Rotorua was also the setting for the March 24 kick-off of the Enduro World Series (EWS) season. Maxxis’ sponsored riders earned a total of six podiums.
Rheeder, the defending Crankworx FMBA Slopestyle World Champion, scored 93.75 on his first run to take the Maxxis Slopestyle victory. He described his performance to the New Zealand Herald: "I started off doing a switch-7 on the step-down, followed by a regular cork-720 on the shark fin. I went into a 360 double tail whip on the step-up, and a opposite double tail whip on the right hand hip, into a double-truck on the boner log. A switch-truck up onto the flat drop. I flip-whipped the flat-drop, into a front-flip one foot can, and into a cork-720 bars pin on the last jump." Now a major sponsor of the entire Crankworx series, Maxxis sponsors the Rotorua slopestyle contest in honor of legendary New Zealand mountain biker Kelly McGarry, who passed away in 2016. Rheeder goes into the second of the Crankworx season’s three events, Crankworx Innsbruck, in the lead for another championship.
In a decisive victory, Rocky Mountain/Deity’s Verbeeck won both final heats in women’s dual slalom.
Verbeeck also took the Rotorua women’s Air DH victory, riding the trail’s many berms and 32 jumps in 2:25.1. Shania Rawson of Mons Royale/Devinci took third place. Bas Van-Steenbergen, riding for Hyper Bikes/Ride Fox/Maxxis, took third place in men’s Air DH.
Unior-Devinci’s Wright, a New Zealand native, took the top spot on the men’s dual slalom podium and was joined by Bas Van-Steenbergen, riding for Hyper Bikes/Ride Fox/Maxxis, who earned third place.
In pump track, Pivot/TLD/Maxxis’ Hines won both rounds of the women’s event, triumphing in a race in which she’s missed out on first place before. "It's really exciting. It really hasn't been that long because it was just last year really, but being in second so many times, it feels so good to finally win it...I told myself that, regardless, I'll be happy as long as I'm riding how I know I can ride. But I did want it this time," Hines told the New Zealand Herald. Rawson took another podium with a second-place finish.
Maxxis’ riders took two podium spots in men’s pump track, with Wright taking second place and Adrien Loron of Velosolutions/iXS/100% earning third place.
Devinci/Leatt/ADU Industries/Maxxis’ Kate Weatherly took second place in women’s downhill.
Wright took a turn on a different podium when he grabbed second place in men’s EWS, one of four Maxxis riders in the men’s top five. Canyon Factory Enduro Team’s Florian Nicolai was third, Jesse Melamed of Rock Mountain/Race Face Enduro Team was fourth, and BBCL NZ Arapi Enduro Team’s Cole Lucas rounded out the top five for Maxxis.
Ibis Cycles Enduro Race Team’s Bex Baraona took third place in women’s EWS with a finish that was a mere .16 seconds behind the second place rider. The podium was her first for the series. Becky Cook of Orbea Enduro Team rode Maxxis to fifth place on the women’s podium.
Maxxis is proud to be associated with some of mountain biking’s finest riders and congratulates all of these athletes on their extraordinary performances. Crankworx Innsbruck is scheduled for June 12-16 in Austria. Round 2 of the Enduro World Series is scheduled for March 31 in Derby, Tasmania, Australia.