A KIWI AND A QUEEN WIN BIG AT CRANKWORX ROTORUA ON DAY ONE

Young gun Matt Walker and 2015 Queen of Crankworx the first winners of the five-day festival

March 9, 2016, Rotorua, New Zealand — Fast trails and a good time vibe left ath

letes smiling as they pulled in from a pedal-heavy GIANT Toa Enduro at Crankworx Rotorua.

Coming into the event, GIANT rider Josh CARLSON (AUS) was riding strong, but New Zealand’s Matt Walker proved the unexpected victor, seeling the deal on the final stage, after placing eighth the year before and following fellow Kiwi, Carl Jones, in the cumulative standings for much of the race.

“I was hoping for maybe a top 10 or top five, but to win is a bit of a surprise. I’ve been putting in quite a bit of hard work in the off season now and I guess it’s paying off, so I’m really happy,” said Walker. “It’s been a hard day, quite long tracks and it hasn’t suited my preparation, I guess, but I’m stoked on how today has gone. I’ve been having a lot of fun—it’s good times all round.”

Sharing the limelight, 2015 Queen of Crankworx Anneke BEERTEN (NED), proved her mettle, charging in to win with royal confidence.

Beerten admitted she is thrilled to have the monkey off her back, so to speak, with a win worthy of her 2015 success right out of the gate. She even dubbed the rough, off-camber trail of K2 easy, saying it was relaxing as it was short, making it less physically taxing for her, though its twists and turns bucked seasoned Kiwis Carl Jones and Brooke MacDonald right off. Overall, the day left her challenged, particularly on Stage 3.

“It was really physical, long, not a lot of flow at the bottom, so you had to work pretty hard,” she said, describing the stage from the finish line. “I thought (the race) was pretty cool… We had enough time between transfers. It was nice, with the whole group of girls we had riding together, the vibe was amazing.”

Now an Enduro World Series qualifier, the race attracted a tenacious crowd of New Zealand riders who filled the ranks of the top five nicely with Eddie MASTERS, second, Sam BLENKINSOP, third, and Carl JONES, fifth in the men’s field. Beerten was the sole international rider in the women’s top five.

The Oceania Whip-Off Championships presented by Spank finished out the night on a high note – actually a very similar high to the year before. Ryan “R-Dog” HOWARD (USA) and Casey BROWN (CAN) repeated their wins, despite a monster new whip hit, which could have thrown a wrench in their programs.

Howard said he figured the number of runs he logged and his double-trouble approach, whipping left and right, likely dialed it in, Brown might have had to step up her game to compete with one of the deepest female fields the event has ever seen were it not for her phenomenal skills.

“A lot more women came out this year and we were sending it on this jump. That’s an intimidating jump for anyone. It makes me so excited to see that,” she said.

The original creator of the event, judge Sven Martin, noted the purpose-built jump really pushed the riders and lead to some pretty amazing sideways actions with a big step-up, built for more risk, higher pop, and a sweet berm at the end to skid and spray the spectators.

“Every year it gets crazier and this was maybe the craziest year,” he said, noting R-Dog was considerably more sideways than one usually sees.

Men’s Results, GIANT Toa Enduro:
1. Matt Walker (NZL) 00:35:06
2. Eddie Masters (NZL) 00:35:31
3. Josh Carlson (AU) 00:35:34
4. Sam Blenkinsop (NZL) 00:35:42
5. Carl Jones (NZL) 00:35:42

Women’s results, GIANT Toa Enduro:
1. Anneke Beerten (NED) 00:40:38
2. Rae Morrison (NZL) 00:40:52
3. Annika Smail (NZL) 00:41:14
4. Vanessa Quin (NZL) 00:43:01
5. Katie O’Neill (NZL) 00:43:28

Men’s Results, Official Oceania Championships presented by Spank:
1. Ryan (R-Dog) HOWARD (USA)
2. Tyler McCAUL (USA)
3. Sam BLENKINSOP (NZL)

Women’s Results, Official Oceania Championships presented by Spank:
1. Casey BROWN (CAN)
2. Emilie SIEGENTHALER (SUI)
3. Karin PASTERER (AUT)

Crankworx runs from March 9-13, 2016. Events include the Rotorua Pump Track Challenge presented by RockShoxCrankworx Rotorua Downhill presented by iXSCrankworx Rotorua Air DownhillCrankworx Rotorua Slopestyle, Mons Royale Dual Speed and StyleOfficial Oceania Whip-Off Championships presented by SPANK and the Giant Toa Enduro. There will also be an expo at the Skyline Gravity Park, food and entertainment.

Crankworx is broadcast live from Crankworx.comPinkbike.com and the Crankworx Rotorua Slopestyle is live on Red Bull TV.

Broadcast schedule:

  • Mons Royale Dual Speed and Style: Thursday, Mar. 10, 5-7 p.m. NZDT; Wednesday, Mar. 9 8-10 p.m. PST; Thursday, Mar. 10 5-7 a.m. CET
  • Rotorua Pump Track Challenge presented by RockShox: Friday, Mar. 11, 7-9 p.m. NZDT; Thursday, Mar. 10-midnight PST; Friday, Mar. 11 7-9 a.m. CET
  • Crankworx Rotorua Slopestyle: Saturday, Mar.12 3-5:30 p.m. NZDT; Friday, Mar. 11, 6-8:30 p.m. PST; Saturday, March 12 3-5:30 a.m. CET
  • Crankworx Rotorua Downhill presented by iXS: Sunday, Mar. 13 2:30-5:30 p.m. NZDT; Saturday, Mar. 12 5:30-8:30 p.m. PST; Sunday, Mar. 13 2:30-5:30 a.m. CET

TICKETS & VIP INFORMATION: Tickets for all events are on sale now through Crankworx.com.

Media Contact:

Jennifer Smith
Crankworx World Tour Communications & Marketing Manager
NZ Phone: 6421990017        Email: Jennifer@Crankworx.com
Canadian cell: 604-848-8801

For those in New Zealand:

Jenha White
Crankworx Rotorua public relations liaison
C: 027 705 7005

Images for Media are free to download off Flickr. Please credit the photographer listed in the photo information.

Photo: Ryan “R-Dog” Howard punches it in the Official Oceania Whip-Off Championships presented by Spank.

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Mountain biking’s defining celebration descends on Skyline Rotorua Gravity Park March 9-13, 2016. Crankworx Rotorua brings the world’s downhill, slopestyle and enduro legends together with the superfans, rising stars, industry innovators and the next generation of mountain bike riders for five days of competition, concerts, and mountain bike culture.

Anointed by dirt, powered by passion, the Crankworx World Tour travels to Rotorua, New Zealand, Les Gets, France and culminates in its Canadian home base of Whistler, B.C.

Tread among the gravity-fed. Join the bike-minded.

Crankworx.com