Crankworx’ first of three stops saw the world’s best mountain bikers descend on Kelly McGazza’s home turf of Rotorua, New Zealand for an explosive season opener.
“The ultimate experience in mountain biking” is what the event describes itself as, and we couldn’t agree more. Spanning across the majority of the MTB spectrum, Crankworx provides maximum entertainment whether you’re into endurance, style, speed or all of the above.
We’re lucky to count some of the world’s best in our team, and it was epic to see the Muc-Off contingency put up a solid appearance throughout the weekend.
Our highlight story was obviously Tomas Lemoine, who after an unfortunate tyre disfunction in the Speed & Style semis came back absolutely firing, taking the win in the Pump Track Challenge and snatching his best result (yet) with a 2nd in the Maxxis Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza.
Lemoine was labelled as ‘your new favourite rider’ by the event commentators and with good reason, his consistency across disciplines and steeze displayed was second-to-none, so much so that his performances put him at the top of the ‘King of Crankworx’ leaderboard with two events to go. Yeah Tomas 🤘🤘
On the women’s side, we had no other than Tahnee Seagrave flying the Muc-Off flag across Dual Slalom, Pump Track Challenge and Downhill events. She was even set to compete in the Air DH but a slip & crash in the Dual Slalom Elite semis’ not only cost her a much-deserved place in the final but also meant she needed a rest day ahead of her Downhill effort.
Nothing phases Tahnee and she was back ready to fight on the Friday, where she had both DH and Pump Track events to compete in all in one day. A slight collision with a tree cost her the few seconds and momentum she needed for the top spot in DH, taking home a 3rd behind Kate Weatherly and veteran Tracey Hannah.
Later on that day, she jumped on her hardtail and snagged another 3rd in Pump Track. She comes home sitting 4th on the ‘Queen of Crankworx’ leaderboard with three podium finishes across multiple disciplines and only six points away from NZ local Shania Rawson in 3rd, a pretty solid appearance in our eyes.
For brother Kaos Seagrave, a pre-event injury meant his Crankworx experience was all about being fit enough to ride the Whip-Off Championships, where he came 2nd in 2018. Word on the street was that Kaos was one of the most steezy whippers out there, and judging by this picture, he’d sure get our vote. He misses out on a podium finish but will look to get himself back to racing form ahead of Stage 1 of the UCI Downhill World Cup series in Maribor, Slovenia.
With such a strong team of Muc-Off athletes on location, it was only fair we roped a couple of these guys in for some Instagram Takeover action. Ben Deakin, aka The Deakinator, took us behind the scenes at Air DH then got redemption on his 2016 Whip Off crash on the Thursday evening. On Saturday, it was Reed Boggs who gave us a glimpse of what it’s like to hang out with all the Slopestyle superstars. If you’ve missed out on the action, you can catch up on our Instagram Story Highlights.
Sunday saw Stage 1 of the Enduro World Series take place in Rotorua with five stages to complete in one day. A true test of endurance for Muc-Off sponsored Team Chain Reaction Cycles and Canyon Factory Team.
Unfortunately for Team CRC, Sam Hill was ill the day prior and didn’t have the energy to power through a couple of stumbles, finishing at an overall 9th. Elliott Heap hit a snag on Stage 1 with a crash on the first turn and whilst he did well to crawl back on the leaderboard, he couldn’t get past the top 30 and finished with an overall 33rd place. Kelan Grant was looking good too. He had three successful stage results around the top 30, but crashes in two later stages dropped him down to 50th overall.
It was a more successful story for the Canyon Factory Team with Frenchmen Florian Nicolai and Dimitri Tordo taking 3rd and 9th respectively, pushing the team up to 3rd place overall.
The man of the day was GT Factory Racing’s Martin Maes who became the second-ever rider to take a clean sweep of all stages during an EWS event.
While we’ll have to wait until June for the next stage of Crankworx, we can already start getting excited about Stage 2 of the Enduro World Series taking place this weekend (30-31 March) in Tasmania.