women's slopestyle riders

Crankworx Rotorua: Women's Slopestyle Makes History

It’s 2024, and a new, exciting season of Crankworx competition is finally here. Rotorua, New Zealand is the perfect spot to kick off the new year, and racers from across the globe flocked to this mountain bike paradise to get in on the action.

Two riders jumping into the sunset

The event began with the legendary Taniwha Downhill. With a slippery course, many different tire choices and Rob Warner and Eliot Jackson in the commentary booth, this race was not one we will easily forget any time soon. Eliana Hulsebosch (UNION) had a scorcher of a run down the course, beating second place by nearly six seconds and claiming her first Crankworx win of the year. On the men’s side of things, UNION teammate Lachie Stevens-McNab ended up with the gold after one heckuva downhill race, with athletes riding on the absolute edge to get that taste of victory. Maxxis athlete Sam Blenkinsop (Zerode Bikes) took the third step on the podium while Enduro World Cup Champion Richie Rude (Yeti Fox) was just off in fourth place.

Lachie stretching over the finish

UNION rider heading down the DH track

UNION riders posing with bike and checks

A staple of Crankworx Rotorua, the Official New Zealand Whip-Off Championship was next on the list, and riders from every discipline showed up to give it their best. Ben Wallace (We Are One) ended up on the podium in second while Vinny Armstrong (Forbidden Bikes) took the win in the Women’s category.

Lachie whipping it out

Whip off podium

The next day, riders competed in the Rotorua Air DH race. Louis Hamilton (Tuned Rotorua) rounded out the top five in the men’s category, and Kialani Hines (Troy Lee Designs) started her 2024 conquest with a bronze medal.

Louis hamilton racing Air DH

Kialani racing air dh

In the Pump Track Challenge, Lachie Stevens-McNab rode to another respectable finish in fifth place in the men’s, establishing himself as a real contender for the King of Crankworx. In the women’s race, Kialani Hines added to her Queen of Crankworx points with a gold medal (unofficial Queen of Pump Track).

Pump track going down in Rotorua

Pump track podium

The Speed and Style competition was up next, and riders showed up to give it their all in this fascinating genre of racing. Reigning Queen of Crankworx Caroline Buchanan (Trek Bicycles) captured her first gold medal of the year after some very exciting runs from this Australian. In the men’s, Garret Mechem (Commencal Bikes) rode his way to victory against a stacked field.

Garrett avoiding a gate

Caroline jumping

Speed and style podium

A signature Crankworx event, the Dual Slalom was featured the next day. Kialani Hines captured her third medal of Rotorua with a second-place finish. Maxxis athletes littered the top five in the Men’s race with Jackson Frew (We Are One) getting a silver medal, Lachie Stevens-McNab in fourth and Sam Blenkinsop in fifth.

Kialani racing dual slalom

dual slalom racers heading down the course

top head view of dual slalom

Finally, the Maxxis Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza rounded out an awesome week in New Zealand. This slopestyle event was special, with women competing for the first time in FMB Diamond Series history. While young prodigy Patricia Druwen (Rose Bikes) was unable to compete due to injury and illness, Caroline Buchanan added another type of Crankworx medal to her collection and finished in third.

Caroline throwing a super man

Caroline throwing an X-up

Caroline's bikes

What a way to start the 2024 season in Rotorua – see you in Cairns, Australia in May!