VERBEECK GOES TWO FOR TWO IN ROTORUA, AND ROPELATO TAKES FIRST AIR DH WIN
Canadian extends early lead for Queen of Crankworx winning second event in two days
ROTORUA, NEW ZEALAND March 20, 2019 – Vaea Verbeeck (CAN) has started her season in commanding fashion. Day two of Crankworx Rotorua brought her second victory in as many days, this time in the Rotorua Air DH presented by Bosch.
“I’m over the moon. I definitely couldn’t ask for more than two for two,” said the 28-year-old, who also placed first in last night’s 100% Dual Slalom Rotorua “I was going for today, somehow won yesterday, and then was just focused on making sure that I made today happen. So now my goals are achieved I can just keep going.”
Verbeeck’s winning time of 2:25.15 put over 2 seconds between her and second place finisher Anneke Beerten (NED), who crossed the line in 2:27.53. Shania Rawson (NZL) was hot on Beerten’s heels, taking third with a time of 2:27.55.
On the men’s side, it was familiar territory for Mitch Ropelato (USA) but in an unfamiliar discipline.
“I’m stoked. I’ve never won an Air DH,” said the 27-year-old, known for his dominance in Pump Track and Dual Slalom. “After Slalom I thought ‘Oh man, I’m gonna leave here without a medal’ ‘cause I don’t normally do that good at Air DH…so to do good today is pretty sweet.”
Ropelato’s time of 2:11.61 bested last year’s winner Mick Hannah (AUS), who came in right behind with a time of 2:11.80. Bas van Steenbergen (CAN) rounded things out with 2:13.71
FULL RESULTS – Rotorua Air DH presented by Bosch: https://bit.ly/2TeiNr6
The Air DH brings an extra element of difficulty to a traditional Downhill race. In Rotorua, racers are challenged to send it on 32 jumpable features while charging for the win.
For Verbeeck, the race suits her style and skill set.
“I love this kind of racing. I love to squash jumps, sprint, landing transitions perfect, hitting every line perfect, going into every corner really fast – everybody loves it and that’s all we try to do our best at. But it’s just my thing. “
In addition to the tight field, featuring a who’s who from the realms of DH, enduro, freeride, and more, conditions added some extra challenge. Rotorua has had an especially dry summer, making conditions for racers a little extra loose, many complaining more about burning lungs than tired legs.
“The dust was heavy to breathe,” added Ropelato. “All of practice we were just like one giant train. So all the dust was pretty rowdy.”
Verbeeck has now extended her early lead for Queen of Crankworx, while Beerten has also added to her points total. Like Verbeeck, she mirrored her finish last night. Verbeeck currently sits in first with 200 points, followed by Beerten with 160.
On the men’s side, Bas van Steenbergen pulls in the lead with 140 points, thanks to a second place finish last night in Dual Slalom, and today’s third. Keegan Wright trails behind him by only 14 points, with points from his win yesterday and a 10th place finish today.
Up next, the Mons Royale Speed & Style Rotorua, the first event of the Crankworx Speed & Style World Championship season, goes LIVE from Rotorua to the world tomorrow on Red Bull TV and crankworx.com.
High res release photos: Dropbox
Festival photos: Flickr
Crankworx Rotorua: Schedule
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, Kidsworx contests for young riders, participatory events, and celebrations of mountain bike culture, all while showcasing amazing destinations. For additional information, visit crankworx.com.
Julia Montague | Communications Manager, Crankworx World Tour