Crankworx Rotorua 2022 Rider Lists Have Been Released
It’s come to be known as “the soul of Crankworx.” When organizers first set their sights on Rotorua, what drew them in was the area’s famed dirt gold – the foundation on which they would build the tracks that would welcome the world.
Heading into the eighth Crankworx Rotorua however, what has truly come to distinguish this New Zealand home of the Crankworx World Tour is the people who come together each year to celebrate the ultimate experience in mountain biking.
He aha te mea nui o te ao
What is the most important thing in the world?
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata
It is the people, it is the people, it is the people
Courses built with skill and love by Elevate Trail Building and Empire of Dirt, with the spirit of Kelly McGarry packed into every course… Kiwi senders – amateurs, CWNEXT, Kidsworx – in the thick of things. Frothing Kiwi fans (who, in 2022, will be back on site for the first time since March 2020)… And of course, the convergence of some of the world’s best who come to get amongst it all…
Here’s a taste of who’s coming, and what to watch for as Crankworx Rotorua gets ready to launch November 5-13, 2022.
Queen of Crankworx
- The top three women are only separated by 31 points (655/641/624). It’s anyone’s game in the top three.
- Caroline Buchanan (currently in third with 624 points) is surging, coming off “probably one of my most successful Crankworx’s to date” in Cairns. In the months leading up, Whistler was a mix of highs and lows for the Australian, with a win on the Pump Track, but a big slam in Speed & Style. She then went on to Red Bull District Ride, where she made history with a huge front flip, which unfortunately ended in a crash, resulting in an ACL shoulder tear. With just a month between that contest and Crankworx Cairns, her participation hinged on her recovery. But she gave rehab her all and managed to podium in 3/3 events she competed in, including first on the Pump Track and in Dual Slalom, nudging her closer to the pointy end of the Queen standings.
“The Queen has always been a goal,” Buchanan said at the end of Crankworx Cairns. “It’s definitely one of the most challenging titles to win, I think, because you do have to be so consistent on so many different bikes and stay injury free. When I crashed out in the Speed & Style in Whistler and didn’t get on the podium, I thought that might be the make or break point for the season. To round it back in here, I know now that I’ve got to pack the downhill bike for New Zealand and stay in the hunt for the points.”
- Sitting one and two currently, Jordy Scott (655) and Vaea Verbeeck (641) were taking turns in the lead position all through Crankworx Cairns. Scott was in the lead coming out of Whistler, and continues with the 14 point lead heading into Rotorua
- Verbeeck is the reigning 2021 Queen of Crankworx. She also won the overall in 2019.
King of Crankworx
- The battle for King is likely to play out between the top two. Two competitors with different focuses, but with strengths that overlap. 13 points currently separate Bas van Steenbergen (533) and Tomas Lemoine (520). Mick Hannah could be the dark horse, currently sitting in third with 370.
- Van Steenbergen is the reigning 2021 King.
- The Canadian will have the advantage of points available in two DH races (one in the Whakarewarewa forest, and one at the traditional Crankworx DH venue at Skyline), while the French rider is in the unique position of potentially gaining points from Slopestyle.
“I’m having a good time,” said Lemoine after winning Speed & Style (his ninth in the discipline) in Cairns. “I feel like my mind is evolving as I’m growing. I’m just following my heart. Riding when I’m feeling the things I feel. I have for sure to train and stuff like that, but yeah. I just try to follow the things, one by one, enjoy each event. And I’m a bit more focused now for King of Crankworx. No pressure though. If it happens, I will be happy at the end of the season. If not, the one that will win will deserve it for sure. Because, this is four events in the full year. And we do three, to four, to five events, depending on the rider. So this is a big battle.”
Crankworx FMBA Slopestyle World Championship
- The final SWC contest of the season will determine this season’s overall winner.
- Erik Fedko is currently in the lead, with one fourth place finish, and two seconds. It has been a very consistent season for the German rider.
“Next contest,” Fedko said after the podium in Cairns, “I’m hungry for the win.”
- 110 points separate Fedko (2520) from current second place in the overall, Emil Johansson (2410). The Swedish rider has two first this season, and an 11th after taking a big slam on the final jump of the Cairns Slopestyle course.
Triple Crown of Slopestyle
- Emil Johansson became the second rider in history in 2021 to win the title, after taking all three Crankworx Slopestyle wins in 2021.
- With a win in Innsbruck and in Whistler, the 23-year-old was in contention in Cairns. With his 11th place finish following his crash, a win in Cairns was not to be. However, the third win required to claim the Triple Crown is still on the table in Rotorua, though at this point his participation is unclear.
“…I took a big slam in my first run at Crankworx,” he said in an Instagram post on October 11. “The crash knocked me out and left me unconscious. The decision to not do a second run was clear to me as I at the time barely knew how I got from the end of my run to sitting at the riders [sic] tent with a headache. My body is doing ok but my head has had a heavy impact, what the next steps are and how soon I can/will go back to riding again is unclear and will all be determined by symptoms throughout the process of the recovery from this concussion. Gutted to lose this one but I’ll be back for redemption.”
With seven events for pros running from November 5-13, it’s going to be one heck of a wrap to the 2022 season. Here’s the full shebang of who to watch for at Crankworx Rotorua 2022:
Stay tuned for updates on Crankworx Rotorua as they come, and stay up to date with all things Crankworx: crankworx.com