New Downhill Race to Kick Off International Downhill Racing Season
The world’s best downhillers will now have two different tracks on which to test their early-season mettle and get amongst the best of Rotorua, as the inaugural stop on the Crankworx World Tour adds a new downhill race to its competition roster for 2018. Now kicking off the downhill action on the first weekend of Crankworx Rotorua competition, the all-new Rotorua Redwoods DH, based out of the Whakarewarewa forest, will see competitors charge over the forest’s famed dirt gold and get amongst the lush ferns and giant redwoods the area is known for. The new race will take place Sunday, March 18. One week later, closing out the festival, the highly anticipated Crankworx Rotorua DH presented by iXS will once again take to the dirt at Skyline Rotorua. Coveted King and Queen of Crankworx points will be up for grabs at both downhill races.
First Weekend of Crankworx Rotorua to be Forest Focussed
In addition to the the all-new downhill race joining the roster of Crankworx events, much of the action of the first weekend of Crankworx action in Rotorua will be shifting to the Whakarewarewa Forest. This will include the Giant TOA Enduro (Saturday, March 17), traditionally held in the forest, plus the new downhill race (Sunday, March 18 – see above), and the National Schools XC Race (Monday, March 19) and Teams Relay (Monday, March 19). The move will bring to light another side of the famed riding scene, enabling competitors and fans to experience classic Rotorua-style trails, and shine the spotlight on the recently upgraded Waipa Village, on the doorstep of the forest.
Dual Slalom Comes to Crankworx Rotorua
Ask, and ye shall receive. Competitors have been jonesing for more Dual Slalom, requesting it be expanded to more of the Crankworx World Tour stops (in 2017 only Crankworx Whistler hosted a Dual Slalom competition). This year they’ll get their wish. A new Dual Slalom track is set to be built upon the relics of an old-school slalom course where many of Rotorua’s top riders honed their skills in the late 90s and early 00s, and will be brought to life by internationally-renowned Kiwi trailbuilders Empire of Dirt. The competition itself will take place in the afternoon on Tuesday, March 20, adding another event to the points roster for those vying for the titles of King and Queen of Crankworx. Following the action, the course will remain open to the public, adding another layer to the sport legacy of the festival.
Cultural Offerings at Crankworx Rotorua Expand for 2018
Now in its third year in Rotorua, the Deep Summer Photo Competition will be moving to a new home in 2018. The annual event will now take place in Rotorua’s bustling Eat Street, a more central location, enabling more people to experience the famed photo competition that takes place in both Whistler and Rotorua. Each year, the Deep Summer Photo Competition brings together a mix of the world’s best, and up-and-coming, mountain bike photographers, who’re challenged with staging, capturing and presenting, over a set number of days, a slideshow that accurately and artfully represents the spirit of riding in that destination. This year’s competition will take place after the slopestyle competition at Crankworx Rotorua, Saturday, March 24.
Slopestyle Saturday to be Staged on All-New Course
This year’s Crankworx Rotorua Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza will incorporate elements of both old and new. For the first time since the event’s inception, the best slopestyle riders will be throwing down on an all-new course in Rotorua. Tom Hey from Elevate Trail Building has been tasked with re-imagining the course, which has remained untouched over the past three years. The reason for the repeat was two-fold. Many riders said the course was perfect. In addition, the course was built by Elevate’s (previously known as Extra Mile) original duo of Tom Hey and Kelly McGarry. After McGarry’s passing, the course was maintained as an ode to his legacy and his handiwork. For the 2018 course, organizers say Kelly’s fingerprints will remain over the course with the main wood structures staying in place. Riders can expect to see a bit of a switch up on the parts in between as the course evolves to the next level. One thing that will be familiar for riders will be the timeslot of the event. In 2017 all Crankworx slopestyle events were run on Sundays in order to address scheduling needs, but for 2018 the marquee event of Crankworx Rotorua will once again take place on the penultimate day of competition, while the downhill race will return to its traditional Sunday slot.
Crankworx Rotorua More Accessible than Ever
For those looking to take in all the action of Crankworx Rotorua 2018, it’s now more accessible than ever. Ticket prices have been adjusted this year, while the roster of free events has been expanded. Adult full event passes are now available for as little as $49, plus booking fees (compared to $80 in 2017) while Family passes for as little as $99, plus booking fees (compared to $250 in 2017). These lowest prices will be available for purchase during the early bird sale (December only), with prices increasing incrementally in the months leading up to the March event. The events spectators can take in for free now includes the Giant TOA Enduro, the Redwoods Downhill, the National Schools MTB XCO and XCR, the Deep Summer Photo Competition, and the Crankworx Rotorua Dual Slalom. As an added bonus for locals, Rotorua residents can also enjoy the first two days at Skyline (Wednesday and Thursday) free of charge.