Air Downhill: Photo Epic - Crankworx Rotorua 2017

Apr 2, 2017 at 4:22
by Dave Trumpore  



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.



Baxter Maiwald and some leg swag though the last rhythm section.
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.
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 Rorotua s skyline
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.
It's always good to see Jerome and some other EWS riders out shredding with style.

Local boy Louis Hamilton in 12th.
Local boy Louis Hamilton in 12th.

Pop goes the new bright orange Fly racing kit that Bernard Kerr is running.
Pop goes the new bright orange Fly racing kit that Bernard Kerr is running.

Jill made 2nd today and secured herself another Queen of Crankworx result.
Jill made 2nd today ahead of her rival Caroline Buchanan.

Cody Kelley streaking through the forest.
Cody Kelley streaking through the forest.

Richie Rude getting in some interval training before heading off to Tasmania for next week s EWS round.
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.
Caroline Buchanan rounded out the podium for the ladies.

Cedric Gracia three seconds back in 7th.
Cedric Gracia, three seconds back in 7th.

Joe Smith was the slowest of three riders all on the same second to take 6th.
Joe Smith was the slowest of three riders all on the same second to take 6th.

Cody Kelley s BMX roots showing through.
Cody Kelley's BMX roots showing through.

William Kendrick on the high-line through the wallride.
William Kendrick on the high-line through the wallride.

Many riders opted for the flat line - however Sky hit the small step up jump.
Many riders opted for the flat line; however, Sky hit the small step up jump.

Ashley usually has a heap of fluro kit but today decided to wear black. No good for photographers.
Ashley usually has heaps of fluro kit, but today decided to wear black. No good for photographers.

Sam Robbie rocks the blackboard look in todays Air DH.
Sam Robbie rocks the blackboard look in today's Air DH.

There s always one.
There's always one.

Crankworx Rotorua Air DH

Crankworx Rotorua Air DH

Jill Kintner was a favorite to win and while se only came 3rd the was still good enough to leave Rotorua with the Queen of Crankworx points lead.
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.
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.
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.

Wynn Masters powered to 11th.
Wyn Masters powered to 11th.

Only 5 seconds back but with racing so tight Mitch Ropelato would get pushed back to 16th.
Only five seconds back, but with racing so tight Mitch Ropelato would get pushed back to 16th.

Crankworx Rotorua Air DH

Bryceland looks to have had a blast this week in Rotorua just riding bikes.
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.
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 coloured frame forks and wheels that he is running on his new Pivot range.
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.
Adrian Loron steps down out of the woods and into the finish area where he's greeted by dark clouds that began to gather.

Iago whipping
Iago whipping.

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.
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.
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.

Crankworx Rotorua Air DH
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.
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.
Buchanan pushes across the line and gave it enough to end up in third.

Verbeeck squashing the finish line jump out of the woods.
Verbeeck squashing the finish line jump out of the woods.

Matt Walker stoking out his young fans on the way to the victory.
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
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 slip within a few tenths of a second of the lead to keep Matt Walker nervous on the hotseat right to the very end.
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 3rd.
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.
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.
Matt Walker, with another podium taking the King of Crankworx title again.

The final podium of the 2017 Crankworx Rotorua.
The final podium of the 2017 Crankworx Rotorua.

Making it ran for the last time in Rotorua.
Making it ran for the last time in Rotorua.

Vaea Verbeek heads home with some shiny new gold hardware.
Vaea Verbeek heads home with some shiny new gold hardware.



24 Comments

  • + 26
 Thomas Slavik is such a beast. Compared to other riders he seems to fly a little more under the radar, especially doing the urban racing and 4x thing for much of the season. However the dude is a seriously good all around rider. Air DH podium on his hard tail? I know it's a smooth course but you've gotta be riding with some real precision to pul that off!
  • - 14
flag mikeyspaff (Apr 2, 2017 at 14:36) (Below Threshold)
 You make it sound as if a hardtail has no right to be 2nd.
  • + 1
 That's awesome to see. I bet that track is a blast to ride on anything.
  • + 2
 have you seen his hometrack? Smile )
  • + 18
 watched the live feed, really interesting mix of dh word cup racers, ews racers, & freeride video guys all racing. phil atwill running a hardtail 27.5 front / 26 rear. really fun to watch. any body know why connor fearon raced the enduro but doesn't have results for anything else? neethling is a great announcer, ADD setting in, headed out fo' a ride.
  • + 3
 fearon went back to aus to race a thredbo Smile
  • + 11
 Buchanan really does have an amazing style on a bike. Best style of the female riders to me. So powerful but so composed at the same time.
  • + 0
 Why don't the Crankworx events attract more big name WC DH riders? (Gwin, Bruni, Hart, the Athertons, etc.) For sponsors and factory teams I'd figure more exposure is better, so why not fly their athletes out to compete?

I guess the type of riding is fairly different between the WC and Air DH, but is there another reason that I haven't thought of?
  • + 2
 Bruni raced the dh
  • + 1
 Know a guy who organized an EWS class event here (not on the circuit, but worthy) and it was sponsored by a major bike manufacturer.
When he found out none of their sponsored riders were gonna compete he asked them why and they told him that it clashed with the rider's training program.
Seems the top names train like Olympic athletes, with the first race as the target.
Race before, or after, that and you're not at the peak of your fitness.

I don't know, I'm a nobody, but that's what they told him.
  • + 2
 I don't know why but I think if they ran this race chainless it would be sick
  • + 0
 i feel like someone would get hurt haha; land go to put a crank in and blow up when there is no resistance
  • + 1
 Wild how baxter gets unclipped for that leg swag and lands ...guessn the mallets help a ton there too.
  • + 1
 What helmet does Bryceland have on?
  • + 4
 Fox Proframe
  • + 1
 did vencl even race in this?
  • + 1
 Buchanan's mechanic must have had to rush to put a new rear brake on...
  • + 0
 100000 for first spot?
  • + 11
 It's $1,000.00
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