Mountain biking is getting the biggest shake up it may ever see in Australasia. Take the world’s biggest mountain bike festival, add the hugely popular world-series formula, drop it in the Southern Hemisphere’s mountain biking mecca and let the good times roll.
After 11 years of operation, the phenomenon that is Crankworx Whistler will make its way to Rotorua, New Zealand from 25th – 29th March 2015, setting the city abuzz with international riders and spectators. Crankworx Rotorua will not only kick off the professional racing calendar but it will also host the first round of the sell-out Enduro World Series.
Pro-riders and spectators will descend upon Kiwi land for the first of three Crankworx Festivals, followed by Crankworx Les Deux Alpes in France and finishing with the penultimate event, attended by hundreds of thousands, in Whistler, Canada. Crankworx Events Incorporated (CEI) would like to create a series of five festivals around the world – Rotorua being the third and only addition in 2015.
Event Director and owner of Multi-Day Adventures and Mountain Bike Rotorua, Tak Mutu, says Crankworx is the best it gets for mountain biking. “We are so stoked to be bringing Crankworx to our home town Rotorua. There’s no better way to show something I’ve always truly believed - that Rotorua and New Zealand is one of the best places on the planet. The benefit to both the community and the economy is going to be huge.”
Mr Mutu says securing the first round of the Enduro World Series is also a massive coup which New Zealand Giant 2W Enduro series director Neil Gellatly, has worked hard to lock in. “Enduro is the buzzword in cycling and encompasses what most riders love, which is cruising up the hills and racing down.”
Deputy Mayor of Rotorua Dave Donaldson has been a pivotal part of attracting these events to the region and he is at Crankworx Whistler with a privately funded Rotorua delegation including Mr Mutu, Mr Gellatly and general manager of Skyline Rotorua Bruce Thomasen. Mr Donaldson says this will be an event not just for riders, but for people who like to watch extreme sports too. “It’s not just for mountain bikers, but for anyone who likes to see amazing athletes demonstrating incredible skills – it’s like the X-Games of mountain biking, with a real festival vibe. “Sitting here at the foot of the trails of Whistler it is easy to see why this is so important for New Zealand. In terms of global exposure for mountain biking events, Crankworx is number one, so securing the third international location is a fantastic thing for Rotorua and the community.”
Rotorua has become known as the home of mountain biking in New Zealand, building on a number of events such as the 2006 UCI World Champs and two successful Rotorua Bike Festivals. Red Bull Magazine also ranked Rotorua’s Whakarewarewa forest in the top eight mountain biking destinations in the world in 2013 – the only Southern Hemisphere location to feature.
Local Government Events Manager Martin Croft says an event of this caliber is exactly what Rotorua needs and thrives on hosting. “Recognised as a world leading festival city, Rotorua is more than equipped to host an event of this magnitude. Combined with an ever growing community of mountain biking fanatics with a deep seeded passion for the sport, Rotorua and the Crankworx Festival are a natural fit together.”
Crankworx Rotorua will be a part of the Pump Track series and will host Speed and Style, Slopestyle, Downhill and Enduro events over the five days. There will also be a raft of other events surrounding the festival for amateurs and spectators. The base for the event will be Skyline Rotorua Mountain Bike Gravity Park and Mr Mutu has also indicated that a significant portion of the week will be held at the newly refurbished Eat Streat on the Rotorua lakefront. The soon to be announced music festival will run from this central city location and will be hosted in partnership with the Crankworx team.
“Top New Zealand artists have already been secured and we look forward to being able to showcase our emerging music industry on the world stage. It’s not all about the biking at Crankworx - a lot but not all.”
Crankworx Rotorua will be the first major international mountain bike event for 2015.
· The Crankworx festival was born and bred in Whistler, Canada. It is in its 11th year of operation and its third year of running intercontinentally.
· A gathering of the bike-minded, Crankworx brings together the world’s downhill, slopestyle and enduro legends, with the Superfans, the rising stars, the industry’s innovators and the next generation of mountain bike riders.
· It is estimated that around 750 riders will take part in the five-day festival, of which 80% are likely to be overseas riders.
· International event riders will see competitors from the US, Canada, South America, Europe, Japan and Australia.
About Enduro World Series:
· The Enduro World Series, scheduled in Rotorua for March 28, 2015 marks the first round of international racing for the year.
· There are 25 Official Enduro World Series Teams hand picked by the EWS Board – these teams represent the biggest brands and fastest racers on the planet.
· There are 180 registration spots open to pro-riders only, which sees a large international following at all EWS rounds.
· Enduro racing replicates what many bike riders do every weekend by allowing the competitor to ride for up to six hours, taking in the local environment at their own pace, whilst only competing against the clock on the best downhills.