Crankworx Cairns Countdown Begins: What to Watch For

CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA, April 28, 2023 – From May 17th to the 21st, the world’s top riders will converge in Cairns, Australia, for five days of action-packed racing, fierce competition, and a whole lot of “shoeys” in the tropical rainforest. You can catch it all live on Red Bull TV.

For those lucky souls who have already secured their festival passes, here is what to expect from stop number two, the paradise edition, of the 2023 Crankworx World Tour.

The Flux Trail, Elevate Tail Building and World Trail crews have been working hard on the tools to freshen up and prep Cairns’ already immaculate tracks. Here’s a 1-minute preview of each of the courses from Crankworx Cairns 2022 to give you a sampler in case you missed it.

With the first stop of the 2023 Crankworx World Tour in the books, your reigning King and Queen of Crankworx sit atop the leaderboard:

  1. Caroline Buchanan (AUS) – 334 // Bas van Steenbergen (CAN) – 247
  2. Jenna Hastings (NZ) – 290 // Tuhoto-Ariki Pene (NZL) – 221
  3. Shania Rawson (NZL) – 240 // Sam Blenkinsop (NZL) – 190

Preliminary rider lists for each event are listed below and check out the full schedule of events here: https://www.crankworx.com/cairns/schedule/.

Riders from left: Garret Mechem, Tomas Lemoine | Photographer: Clint Trahan

Speed & Style Cairns

View preliminary rider list here.

Harriet Burbidge-Smith and Tomas Lemoine were the winners of the Speed & Style event at Crankworx Cairns 2022. Burbidge-Smith, a Red Bull rider from Australia, overcame her nerves to triumph, revealing that she had been focusing on getting flips right in each run. The course was a joint effort by Elevate Trail Building and Flux Trail and featured a range of speed, technicality, and airtime. The 285m-long track had seven berms, a shark fin and two jumps. Lemoine won the Speed & Style event for the ninth time since 2017, including three wins in 2022, after an injury threatened to prevent him competing.

With Lemoine out for this year’s event, Mike Ross fresh off a Crankworx Rotorua gold-medal Speed & Style victory, will surely be one to watch. The Australian just missed the podium at Crankworx Cairns Speed & Style 2022 coming in fourth place, so it’s safe to say he will be hungry for a podium finish on home soil.

Rider: Jackson Frew | Photographer: Clint Trahan

RockShox Downhill Cairns

View preliminary rider list here.

The Crankworx Cairns 2022 Downhill event was Aussie through and through. The downhill race brought the riders and spectators back to an iconic track in the history of downhill racing. While the 2022 podium was decorated with home landers (and shoeys!!), 2023 could prove to be a different story. Tuhoto-Ariki Pene and Sam Blenkinsop were on fire in Rotorua and will be hungry after mistakes in the finals cost them a shot at the podium. Sam Hill was injured during training in 2022 and will be back looking for a win on home soil. Of course, local legend Mick Hannah will be seeking the ever-elusive international win on his hometown track.

On the women’s side, 2022 winner Tracey Hannah, will face stiff competition from up-start Scotswoman Louise Ferguson, and the 2022 Junior World Champion Jenna Hastings for that top step of the podium.  

Riders from left: Mick Hannah, Bas van Steenbergen | Photographer: Clint Trahan

Crankworx Cairns Dual Slalom

View preliminary rider list here.

Last year’s Specialized Dual Slalom event saw the spectators going wild for their local hero, Mick Hannah, who dominated the track with multiple fastest times of the day and stellar second run recoveries. He faced off against Bas van Steenbergen in the gold-medal match-up, and despite an extremely tight race, Hannah emerged victorious, gliding through the finish line with both hands up in the air. In the Elite Female category, Caroline Buchanan took the gold medal in a neck-and-neck race against Harriet “Haz” Burbidge-Smith, beating her by 0.777 seconds.

The event was a dream come true for Hannah, who won in his hometown in front of his cheering family and friends. “I can’t wait for Crankworx to roll back into Cairns for the second year,” Sik Mick says. “It was such an amazing experience for me last year and it’s going to be bigger and better this year. I’m aiming to take the top step in the DH, and I’d also love to repeat my Dual Slalom win this year. I’ll also be competing in the Pump Track challenge!”

Rider: Tom Isted | Photographer: Clint Trahan

Crankworx Cairns Slopestyle

View preliminary rider list here.

Crankworx Cairns 2022 slopestyle event was an unforgettable moment for 14 of the top slopestyle riders in the world. Hosted for the first time in Cairns, Australia, the third Crankworx FMBA Slopestyle World Championship contest of the season witnessed moments so tense that you could hear a pin drop, and moments so explosive they were nearly deafening. Nicholi Rogatkin, who was seeking redemption in Cairns, emerged as the winner, followed by Erik Fedko and Tomas Lemoine. The event saw Emil Johansson, the rider on an eight Crankworx contest winning streak, escorted off the course by the medical team after going down on the final feature. Rogatkin’s win on the innovative Cairns course was his sixth Crankworx Slopestyle win and first since he collected the Triple Crown in 2018. The Crankworx Cairns 2023 slopestyle event promises to be exciting, with riders like Nicholi Rogatkin, Emil Johansson, and Max Frederiksson expected to return and throw down.

British dark horse, Tom Isted, who has been on a heater these past few weeks with his first Crankworx slopestyle podium followed by a world-record back flip at Darkfest, had only one thing to say about this upcoming slopestyle event: “READY.”

Rider: Caroline Buchanan | Photographer: Clint Trahan

Crankworx Cairns Pump Track Challenge

View preliminary rider list here.

Last year’s Pump Track Challenge at Crankworx Cairns did not disappoint, with riders and spectators alike blown away by the creative and unique design of the course. Australian newcomer to the Crankworx scene, Jayce Cunning, dominated the event, generating more speed than any of the other riders on the track. Meanwhile, Caroline Buchanan, the Elite Female gold medalist, tore her AC joint from her crash at Red Bull District Ride but showed no signs of slowing down as she stacked up multiple fastest times of the day to take home the gold medal.

Looking ahead to Crankworx Cairns 2023, riders to watch out for on the men’s side include Jayce Cunning, Niels Bensink, Tuhoto-Ariki Pene, and Bas van Steenbergen. On the women’s side, keep an eye on Caroline Buchanan, Jordy Scott, and Jenna Hastings.

“The return of Crankworx Cairns is a special one,” says Buchanan. “It truly feels like it’s your home game and the energy hits different. It’s by far one of my favourite speed & style courses of the entire season and my favourite pump track of the season as well, so those are my two events that I’m really looking forward to. I haven’t competed on the downhill course, so racing the downhill will bring a new element of challenge to the Crankworx week. Crankworx being in Australia means my family can come up and it was really special having mum and dad supporting on the sidelines last year.”

Rider: Jai Motherwell | Photographer: Clint Trahan

The Official Australian Whip-Off Championships

View preliminary rider list here.

2022 saw the first Crankworx Whip-Off in Australia, kicking off Crankworx Cairns with a party. The event saw 51 riders throwing down 556 whips. The Whip-Off course will see some updates and improvements to the main whip jump which is sure to get the riders stoked.

Garret Mechem and Jordy Scott won the event for the men and women’s categories, respectively. Jordy Scott returns to Crankworx after a recovering from a brutal crash at 2022 Crankworx Rotorua, and we can’t think of a better way to welcome her back to the world tour than a whip-off party. No strangers to a Whip-Off contest, Harriet Burbidge-Smith and Robin Goomes will be amongst the ladies to watch out for. Billy Meaclem, Jai Motherwell, and Dave McMillan will be in contention for who can throw it the most sideways for the men’s field.

Details and registration for pros, amateurs, CWNEXT and Kidsworx events can be found here: https://www.crankworx.com/athletes/locations/cairns/

For those looking to snag tickets, festival passes are available here: https://www.crankworx.com/cairns/passes/

Follow @CrankworxCairns and @Crankworx for all event highlights, schedule updates and those behind the scenes rider and festival moments.

Crankworx Cairns acknowledges and pays respects to the Traditional Custodians of the Smithfield region, the Djabuguy and Yirrganydji. We recognise their connection to land, sea and community and extend this respect to Elders past, present and emerging, and other First Peoples within the region.

Photos for media use: CWX Media Drive

About the Crankworx World Tour
Crankworx is the ultimate experience in mountain biking. Born in Whistler, B.C. in 2004, Crankworx has evolved into a multi-stop international festival series. The Crankworx World Tour brings together the best mountain bike athletes to compete in elite-level competitions in a variety of disciplines. Crankworx World Tour festivals also host races for amateurs, CWNEXT categories for next gen athletes, Kidsworx contests for young riders, participatory events and celebrations of mountain bike culture, all while showcasing amazing destinations. For additional information, visit crankworx.com.