The world of elite mountain biking will gather in Rotorua, New Zealand, from March 18-26, to take part in the first stop of the 2023 Crankworx World Tour. The event will feature an impressive line-up of international athletes, as well as some of the best local and national mountain bike riders from New Zealand.
For the first time, fans will be able to watch the RockShox Taniwha Downhill race live on Red Bull TV, as it is broadcast from the renowned Whakarewarewa and Tītokorangi Forests. This high-risk, high-adrenaline race on volcanic soil promises to be a thrilling start to the international mountain bike competition season.
Local Sam Blenkinsop experienced the full might of the Downhill track taking out the Elite Men’s Gold at Crankworx Rotorua 2022 just three months ago. “We’re pretty lucky here in Rotorua, and everywhere in New Zealand now. Just how the trails are evolving. It’s awesome.”
Crankworx Rotorua will also mark the start of the international mountain bike competition season, a role that Rotorua has played for six years before shifting to November during the pandemic-affected years.
“Having Crankworx as the kickstart of the season is always epic,” says Rotorua riding fan favourite, Jenna Hastings. “Seeing all the pros come into my hometown and use it as the start to their season is always amazing to watch, and now being able to be a part of that and use it as the start of my season…it’s going to be epic.”
Athlete registration is now open for professionals and amateurs, and the full schedule of pro events can be found on the official Crankworx website. Leading the charge of elite international riders confirmed to attend are Loris Vergier (FRA), Neko Mullaly (USA), and Red Bull’s Kade Edwards (GBR). This marks the first time that Vergier will compete at Crankworx Rotorua since 2015, and the first time for Edwards and Mullaly. Additionally, world-ranked New Zealand riders Jenna Hastings, Jess Blewitt and many other homegrown elite riders are expected to join the strongest global field to have competed on New Zealand soil since 2020.
Festival passes are available for purchase on the official Crankworx website as well. Don’t miss out on the chance to witness world-class riding in the breath-taking scenery of New Zealand. crankworx.com/rotorua/passes/
Details and registration for pros and amateurs for Air DH, Dual Slalom and DH, and for the Pump Track for CWNEXT racers can be found here: crankworx.com/athletes/locations/rotorua/
This year’s schedule will include (events marked with an * will be live on Red Bull TV):
• RockShox Taniwha Downhill*
• Official New Zealand Whip Off Championships
• Specialized Dual Slalom Rotorua*
• Crankworx Rotorua Air DH (back in the mix!)
• Crankworx Rotorua Pump Track Challenge presented by Torpedo7*
• Speed & Style Rotorua*
• Maxxis Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza*
Jenna Hastings (Rotorua local, 7x Crankworx pro podiums, Junior DH World Champion):
“[My goals in 2023 are to] do my best and have fun…I want to try and do some, if not all, of the Speed & Style events this year and hopefully rack up some more points. I want to do all the stops this year and try to podium in the Queen of Crankworx standings. But the main goal is to have fun, and these events make it really easy to have fun.”
“I’ve come from a full blown grom, and managed to turn myself into one of the people I used to look up to. My first years at Crankworx I was a mega fan girl, I had a white shirt that I absolutely covered in signatures of all my heroes that I was so proud of, so to now be doing things like signing kids shirts, it’s a weird one for sure. It’s pretty cool though, to see myself start as a little kid racing Crankworx events and now I’m racing the Crankworx World Tour. I also think for a lot of up-and-coming kids, to be able to see someone from their hometown/country do what they want to do, I think it’s cool for them to see it and realise that they can do it too.”
Erik Fedko (2nd place in 2022 Crankworx FMBA Slopestyle World Championship standings, 7x Crankworx Slopestyle podiums):
“I’m feeling good. I’ve been riding loads. I’ve been in Spain the past couple weeks, and more riding’s coming up, so I’m feeling super good and ready for the upcoming season. With a start in Rotorua, it should be super good. The course should be ready and should be ridden in. I’m looking forward to a good time.”
“For sure, as always, having fun is one of my biggest goals, see all the boys and ride with them. But obviously I want to win a Crankworx stop once in my life. So, my goal for 2023 is a Crankworx win, in at least one contest. That would be sick. I’m motivated. I’m hyped. But I know the other riders are super strong as well, and training hard. So I’m just going to try my best and see where I end up.”
“This year the course was brand new. Some features we couldn’t really train on. So now, knowing what the course will be looking like, I have some other tricks in mind, especially after riding it a couple of months ago. I have some more ideas of what I could do on that course. So, I’m going to prepare some new tricks, and get back into it in Rotorua.”
“I’m looking forward to being there [in Rotorua] a couple weeks earlier. Go surfing with some of the other boys in Mount Manganui, maybe Queenstown for a week, just enjoying New Zealand. And super hyped to go sledging again. It was so fun in Rotorua. I can’t wait. Looking forward to the season, 2023.”
Stay up to date with all things Crankworx: crankworx.com
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 more information, visit crankworx.com