Rider scrubbing a jump

Crankworx Rotorua: New Year, Same Emil

This is it – Crankworx 2023 is finally here. With Maxxis Tires renewed as a gold-level partner and Red Bull TV focusing on even more broadcasting, Crankworx is primed to have an amazing year. Riders from all around the globe flocked to Rotorua, New Zealand for the first stop of the World Tour.

Rider hitting a step up in NZ

Rotorua kicked off on Sunday, March 19 with the Taniwha Downhill race. USA’s Neko Mulally (Frameworks Racing) had a monster run, landing on the Elite Men’s podium in third place. Vinny Armstrong (Forbidden Bikes) and Georgia Astle (Devinci Global Racing) held down the fort in Elite Women, both slotting into the top 10.

Neko crossing the Rotorua finish line

Neko celebrating his podium with his team

Picture of the Maxxis rear tire of a rider

The New Zealand Whip-Off Championships occurred a couple of days later on March 23 with Maxxis female athletes showing up big time. Vinny Armstrong rallied after her strong result in the Taniwha Downhill and secured the victory. Georgia Astle followed closely behind her in the silver medal position.

Vinny whipping her bike

Vinny giving a thumbs up

Georgia competing in the whip off

The Air Downhill race took place the next day. The 2022 King of Crankworx, Bas Van Steenbergen (Hyper Bicycles), was off to a good start, grabbing second place in Pro Men with Sam Blenkinsop (Crestline Bikes) following him in third place. On the flip side, the Queen of Crankworx in 2022, Caroline Buchanan (Trek Bicycles), showed she was in excellent form, taking the win in Pro Women.

Bas on his way to an Air DH podium

Air DH podium

The action continued Friday with the exciting Pump Track Challenge. Van Steenbergen had another great result, taking fourth in Pro Men, while Buchanan had another monumental race, taking the win once again in Pro Women. Maxxis rider Kialani Hines (Pivot Cycles) also didn’t waste time collecting valuable points, stepping onto the third step of the Women’s podium.

Caroline racing the pump track

Kialani rounding a pump track corner

Caroline and Kialani racing the pump track

Saturday’s main event was the rapidly growing Speed & Style competition. Van Steenbergen continued to add to his points total with a fifth place, while Maxxis rider Mike Ross (Trek Bicycles) ultimately took the win in Pro Men. Caroline Buchanan was already on the podium once again, earning a silver medal in the Pro Women’s category.

Bas rounding a pump track corner

Georgia throwing a no-hander

Speed and style podium

The final day was a big one – Dual Slalom and the Maxxis Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza. Bas Van Steenbergen is clearly on the path to defending his crown, procuring a bronze medal in the Dual Slalom. Kialani Hines had another great race, landing fifth place in the Women’s.

Caroline racing in the dual slalom

Bas racing the dual slalom

The highly anticipated Maxxis Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza did not disappoint. It turned out to be one of the closest slopestyle competitions in history, and Emil Johansson (Trek Bicycles) came out victorious yet again. This marks his fourth win in a row in Rotorua and his tenth Crankworx gold medal.

The Maxxis viewing booth

Emil doing a trick on his run

Emil embracing a competitor

And just like that, the first Crankworx round of 2023 comes to a close. Stay tuned for the next stop in Cairns, starting May 17!