Photo Epic: Air DH - Crankworx Rotorua 2020

Mar 4, 2020 at 6:47
by Trevor Lyden  

While we were treated to an unusually dry Toa Enduro last weekend, the same could not be said for the Air DH that kicked off a packed program of racing at Crankworx Rotorua. After more than 50 days without rain here in Rotorua, some seriously heavy showers saw racers sheltering in their pits until the last possible moments but when they did leave them, they were treated to the 32 jumps of Mr Black, Skyline's answer to A-Line.

Jill Kintner made a winning return to Crankworx competition after a year's sabbatical as she cantered to victory in the women's race by a comfortable margin. Anneke Beerten trailed by more than 4 seconds in second and last year's Queen of Crankwrox, Vaea Verbeeck, collected a healthy points total in third. In the men's race, Sam Blenkinsop emerged fastest of the bunch as he surpassed 4X legend Tomas Slavik and fellow Kiwi Matt Walker to top the podium.

Rain dampened the party in the woods for the Air DH. The hardpack held up well though save for a few scattered puddles.

Jumps for show, turns for dough. The jumps may be the star of this race but plenty of time can be made in the end-of-season, braking-bumped turns.

There's no mistaking where we're racing.

There was plenty of style down the ranks. Paul Foley and Keiton MacDonald flow through the tables

Will they be in every photo epic we post from Rotorua? Let's hope so.

Harriet Burbage Smith was the first of the pro-women to drop and set a bar that saw her round out the top ten.

Ashley Bond on the power as soon as her wheels touch the ground.

Anneke Beerten made a strong start to her Crankworx campaign with a silver medal. Expect to see her pack out her schedule with pretty much every event possible this week.

Back to claim her crown, it's like Jill has never been away as she fired herself to the top step once again.

Kyle Strait put daylight between himself and some of the EWS and World Cup cream of the crop bringing back memories of his own World Cup racing days a decade ago.

Tomas Slavik's 4X muscle memory must surely have come into play as he flew to second place, just three-quarters of a second off the win.

R-Dog finished back in 42nd but he looked damn good doing so.

George Brannigan in his first big race in Propain colors on his way to bringing home a top ten.

Blenkinsop keeps it super low as he approaches the finish line.


  • 38 2
 Tandem couple are my new heroes!
  • 9 3
 I wish trevor had a photo of Jackson and Rose hitting some of those 32 jumps. 2:49 puts them solid mid-pack and faster than a few of the pros
  • 9 3
 How to make sure you win everytime because you are a category on your own
  • 3 1
 And it’s still legit @RedBurn:
  • 1 0
 Is the dude always at the front?
  • 2 2
 @RedBurn: i should compete at AIR DH whistler on my Scooter, and booom top spot!!!! ahahahahahaha
  • 4 0
 @laksboy: Yeah, pretty pleased with that. Our time would have put us in the top half of the 40+ feild, where Jackson would otherwise race, and just below top half of pro women, where Rose would race.
  • 4 0
 @enduroNZ: It usually works out that way. It's much easier with the taller, heavier person at the front, which is most often a bloke. We switch around for very easy riding, but Jackson is just too heavy for Rose to hold up while riding tricky stuff.
  • 1 0
 @audric: That is true but you would need a bit more travel on that thing to make it through the course
  • 4 0
 @laksboy: you can check out for a blog post of them hitting jumps and drops!
  • 7 0
 Norco on top!
  • 4 0
 whats that white plate under the jump? an ad for.. snow? fog? contemplation?
  • 2 0
 My will to live?
  • 2 0
 was thinking about that too Big Grin maybe it's blank on purpose so every rider can put their own sponzor logo to promote? Big Grin
  • 3 0
 Walker keepin it consistent too !!! Congrats Blinky !! Those ETs must of helped Wink
  • 3 0
 I love the tandem, I've seen them around the local trails and they absolutely shred, often a lot faster than everyone else.
  • 2 0
 Fantastic shots as usual Trevor!
  • 1 0
 a little too far north for a river runs through it, but ok i like the title
  • 4 2
  • 2 0
 Just look at all those kneepads!
  • 1 0
 weird how I know riders solely by their gear!
  • 13 0
 me too, Ratboy typically rides in 5th gear, Sam Hill 7th. Peaty in 3rd.
  • 10 9
 When do we get grim donut?
  • 9 7
 Grim Donut or we riot .
  • 1 0
 That dirt out there looks magical.
  • 1 0
 Vaea Verbeeck appears to be copping a feel of Matt Walker...
  • 1 0
 Great pics by Trevor Linden, I mean Trevor Lyden...
  • 1 0
 What a gnarly gravel bike track Smile
  • 1 1
 Would be awesome to see Bulldog on the bike somewhere there!
  • 2 0
 He's up there , just not competing
  • 1 0
 Long live the queen!
  • 1 0
 The Tandem Destroyers!
  • 2 3
 Jill is the sleeper choice for Fantasy EWS team. You heard it here.
  • 4 0
 Sleeper? She's $275k. She's right there with the Gehrig sisters and Miller. She's no sleeper.

If she was $100-150k maybe.

Beyond the fact that she's been winning at pretty much everything for 20 years....
  • 2 0

Sleeper was probably the wrong term. I think she's under the radar a bit cuz she's fairly new to the EWS scene and might be overlooked. I think she is going to outperform. Why do i even care? I don't know.
  • 3 0
 @endlessblockades @onemanarmy : She’s actually not racing ews this year so I think maybe she might literally be sleeping whilst some of the races happen haha. She posted about it already Smile
  • 1 0
 @micaylagatto: LOLZ!!!! The ultimate sleeper.
  • 1 0
 @micaylagatto: WTF?! I need to rethink my entire fantasy team now? Oh bother. Thanks for the head's up
  • 6 7
 Drim Gonut please

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