Pinkbike Primer - Everything You Need to Know Ahead of Crankworx Rotorua 2020

Feb 21, 2020 at 9:10
by James Smurthwaite  

Let's Go Round Again

The 2020 mountain bike race season starts now. Crankworx Rotorua sparks an annual pilgrimage to the southern hemisphere each year with riders eager to shake off the winter cobwebs and test themselves against the clock (or judges) once more. With Crankworx's usual range of events across all disciplines, you can expect to see World Cup regulars rubbing shoulders with slopestyle superstars and the Crankworx all-rounders that pack out their schedule with a plethora of events throughout the week.

The King and Queen competitions and Triple Crown are reset for the year so it's wide open once again. You can also expect some new tech to break cover for the first time - last year we saw the new Specialized Demo, the new Scott Gambler, the Pike Ultimate and more. Our tech eds will be on the ground bringing you all the shiny new kit as it makes an appearance.

Excited yet? Here's everything you need to know about the first big event of the year.

The Location

Rotorua mountain biking trails

The start hut had quite the view considering how thick the jungle can be bellow.

On New Zealand's North Island, the Rotorua plateau is a boiling, bubbling hive of volcanic activity. Events happen at both the Skyline Bike Park and deep in the lush Whakarewarewa Forest.

The Schedule

Nine events pack out the eight-day schedule in Rotorua with everything from the Whip Off to downhill racing to slopestyle. A new event joins the schedule this year in the Best Trick presented by Transdiesel. This event had its returned to the schedule in Whistler last year and was won by Nicholi Rogatkin with a cashroll whip.

Giant Toa Enduro Presented by Camelback
Isabeau Courdurier lead all but one stage taking a commanding victory here in Rotorua.

Although not on the EWS calendar this year, the Giant Toa enduro is a fearsome test for riders and will no doubt attract a quality field of the world's best pros hoping to get some early season practice under their belts. It will be a six-stage, one-day event over a 30km course and will take in the famously tricky Whakarewarewa Forest. Previous years have seen torrid, muddy conditions dictate the day but last year favorable weather provided a more even playing field.

NZDT - Sunday March 1st - 8am
PST - Saturday February 29th 11:00 am
CEST - Saturday, February 29th 8:00 pm

2019 Results:


1st. Isabeau Courdurier 32:08.94
2nd. Morgane Charre +11.05
3rd. Bex Baraona +11.21


1st. Keegan Wright 27:34.83
2nd. Florian Nicolai +41.41
3rd. Jesse Melamed +51.65

Rotorua AirDH presented by Bosch
Cody Kelly showing Rotorua how to land in a manual and keep it going.

There's a break of three days until the next event and that's the AirDH on Wednesday. Set on Skyline's Mr. Black trail, the track features 32 jumps that riders will have to scrub as low as possible for their chance at the win.

NZDT - Wednesday March 4th - 5pm
PST - Tuesday March 3rd - 8pm
CEST - Wednesday March 4th - 5am

2019 Results:
Men - Final Results

1st. Mitch Ropelato
2nd. Mick Hannah
3rd. Bas Van Steenbergen
Women - Final Results

1st. Vaea Verbeeck
2nd. Anneke Beerten
3rd. Shania Rawson

Official Oceania Whip-Off Championships presented by SPANK

A celebration of sideways descends on Rotorua later that evening as riders one-up each other to produce the sickest whip in the southern hemisphere. It's always a great show in Rotorua with riders throwing down under floodlights.

NZDT - Wednesday, March 4th - 8pm
PST - Tuesday, March 3rd - 11pm
CEST - Wednesday, March 4th - 7am

2019 Results:
Men - Final Results

1st. Peter Kaiser
2nd. Ryan Howard
3rd. Billy Meaclem

Women - Final Results

1st. Vinny Armstrong
2nd. Casey Brown
3rd. Ronja Hill-Wright

100% Dual Slalom Rotorua
Rachel Strait stuck around into the top 10.

Whether your background is in downhill racing, pump track each rider has a unique set of advantages they can bring to a head-to-head battle. Look out for this amazing event on Thursday

Live Broadcast Event

NZDT - Thursday March 5th - 5:30pm
PST - Wednesday, March 4th - 8:30pm
CEST - Thursday, March 5th - 5:30 am

2019 Results:
1st. Keegan Wright
2nd. Bas Van Steenbergen

3rd. Kyle Strait
4th. Barry Nobles
1st. Vaea Verbeeck
2nd. Anneke Beerten

3rd. Tahnee Seagrave
4th. Kate Weatherly

CLIF Speed & Style Rotorua presented by Mons Royale
The first heats were relatively closer match ups than the other rounds. As the evening wore one fewer riders made it to the bottom unscathed.

Mixing the best of dual slalom racing with slopestyle tricks, Dual Speed and Style always delivers frantic racing and unbelievable skills. After getting their first shot in Whistler, the women will be competing alongside the men in Rotorua this year.

Live Broadcast Event

NZDT - Friday, March 6th - 5:30pm
PST - Thursday March 5th - 8:30 pm
CEST - Friday March 6th - 5:30 am

2019 Results

1st. Billy Meaclem
2nd. Martin Soderstrom
3rd. Greg Watts
4th. Thomas Lemoine

Best Trick presented by Transdiesel
Casual corked 720 on his victory lap Brett Rheeder isn t your average competitor.

A new event for this year is the Best Trick with riders competing in a jam format to pull the wildest trick.

NZDT - Friday March 6th - 7:30pm
PST - Thursday, March 5th - 10:30pm
CEST - Friday March 6th - 6:30am

Maxxis Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza
Tomas Lemoine put down a tough to beat first run that had him sitting in second and staying there.

One of the main events of the weekend, the huge Rotorua course gives riders ample air time to string together complex combos and big tricks. With last year's winner Brett Rheeder not competing, this leaves the door wide open for someone to take a big step towards the triple crown.

Live Broadcast Event

NZDT - Saturday March 7th - 2pm
PST - Friday March 6th - 5pm
CEST - Saturday March 7th - 2am

2019 Results:
1st. Brett Rheeder 93.75
2nd. Thomas Lemoine 87.00
3rd. Alex Alanko 80.75
4th. Torquato Testa 78.00
5th. Lukas Knopf 77.25

Rockshox Rotorua Pump Track Challenge presented by Torpedo7
Tahnee Seagrave making her way up through the heats. Another bronze medal was waiting for her at the end.

A sunset battle for chainless supremacy will take place at the base of the Skyline Park on Saturday night.

Live Broadcast Event

NZDT - Saturday March 7th - 8pm
PST - Friday, March 6th - 11pm
CEST - Saturday, March 7th - 8am

2019 Results:
Men - Final Results

1st. Thomas Lemoine
2nd. Keegan Wright

3rd. Adrien Loron
4th. Billy Meaclem
Women - Final Results

1st. Kialani Hines
2nd. Shaina Rawson

3rd. Tahnee Seagrave
4th. Vaea Verbeeck

Crankworx Rotorua Downhill presented by Gull
Laurie Greenland rounded up the top 5 in the men s field.

Rotorua usually attracts the strongest downhill field of the Crankworx calendar as it takes place before the World Cup season kicks off. The Mount Ngongotaha track brings together a mix of off-camber hard-packed Rotorua dirt with step-ups, bridge-drops and a rock garden, this track is a racer-favourite.

Live Broadcast Event

NZDT - Sunday March 8th - 3:30 pm
PDT - Saturday, March 7th - 6:30pm
CEST - Sunday, March 8th - 2:30am

King and Queen of Crankworx

Vaea Verbeeck rode well and took home the bronze.

The battle for $20,000 CAD kicks off again in Rotorua with the slate set to zero. It's anyone's game with downhill racers, 4x legends and pump track specialists all having won it in the past.

King of Crankworx 2019

1st // Mitch Ropelato // USA // 624
2nd // Adrien loron // FRA // 543
3rd // Thomas Lemoine // FRA // 509

Queen of Crankworx 2019

1st // Vaea Verbeeck // CAN // 676
2nd // Kialani Hines // FRA // 546
3rd // Anneke Beerten // NED // 511


  • 15 0
 Hope that Paul Couderc gets a special invite for the best trick competition.
  • 1 0
 fingers crossed
  • 2 0
 Mad props to Paul, but not sure that trick is ready for prime time....or if it ever will be considering its difficulty level.
  • 4 0
 Really looking forward to the new season and diving into stats for the fantasy leagues!
  • 3 0
 Love waking up at 04:30am when I've got stuff to do that day, just to watch Speed and Style.
  • 2 0
 Are the Rotorua DH and the Speed and Style not on a live stream this year? Crankworx website says otherwise...
  • 4 0
 Yep, good catch, we've corrected it now
  • 1 0
 @jamessmurthwaite: will it be on PB or where?
  • 2 0
 It’s spelt Billy Macleam, Shania Rawson, and also Kialani Hines ain’t from France.
  • 2 0
 Might just want to check your call on the spelling of Billy's name there, Swiney.
  • 1 0
 @timthereverend: Yep, guess it was spelt wrong where I’d seen it elsewhere and it’s correct here!
  • 1 0
 There Website is still the Same so I dont know
  • 1 0
 So stoked for this and the Arnold Ohio
  • 1 0
 Wish that they would stream whip offs live
  • 1 0
 Crankworx Fantasy?
  • 5 4
 We're not doing it for Crankworx this year. It turned out to be unfair to people in certain time zones who couldn't adjust their team between events. It will be back for downhill, enduro and xc though, more news on that coming soon
  • 7 0
 @jamessmurthwaite: for Real. Yes it was unfair to people like me who endet up needing to set the alarm at 3:00am cet. But it was allways realy funny and it made me also watch the smaller side events like Pumptrack and Speed and Style which I wouldn't have watched otherwise.
  • 4 0
 @jamessmurthwaite: awww maaaan. That's highlights for me only then.
  • 4 0
 @jamessmurthwaite: Prior to Pinkbike handling Crankworx fantasy, they did it it going back to them now? Or just not crankworx fantasy period? Nothing better than watching these events and winning awesome gear!
  • 4 0
 @jamessmurthwaite: All the Crankworx events are on different continents around the world so it's probably all even in the end.
  • 6 0
 @jamessmurthwaite: gutted that there’s no crankworx fantasy this year. If it wasn’t for the fantasy league I wouldn’t of known about half of the events at crankworx. It also opened my eyes to a whole bunch of riders that I’d never heard of before. It was sometimes easier to watch the events in the middle of the night than when at work, but I always found time to switch teams. Hope you change your minds.
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