Done and dusted, quite literally. The last event from an emotional Crankworx Rotorua was the Downhill presented by IXS. The track here in New Zealand hosted the 2006 World Championships and is absolutely no joke. Fast and rough, it features sizeable jumps and rowdy steeps all the way down to separate the ams from the pros. The sunny and dry conditions helped to create the dusty, loose track that made for a slippery afternoon at the races.

The views were almost as spectacular as the racing today as some of the world's best dropped in and raced their way down through the Jurassic ferns.

Crankworx Rotorua DH images.

Crankworx Rotorua DH images.
This is a real deal downhill track. It hosted world's in 2006 and it WILL reach out and grab you if you let down your guard. It took out more than one seasoned veteran this week including Mick Hannah and the Bulldog.

Crankworx Rotorua DH images.
Anneke Beerten hasn't raced downhill in a long time. The flying Dutchwoman didn't bring her downhill bike, but it's a mountain bike race so you just "run what you brung." Nothing like an enduro bike on one of the harder downhill tracks of the year. Credit where credit is due, she sent almost everything on track clipped in and ready for an XC spin.

Crankworx Rotorua DH images.

Casey Brown is the toughest chick on the downhill circuit bar none. She cased the pond jump in practice and took her downhill bike out of commission. She decided to sack up and race the downhill on her little bike to a 3rd place finish.
Casey Brown is the toughest woman on the downhill circuit; bar none. She cased the pond jump in practice and took her downhill bike out of commission with no time to get it back in shape for the race. She decided to sack up and race the downhill on her little bike to a 3rd place finish.

Crankworx Rotorua DH images.

Tracey Hannah rode strong this week and ended up taking home 2500 for her efforts.
Tracey Hannah rode strong this week and ended up taking home $2500 for her efforts.

Tracey and Casey
Tracey and Casey

Jill Kintner had some demons to slay here in New Zealand. The American won the pump track earlier this week and now has redemption with a win int he downhill. Last year Kintner broke her leg in the steep larches section and missed part of the beginning of the season. This year she goes home with some hardware and is leading the points race for the Queen of Crankworx title heading into Les Gets later this summer.
Jill Kintner had some demons to slay here in New Zealand. The American won the pump track earlier this week and now has redemption with a win in the downhill. Last year, Kintner broke her leg in the steep larches section and missed the beginning of the season. This year, she goes home with some hardware of another variety and is leading the points race for the Queen of Crankworx title heading into Les Gets later this summer.

Jill Kintner pinned and gunning for multiple wins this week.

Crankworx Rotorua DH images.
Jill Kintner

Marcelo Gutierrez sending the triple into the finish.
Marcelo Guttierez is using this race as a prep event for world cup season. A 6th place isn't a bad way to get your season underway.

Someone forget to let R-dog know that this was t a slope style event. Forget the racer tuck Howard yanks and heads into orbit.
Someone forget to let R-Dog know that this wasn't a slope style event. Forget the racer tuck, Howard yanks and heads into orbit.

Andrew Neethling around the first corner and into the meat of the track.
Andrew Neethling around the first corner and into the meat of the track.

Elliot Jackson won the DH event here last year. This year he took home seventh place but had more style than the rest of the pro category combined. Staying low over the grassy knoll is a Jackson speciality.
Elliot Jackson looking Fly. He came second at the DH event here last year. This year he took home seventh place, but had more style than the rest of the pro category combined. Staying low over the grassy knoll is a Jackson speciality.

Fabien Barel was here to test the new Canyon DH prototype but he took to the track today when it counted. The two time world champion sat down mid run and decided to coast once he was through the rough stuff and wound up in 48th place.
Fabien Barel was here to test the new Canyon DH prototype, but he also took to the track today when it counted and the clock was running. The two time world champion sat down mid run and decided to coast once he was through the rough stuff and wound up in 48th place.

Crankworx Rotorua DH images.
Rotorua local Connor Hamilton keeps his feet dry and goes wheels up across the pond. Hopefully we get to see him land in Europe sometime this summer to get some world cup experience.

Crankworx Rotorua DH images.
Mick Hannah had a rough week here in Rotorua. A few massive crashes on the downhill bike, including one in his race run, ended his chance for a podium finish here in New Zealand. His first crash of the week in practice was heinous after he clipped part of the triple in to the finish area and went head first all the way to the bottom of the drop in. Luckily, the Australian tough guy walked away unscathed. His luck must be tuning around after being injured on and off the past few years from simple little accidents

Crankworx Rotorua DH images.

Mick Hannah had a rough week here in Rotorua. A few massive crashes on the downhill bike including one in his race run ended his chance for a podium finish here in New Zealand. His first crash of the week in practice was heinous after he clipped part of the triple in to the finish area and went head first all the way to the bottom of the drop in. Luckily the Australian tough guy walked away unscathed. His luck must be tuning around after being injured on and off the past few years from simple little accidents.

Matt Walker whips past Hecklers Log.
Matt Walker came off of the Enduro win with his confidence peaking and raced his way into 5th place. Along with a nice big novelty pay check, Walker scored some important king of Crankworx points securing him first place heading to Les Gets.

 It s great being on the new team. They didn t expect much coming into here but I think they re pretty happy with how this week went Matt Walker joked after the downhill. 5th in the downhill and 1st in the enduro is a great start to the Kiwi s season.
"It's great being on the new team. They didn't expect much coming into here, but I think they're pretty happy with how this week went!" Matt Walker joked after the downhill. 5th in the downhill and 1st in the enduro is a great start to the Kiwi's season.

Crankworx Rotorua DH images.
Matt Walker

Brendan Fairclough broke his chain right out of the gate today. I m gutted it was such a good week and the track is sick. Brendog pumped and jumped his way down the mountain with a chain wrapped around his cassette and multiple broken spokes.
Brendan Fairclough broke his chain right out of the gate today. "I'm gutted, it was such a good week and the track is sick." Brendog pumped and jumped his way down the mountain with a chain wrapped around his cassette and multiple broken spokes.

Pretty sure a chain isn t supposed to do that in your race run.

Dog was all smiles despite his bad luck.
Brendog was all smiles despite his bad luck.

Coming into the day local Kiwi Sam Blenkinsop was among the favourites for the win. Getting loose is what Blenki does and he was hanging it out all over the place. With his Grandmother and Mom in attendance he was out to show what he s got. Here he drops into the top of the track with lake Rotorua in the distance.
Coming into the day, local Kiwi Sam Blenkinsop was among the favourites for the win. Getting loose is what Blenki does, and he was hanging it out all over the place. With his Grandmother and Mom in attendance, he was out to show what he's got. Here he drops into the top of the track, with lake Rotorua in the distance.

Blenki does what he does best charging the upper off camber and kicking up a cloud of roost behind him.
Blenki does what he does best, charging the upper off camber and kicking up a cloud of roost behind him.

Crankworx Rotorua DH images.
He blasted through "The Larches" section like the veteran that he is. No tricky lines, just a death grip and a light touch on the pedals.

Crankworx Rotorua DH images.
Sam Blenkinsop

Wyn Masters attempting some scooter uphill runs.
When Wyn Masters can't race he becomes a super fan. He got a little zesty with the scooter and had to get some assistance to make his way UP the downhill track on the old Scoopy.

Crankworx Rotorua DH images.
All round nice guy Brook MacDonald spent the week signing autographs and handing out medals at kidworx when he should have been downhill training. The Bulldog dropped in with fire in his eyes and slid his way into third place on his brand new GT after crashing his brains out in practice.

Bulldog took a smasher crash in practice but came out alright.
Bulldog took a smasher crash in practice but came out alright.

Brook MacDonald keeping it loose on his way into the finish area.
It isn't the first time Brook has taken a digger and he came back strong out of the gate.

Crankworx Rotorua DH images.
Brook Macdonald

George Brannigan decided it would be a great idea to hit the boner log not he slope track last night. unfortunately he went to flat and bent his bars and damaged some other stuff. He had a new bike up and running in time to get one practice run today at the very end of the session. 2nd place isn t anything to sneeze at especially on minimal practice. Expect big things form George this season.
George Brannigan decided it would be a great idea to hit the boner log on the slope track last night. Unfortunately, he went to flat and bent his bars and damaged some other things. He had a new bike up and running in time to get one practice run today at the very end of the session. Second place isn't anything to sneeze at, especially on minimal practice. Expect big things from George this season.

George Brannigan.
George Brannigan.

Crankworx Rotorua DH images.
What else can you say about Loic Bruni? The reigning downhill world champion and all round nice guy is on a brand new bike and didn't miss a beat, picking up right where he left off last season taking home gold.

Crankworx Rotorua DH images.

Lois Bruni and his mechanic Jack. Thumbs up all around.
Loic Bruni and his mechanic Jack. Thumbs up all around.

Crankworx Rotorua DH images.

Crankworx Rotorua DH images.
Pro Downhill Podium.

Your current King and Queen of crankworx Points leaders. Kill Kintner USA and Matt Walker NZL .
Your current King and Queen of Crankworx points leaders. Jill Kintner (USA) and Matt Walker (NZL).


Must Read This Week

57 Comments

  • + 141
 Thought I was still drunk when those photos started zooming in
  • + 15
 What happened to neck braces? A few years ago nearly everyone was wearing them, now, I didn't see a single rider with one in these pics. Did they break more collar bones than save necks? Were they hype?
  • + 2
 Aero is everything
  • + 2
 Good question Rasterman. I'd love to hear the industry answer that one. One of the key guys responsible at Leatt for the braces who came from BMW doesn't even work there anymore.
  • + 53
 Anyone saw that Granieri's NotBad face? I know he's late, but that deserves a win.
  • + 7
 8th from the bottom
  • + 1
 Great spot! And the guy next to him cowering!
  • + 49
 Lol brannigan hitting the boner log bending his bars
  • + 4
 He bent alot more than his handlebars.
  • + 1
 You should have seen his frame, biggest crack in history
  • + 2
 Crack kills!
  • + 33
 I'm so stoked for Matt walker.talk about a dude who scratched and clawed his way to the top, he spent years traveling the circuit doing the privater thing, witch Ilakes a level of commitment that I imagine even some of the top racers don't possess. ( traveling around the world on a shoe string budget competing against factory supported riders could probably get pretty disheartening ) so huge respect to him for putting the work in and finally getting a factory ride.
  • + 14
 Can't agree more! #vanzacs
  • + 1
 Yeah and Greg Callaghan did the exact same thing and won an EWS race in his first few months as a sponsored athlete!!
  • + 21
 Why did Barel coast half way down? Didn't want to get attention on the Canyon prototype?
  • - 2
 You forget he is retired-ish. And retired guys aren't allowed on the podium. Unless you are T-Mo; then you own it. Retired or not
  • - 2
 Half the podium at an ews is retired -ish people
  • + 1
 Probably broke some thing on the proto bike and didn't want to draw attention
  • + 6
 He had a big over the bar crash it the top section of the track and lost heaps of time recovering.
  • - 1
 I prefer my version even if it's not true !
  • + 14
 Anneke looked like she hadn't ridden downhill for a while - she really struggled. Be good to see her race a few more to see what she can do. Casey brown is a boss, no idea why she wouldn't race dh wc this year
  • + 3
 Im hazarding a guess that they are both focusing on enduro this season, possibly due to that being what their sponsors will fund.
  • + 1
 She did ok in the race and had a good pace despite running an enduro bike. If you see her POV she over jumped a step up in the middle section and got tangled on the safety mesh. Casey was freaking awesome!
  • + 12
 "Hannah's luck must be tuning around after being injured on and off the past few years from simple little accidents" So now his luck is big scary crashes? The most hard working bad luck guy out there - hands down (on the ground!) Dust it off Mick - we believe in you!!!!
  • + 1
 Seems to me like your luck has turned when you stop crashing and start winning...?
  • + 1
 In Mick's case he thinks his luck has turned because he is now walking away from things instead of getting hurt. I'd have to agree with him. Top riders crash, a lot. Practice is usually carnage and its rare that anyone gets out of a big race (world cup etc) without at least one crash. Thats how you find your limit on a track. IF you can walk away from hem, you're set.
  • + 15
 Looks like she ain't called CASEy for nothing nothing.
  • + 13
 3rd place on an enduro bike, interesting
  • - 9
flag karoliusz Plus (Mar 13, 2016 at 11:43) (Below Threshold)
 Enduro is the new DH
  • + 9
 Amazing that Loic didn't miss a step switching teams. WC season is gonna kick ass this year!
  • + 5
 Awesome race!

1. I don't have enough food in the fridge for Mick's calf. (he is a beast)
2. For a second I have mistaken Bruni twice for Gwin (once in the raw video and once in the photos). But he looks so prepared for this WC season, it would be very interesting battle for the top spots.
  • + 3
 Indeed. Seems ironic Bruni and Gwin's race-kit colours (flags) are the sameā€¦.
  • + 8
 Jill you are a living american legend in my book. Congratulations!!
  • + 1
 Always stoked to see an event Jill's in. Local girl does good... yet again. Proud to know you're out there kicking butt. Honing those skills in the PNW!
  • + 6
 we need more shots from the lake gap man those pics are the best !!!
  • + 6
 i wanna see a vid of brannigan hitting the boner log on his dh bike
  • + 5
 Loic is going to be a threat this year on the world cup circuit!
  • - 3
 What makes you say that genius?

Apart from him nearly winning the WC last year and being World Champion he's a total wildcard...
  • + 11
 What got your panties in such a bunch
  • + 6
 Where was Gwin?
  • + 2
 Are many of these guys getting the full travel of their forks ?

Or do they just have the O ring pushed to or near the top .
  • + 3
 It is rough and steep as f**k
  • + 3
 Loic silver handlebars - the superstition is strong with this one Smile
  • + 1
 What's the superstition?
  • + 3
 And that's Hannah not Neethling.
  • + 1
 What a week! Impressive results from Matt Walker, Loic Bruni, Brannigan Blenki. Bring on the 2016 WC season! #proudsponsor
  • + 2
 Now we know why Sean Lee won the photo contest. KILLER photos Sean!!!!
  • + 1
 Damn Jill Kittner showing off those gums.
  • + 1
 So season is officially opened now!!!! Yehaw!
  • + 1
 ...bulldog clipped in ?!?
  • + 2
 Bulldog has been clipped in for ages now
  • + 1
 Was Casey Brown riding a Remedy or Slash?
  • + 4
 Slash
  • + 0
 I would be very surprised if she was on a Slash considering her enduro bike is a Remedy. Most of the team seems to be riding Remedys with longer forks.
  • + 4
 Its said in her instagram....
  • + 2
 I stand corrected, good call! I'm personally more stoked on the Slash then the Remedy so I'm all for it!

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