Final Results from the Downhill at Crankworx Rotorua 2024

Mar 17, 2024 at 0:47
by Ed Spratt  
Podium at the 2024 Crankworx Rotorua RockShox Taniwha Downhill 1st Eliana Hulsebosch Lachie Stevens-McNab 2nd Jess Blewett Jake Jewett 3rd Shania Rawson Sam Blenkinsop

Downhill racing kicked off a week of competition at Crankworx Rotorua with The Union teammates Eliana Hulsebosch and Lachlan Stevens-Mcnab taking the top honours.

Eliana Hulsebosch backed up her fastest qualifying time as she rocketed across the finish line nearly six seconds up on 2nd place. Eliana Hulsebosch is quickly becoming a rider to watch in 2024 as she follows up her Junior New Zealand national champs title by winning against elite women at Crankworx. Jess Blewitt improved her qualifying results as she stepped up to 2nd, although she did drop a further one second behind Eliana. Shania Rawson completed the top three women with a time just over ten seconds back from the race winner.

Lachlan Stevens-Mcnab is another rider having an incredible start to the season as he blew apart the front of the race. After qualifying in 2nd, Lachlan went one better for finals as he found 2.322 seconds on Jakob Jewett. No other rider could get within nearly eight seconds of the race leader as Sam Blenkinsop settled for third, 7.860 back. Bernard Kerr had a huge crash in the bottom half of the course and we will provide an update once we know more.

Check out the full results below.

Elite Women

1st. Eliana Hulsebosch: 3:24.130
2nd. Jess Blewitt: +5.891
3rd. Shania Rawson: +10.777
4th. Sacha Earnest: +16.919
5th. Martha Gill: +18.188

Elite Men

1st. Lachlan Stevens-Mcnab: 2:45.612
2nd. Jakob Jewett: +2.322
3rd. Sam Blenkinsop: +7.860
4th. Richie Rude: +8.250
5th. Tyler Waite: +8.340

Full Results

Elite Women


Elite Men


Words by Crankworx:

After facing wet conditions during the track walk and training sessions on Friday, the weather was in favour of athletes and trail builders alike. Exposed to plenty of sunshine throughout the weekend, the Taniwha trail in Rotorua’s Whakarewarewa forest was in pristine condition for the first Crankworx event of the year, marking both the kickoff of the Crankworx World Tour and the exhilarating 10-year anniversary of Crankworx Rotorua. Some of the world’s top athletes gathered to compete on the iconic volcanic soil of Aotearoa.

Local athletes proved to be unbeatable, with Rotorua’s own Lachie Stevens-McNab and Eliana Hulsebosch from nearby Tauranga taking first place.
bigquotesYou know there’s a bit more pressure with a local race, everyone’s ‘you’re the local boy, you know you gotta win’, but yeah, it feels unreal to win.Lachie Stevens-McNab about competing at home

2024 Crankworx Rotorua RockShox Taniwha DH
Kiwi rider Eliana Hulsebosch conquering the rooty Taniwha DH track.(c) Crankworx

An all-kiwi podium was celebrated in the women’s category as Jess Blewitt and Shania Rawson were following Eliana Hulsebosch onto the steps at the award ceremony. Despite having a challenging run, Eliana managed to maintain her lead with quite some room between her and the first runner-up.
bigquotesIt was really good in the first straight, and then I got to the first bog section and I hit a tree and got a little bit lose, but I quickly told myself to breathe, recompose myself and keep the tires moving which is always ideal in the muddy stuff. And then, it got sketchy a couple more times, one on the road crossing.Eliana Hulsebosch recapping her run

2024 Crankworx Rotorua RockShox Taniwha DH
Rotorua's very own Lachie Stevens-McNab on his winning run at the RockShox Taniwha DH. (c) Crankworx

Bernard Kerr, who was last to start after dominating in yesterday’s seeding, unfortunately crashed while going for the big new triple feature on the course. This left the men’s podium to be rounded out by two Kiwis and Canadian Jakob Jewett. Lachie grabbing the first spot witnessed by his family and friends, was in good company with South Island’s Samuel Blenkinsop coming in third. Young Canadian rider Jakob Jewett who was tight on Lachie’s heels, sums up his strategy for the race:
bigquotesI just wanted to have a clean run and see where my speed is at. Obviously, the New Zealand and Australia boys have had a lot of time to bike, so coming from the Canada winter I just wanted to be in the mix, and yeah, super happy I’m on the podium.Jakob Jewett

Local athletes were particularly stoked about this year’s Taniwha Downhill track, attributed to Rotorua’s forgiving and fast-absorbing volcanic soil.
bigquotesThe trail was so sick, and honestly, the rain two days ago made it so much more interesting. It was like a highway when it was dry. Now that it’s been wet and, you know, ruts were everywhere, made the track more technical which is cool. But yeah, I love racing here.Lachie Stevens-McNab
bigquotesThe dirt is perfect this weekend. I mean, it was a bit muddy, but I like it like that, it kind of evens out the field a bit more, and to race against these girls was so good.Rotorua local Shania Rawson

As this first weekend of the 10th edition of Crankworx Rotorua wraps up, athletes are already looking forward to the events coming up next week at Skyline Rotorua.
bigquotesHonestly, I just want to stay consistent stay consistent over everything, but I think Pump Track is pretty fun. The atmosphere and everything is pretty sick.Shania Rawson

The RockShox Taniwha Downhill was just the beginning to another eight days of action-packed schedule, moving to Skyline Rotorua for the Air DH, Whip-Off, Speed & Style, Specialized Dual Slalom, and the Crankworx Rotorua Pump Track Challenge. The program will conclude with the Maxxis Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza on March 24, the first ever Diamond Level Slopestyle to host both men’s and women’s categories.

Don't miss this monumental instant creating history in the world of Freeride Mountain Biking can grab tickets to Crankworx Rotorua, tune in on Red Bull TV and check out @Crankworx and @CrankworxRotorua for updates on Instagram.

Author Info:
edspratt avatar

Member since Mar 16, 2017
3,142 articles

  • 92 4
 Cracking race
  • 45 3
 Ye it had a sudden Pivot in proceedings that i did not see coming Wink
  • 3 4
 PIVOT SALES PLUMMING these bikes are crispy crackers !
  • 36 1
 I wonder if BKs frame was already failing all the way down the track as he was so off pace. Dang that was a crack to the dome as well as the bike
  • 12 1
 Ye he was down by 8 sec when it snapped, was probably riding wonky
  • 6 0
 Wasn’t getting the pop for many jumps either. He was casing a lot of the jumps before that
  • 5 0
 I’d hope he’s aware enough of a rider to have picked that up prior to sending that safety pick he slapped into. He landed rear hard and slammed that bike in. That was brutal to watch!
If that’s the same frame that did hardline, I’m not shocked considering the abuse it’s taken. Does anyone know if those are single or double lap lugs? The Athertons use double lap, I believe there are issues with the bond joint pulling the top layers of laminate off in single lap joints.
  • 12 3
 @BikesBoatsNJeeps: Single lap lugs and the downtube and top-tube parallel unlike the Athertons. So the glue is the only thing holding the headtube in and there is half of it. Quality Engineering.
  • 10 3
 @spicysparkes: lets remember this is not intended to be the production construction method...only a ridable rapid prototype. The production will almost certainly be full carbon. The error is allowing the prototype to be used for a full world cup season and 2 hardlines....I'm not sure that is wise with any frame.
  • 8 1
 @pwkblue: they've built close to 20 of these, (per recent YouTube videos). Surely he's not still riding #001... Your comment seems to imply so?
  • 1 0
 @nodata2000: based on watching his youtube videos: yes. The original proto had a decal change for the yellow Ferrari World Cup look, and was later changed back. Mentioned several times earlier this off season it was still the same frame....was even running the same tires up to hardline. 99.9% confident it was same frame through the recent Hardline. Has it changed in the weeks since? possibly
  • 2 0
 He cased an earlier small jump on the broadcast, I thought has he got a flat or something when I was watching it live, like you say maybe it had started to fail earlier.
  • 1 0
 @leotech: It totally looked like a flat. Then, maybe rear triangle. Hopefully, there will be a full breakdown somewhere and he isn't injured I have not seen any reports.
  • 1 0
 @nodata2000: first one was the Ferrari one, I've seen it in the background of the pits a couple times now as a spare. Believe he got a new one after worlds last year just before snowshoe as he changed the decals to white. Perhaps when he went back to fox orange that was a new frame but that was only recently so don't see how it's failed so quick
  • 11 16
flag gjedijoe (Mar 17, 2024 at 15:27) (Below Threshold)
 @BikesBoatsNJeeps: that’s no excuse for pivot though. Plenty of hardline riders are still going to be using the same bike. Nico vink and a lot of other riders at hardline did not have a custom hardline bike made and used their daily driver dh rigs. Also consider that Bernard is not a big dude. If someone like brage was on that bike I bet it wouldn’t have lasted as long. Frames should not fail like this, it’s clearly an engineering flaw
  • 5 4
 @gjedijoe: Someone grab @gjedijoe a pinky ring, as hes cleary earned it from all the arm charing.

Man, its a good thing youre around, just imagine all the help you are.....
  • 2 1
 @BikesBoatsNJeeps: As an aerospace engineer that designs really elaborate structures, using composite struts with 3D printed double lap shear lugs, for much lower load applications, what the hell is Pivot thinking? The bike industry really needs to hire competent engineers with big salaries, or shit like this is going to keep happening. This bike should have never left their building.
  • 2 3
 @Dtower92: Is it some sort of prerequisite for engineers to announce their credentials at every opportunity?
Shut about what you do, and what you do it with, you have less credibility when you go around spouting off this kind of non-sense.
Its a frame failure, of a bike that has possibly hundreds of "full send" laps on one of the fastest, gnarliest riders currently piloting a bike. At some point, its gonna let go.

You, or I, or any of the other pundits here have any idea of the circumstances around the bike, or anything else, but sure, announce to everyone what exactly Pivot should or shouldnt do...
Absolute muffin stump....
  • 1 3
 @onawalk: This is so true. Pinkbike brought up this exact point on their analysis. This bike has had a rough life. It was used at hardline. I'm surprised companies have their riders keep using a frame after hardline but it's still impressive that it made it through that course. I challenge you @Dtower92 to make a frame that could actually handle a week of that kind of abuse. Pivot did mention that there was an error in the bonding process which is totally understandable. This is the first lug failure I've seen. Atherton bikes are doing fine, specialized has been doing fine, and Pivot has been fine till this one race. There are so many frame failures of more "conventional methods" that we don't talk about.
  • 1 0
 @onawalk: The design is completely faulty and goes against basic engineering principles. It's not my fault that you don't understand that. And I don't care if you believe me or not...I don't really need the opinion of some rando who knows nothing about bicycle design. If they designed and bonded the joint properly, it would not have failed.

There's a reason why Atherton bikes and Specialized use double lap shear lugs, but I don't expect every day Jerry's like you to comprehend that.
  • 1 0
 @TyBronder: Ah yes, the ever so perfect Pinkbike analysis. Problem solved...just too many "full send" laps. I'm sure glad you're not responsible for designing anything that has the potential to kill a person. Atherton and Specialized use proper bonding processes with double lap shear joints. That's why their bikes work, and Pivot failed. But please go on and tell us more about this in depth Pinkbike analysis that you're hanging your hat on.
  • 1 1
 @Dtower92: Thanks, I'm glad you think it was such a good analysis. I was just saying that there were a lot of full send laps, I was just saying that the process happened to fail this time. Just like how any other bike can. I think any bike, whether it's a trek session, santa cruz v10, or whatever dh bike you're using, I think teams shouldn't run that frame again. The forces those things go through on a downhill course, much less a hardline track, is so extreme from what mere mortals such as you and me can put them through is not even close. "Full sends" does not describe what pro downhillers put their bikes through.
  • 1 2
 @Dtower92: But as it seems, it wasnt the design, and it certainly wasnt completely faulty. Turns out it was an assembly, or manufacturing fault, not design. Its almost like you have very little idea what youre talking about.
  • 1 2
 @Dtower92: but thats exactly what you did, you did a "pinkbike" analysis of the failure, brought up your an "engineer" and have leaned into the fact that Spesh and Atherton do it differently....
You have no data on how many cycles the Pivot bike went through, or Spesh or Atherton bikes. Youre being judgemental of someone, while doing exactly what you are ridiculing.
  • 1 1
 @onawalk: Exactly, and as I brought up, there's bound to be mistakes. Nothing is flawless, nobody is talking about the other frame that snapped this same day. And that was a "conventional" aluminum frame. Mistakes happen. Pivot knows what they are doing, they just happened to have one of their frames fail, just like any other bike brand has
  • 2 0
 @onawalk: A joint like that with a single lap shear is a definite design flaw. The other mistakes they made during manufacturing just made it worse. How many lugged strut structures have you designed and manufactured? If the answer is zero, just stop talking now.
  • 2 0
 @TyBronder: Aluminum frames fail all the time. No one is surprised by that. I'm simply stating that their decision to use a single lap shear in a bonded lugged joint is faulty for the loads that bike is going to see. You've all made my point multiple times by talking about how hard that bike has been ridden. Why would they use a single lap shear joint for that application? That's a bad design decision, only made worse by their mistakes during the bonding prep process. You can get away with that on beach cruisers, but not DH bikes. I don't expect you to understand because you're not an engineer, but it's just a fact. Why do you think Atherton and Specialized take the extra steps and expense to use double lap shear?
  • 1 0
 @Dtower92: I do disagree that aluminum frames fail all the time. They are incredibly strong and I've seen more carbon frames fail than aluminum. On the lugged struts, I genuinely appreciate the education. I looked up the double and single shear that you were talking about and it does make more sense to use a single sheer. I guess I have a lot to learn in the next five years of obtaining my engineering degree. I do wonder though if Pivot is using the single shear because of how much they are playing with the geometry and what not. The single shear may be easier for them to do quick lug swaps as well as being able to do them during the season ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • 1 0
 @TyBronder: Fair enough. I've broken 4 aluminum frames and only 1 composite frame in the past 25 years. I'm also 6'5" and 205lbs. I've been riding composite frames almost exclusively for the last 14 years. And it should be noted that the composite tube didn't fail on the Pivot. The bonded joint failed.

Pivot likely went with the single lap shear design because it's faster, easier, cheaper...all of the above. But it isn't the strongest or stiffest joint. You can change geometry with a double lap shear joint just as easy as you can with a single lap shear. The metal lug manufacturing and bonding methods are far more complicated with a double lap shear if you don't know what you're doing. 3d printed lugs make it a WHOLE lot easier because of the unique geometry you can bake into the design that doesn't have to be machined.

Good luck on the engineering degree. I've got a 23 year head start on you, and I'm still learning.
  • 21 0
 Damn, a Yeti 1, 2 for a while there. Congratulations to Lachie Stevens-Mcnab! What a run! Also, Rob and Elliot are great in the booth together.
  • 9 3
 The Session took two first places.
  • 13 0
 Hope BK is fine. Horrible crash, frame cracked ?
  • 11 0
 Almost looks like the lug debonded
  • 1 0
 @jorge754: Yeah I think you're right. If you stop it at the right point it looks like the lug and the tubing a intact.
  • 1 0
 @jorge754: Totally! Its got to be going on 30 years now since the first time we tried this and learned thats what they do. Just long enough to forget.
  • 13 1
 Bernards crash was massive, hope is is okay! Brutal
  • 13 2
 who's the little prick in the green sweater laughing?
  • 8 1
 @JustGiverBud: didn't see green sweater but the little prick laughing is Oli Clark
  • 24 0
 @mtbcrosscountry-com: @justGiverBud As I was standing right there with those kids, they were laughing at themselves being being shocked on the livestream, not at the crash.
  • 7 0
 @OKdeeboy: fair enough, I take it back
  • 3 0
 @OKdeeboy: thanks for clarifying. It looked pretty bad on the replay.
  • 6 0
 @OKdeeboy: thank you for clarifying, broadcast did them really dirty. I also take my comment back.
  • 12 1
 Neko to Frank the Welder tomorrow: “Hey, remember when I said I didn’t need you for awhile cause I was moving to bonded frames?…”
  • 3 0
 Bonded aluminum and bonded carbon act quite differently at the bond joint
  • 1 4
 Wow, Frank the welder, stereotype much!? Bagelman the doughboy, fat boy, charles
  • 1 0
 @skiboot1: That's what he goes by, google FTW bikes
  • 7 0
 Some surprising time found by the last 5 riders. Waite's run was wild and I think he would have been a contender for 1st or 2nd without the mistakes. Amazing run from Jakob and Lachlan was on another planet.
  • 8 0
 insane last few runs. healing vibes to BK. interested to see what happened to the pivot proto
  • 6 0
 Nice one Jakob. well, if i could pick anyone to handle a big slam Bernard would be close to the top.
  • 7 1
 What happened to Eric’s?
  • 5 0
 Yeah, I was wondering why Erice and Poppy were DNS. I thought Erice had a good qualifying time.
  • 1 0
 Looks like the glue let go, to me.
  • 1 0
 @handynzl: zoom in on a still and that's exactly what it looks like. The tubes just slid out.
  • 5 1
 I wondered where Janaynay was so checked her Instagram, broken leg, hopefully BK isn't broken as well.
  • 5 0
 BK's crash was vile, hope he's ok.
  • 2 0
 posted that he is fine somehow
  • 4 0
 Hope BK is OK. Terrible slam. My heart stopped when it happened last night on the stream.
  • 1 0
 Anyone else wince when they see these massively slack steering angles? Just looks like the bike is going to snap.

Have to say my eye was drawn to that area of the frame without really knowing why. I’d did seem strange to construct and carbon rail with a bend, instead of machine the lug at an angle to allow a straight carbon rail, which as says above would force a more friction fit

Easy being wise after the event but landing short with the rear and the front n the back side of the wheel just forcing the frame apart ( wince )

Hope BK is ok sitting up as he was at the end. Ultimately it’s all development and BK knows that more than most I’d bet.

Shame the new pivot won’t look like the protuberance with those beautiful cnc lugs and cf frame rails. But a dremel and an Atherton with carbon frame wrap would be way cheaper
  • 5 0
 Well done RR!
  • 5 0
 Hope BK is OK!
  • 2 0
 0.43 in, looks like the prototype lugs joins failed, glad he's ok
  • 4 3
 Monster stack for BK. I hope he’s not too shaken up.
  • 4 0
 He posted on Instagram Stories a couple of hours ago that he is OK and looking forward to the rest of Crankworx.
  • 2 0
 Good racing!
  • 4 2
  • 6 0
 Unfortunately, Erice, had a massive stack in practice on the Saturday just before seeding. She tried to do some runs on Sunday, but pulled the pin, as she was way too sore. Which could lead to more injuries, if she pushed harder. She has a World Cup season to complete, pointless risking that on a local CWX race.
  • 1 0
 BK's frame showing fatigue from hardline?
  • 1 0
 Pivot should have had a full production frame under BK by this point.
  • 2 1
 Mick Hannah....
  • 1 1
 He jumped into it head first.
  • 1 1
 Wrong article.
  • 1 1
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