The final stop of the 2022 Crankworx World Tour finally arrived. With the King of Crankworx, Queen of Crankworx, and Triple Crown titles all hanging in the balance in this last event, Rotorua was sure to be a Crankworx to remember.
The week started with the famous Taniwha Downhill race. In Elite Women, Sian A’hern (YT Industries) took the win while Vaea Verbeeck (Rocky Mountain Bicycles) chased Queen of Crankworx points in fifth. Meanwhile, Sam Blenkinsop (Norco Factory Team) took a commanding win in Elite Men, leading by over three seconds.
Next was the ever-exciting Dual Slalom. Battling for more Queen of Crankworx points, Caroline Buchanan (Trek Bikes) and Vaea Verbeeck finished fourth and fifth in the women’s division. Tomas Slavik (Ghost Bikes) and Bas Van Steenbergen (Hyper Bicycles) ended up on the Men’s podium, slotting into second and third on the day.
Wednesday, all eyes were on the Pump Track Challenge. Buchanan played to her strengths and soared to victory in Elite Women, adding valuable points in her quest for the Queen of Crankworx crown. Bas Van Steenbergen also claimed more points for the King of Crankworx title, taking second place in the Men’s race.
Thursday brought the second Downhill race of week. However, this time the heavens opened up and created some of the worst conditions ever seen for a mountain bike race. Sam Blenkinsop took advantage of this opportunity, using his Maxxis Shorty tires to dominate the competition by almost eight seconds for his second downhill win of Crankworx Rotorua.
The next day, riders took on the Speed and Style event. Caroline Buchanan continued to add to her points tally, claiming another victory in Elite Women with Verbeeck just behind her in second. Bas Van Steenbergen also earned another podium spot, capturing third place in Men’s.
Finally, Saturday brought the 2022 Crankworx season to a close with the Maxxis Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza. Emil Johansson (Trek Bikes) laid down yet another absolutely mind-blowing run, scoring a 92.75 and earning the gold medal. Watch Emil’s full run below.
With all of the racing completed, the 2022 King of Crankworx, Queen of Crankworx, and Triple Crown winners were revealed. Bas Van Steenbergen completed a repeat of the 2021 season, claiming another King of Crankworx title. Caroline Buchanan had an amazing week in Rotorua, stamping herself in the history books and taking Queen of Crankworx honors. Last but not least, Emil Johansson did it again with ANOTHER Triple Crown of Slopestyle title for the Swede.
Thanks for tuning in this year – we can’t wait for 2023!
Photos: Clint Trahan and Jay French