Sam Blenkinsop on pandemic life in NZ, charging into 2021, and riding the new Shorty

He’s been a fixture on the international scene pushing 15 years now, snagged the King of Crankworx title in 2018, and is as on top of his game as ever as NZ racing season charges toward the end of summer and National Champs. And while it’s “off-season” for the Northern Hemisphere, Blenki has been busy making the most of some extra time at home in the Southern Hemisphere, and product testing Maxxis’ new Shorty.

Crankworx: First of all, holy heck, what a year. How have you and the family been?

Sam Blenkinsop: Yes, it’s been a crazy year. Missing racing sucks, but spending more time with the wee one and family has been amazing. We tried to see as much as we could in our backyard here in NZ and what place it is. I feel like with racing you’re always 100 miles an hour and this year has made me appreciate the small things in life.

CWX: We see you’ve been on the road and pulling in some top results in NZ, including the Nelson DH National race a couple weeks back. How has racing season been in NZ this year?

SB: It’s been good to be back racing here in NZ. We are lucky to be racing and it’s an awesome way to start the season. All the boys have been out and there’ve been some good tight times. Racing at home is always fun. This is one of the times of year that I love most, travelling around in the NZ summer on good tracks.

CWX: NZ National Champs are coming up in Christchurch end of the month, and you’re defending the title. Are you feeling solid heading into that?

SB: Yes, we have NZ Champs coming up in two weeks. It’s gonna be a good race with all the NZ top boys here. Of course I’m going for the title – would be cool to have it again, but at the end of the day it could be anyone’s. All I can do is have fun on the bike and see how everything goes.

CWX: What does 2021 hold for you, in terms of racing and travel?

SB: For 2021 it looks like we’re going racing, so the team is booking and getting ready…  

CWX: How stoked are you to welcome the world BACK to NZ for Crankworx Rotorua in November, 2021? It’s going to be one heck of a party…

SB: I’m stoked to have Crankworx back in NZ. It’s always the one I look forward to and it’s even better that it is at the end of the season. It’s gonna be a good way to wrap up the season.

CWX: Rumour has it you’ve been testing out a new tire for Maxxis that’s about to hit the shelves… a mid-spike that’s going to add some versatility to their lineup. Tell us about it…

SB: Yes, I’ve been testing an all-new tire for Maxxis. It’s always exciting riding something new and I feel like the Maxxis line up was missing this tire. It’s a second generation Shorty with a revised tread pattern, good for cornering and braking in the mud. I’ve been running it in dusty loose conditions also. It gives me the confidence to have that extra bite when you need it.

Check out Blenki’s edit for the new Shorty, and stay tuned to see where it takes him as deep summer racing hits its stride in NZ.