It's always good to see Jerome and some other EWS riders out shredding with style.
Local boy Louis Hamilton in 12th.
Pop goes the new bright orange Fly racing kit that Bernard Kerr is running.
Jill made 2nd today ahead of her rival Caroline Buchanan.
Cody Kelley streaking through the forest.
Richie Rude getting in some interval training before heading off to Tasmania for next week's EWS round.
Caroline Buchanan rounded out the podium for the ladies.
Cedric Gracia, three seconds back in 7th.
Joe Smith was the slowest of three riders all on the same second to take 6th.
Cody Kelley's BMX roots showing through.
William Kendrick on the high-line through the wallride.
Many riders opted for the flat line; however, Sky hit the small step up jump.
Ashley usually has heaps of fluro kit, but today decided to wear black. No good for photographers.
Sam Robbie rocks the blackboard look in today's Air DH.
There's always one.
Jill Kintner was a favorite to win, and while she came in second, it was still good enough to leave Rotorua with the Queen of Crankworx points lead.
Casey Brown had a big crash after loosing her front wheel and sliding out of the track.
Canadian racer Vaea Verbeek has finished on Crankworx podiums before, but today's win in Air DH would be her first time on the top step.
Wyn Masters powered to 11th.
Only five seconds back, but with racing so tight Mitch Ropelato would get pushed back to 16th.
Bryceland looks to have had a blast this week in Rotorua, just riding bikes.
MacDonald pushes out across the line. His efforts weren't enough to get him on the podium.
Rupert Chapman can be spotted by the brightly colored frame forks and wheels that he is running on his new Pivot range.
Adrian Loron steps down out of the woods and into the finish area where he's greeted by dark clouds that began to gather.
Richie Rude pushes out of the dark woods and into the light, but would only hold onto the hot seat for a short amount of time.
Jill was on a mission today and while she didn't have enough to take the win, she did enough to walk away as the series leader.
Fifth for Bernard Kerr
A timing issue saw Siegenthaler as the winner of the women's race for a short period. Once the timing was checked she landed in sixth.
Buchanan pushes across the line and gave it enough to end up in third.
Verbeeck squashing the finish line jump out of the woods.
Matt Walker stoking out his young fans on the way to the victory.
Slavik gritting his teeth as he pushes his hardtail across the line. His wrist injury wasn't enough to stop him from landing another podium here, in the Air DH
The last man down the hill was Bas Van Steenbergen. He would post a split time within a few tenths of a second of the lead to keep Matt Walker nervous on the hot seat right to the very end.
That clock doesn't lie. Bas Van Steenbergen in third.
Jill Kintner leaves Rotorua as the points leader in the race to be Queen of Crankworx.
Matt Walker, with another podium taking the King of Crankworx title again.
The final podium of the 2017 Crankworx Rotorua.
Making it ran for the last time in Rotorua.
Vaea Verbeek heads home with some shiny new gold hardware.