After many near wins, Tomas LEMOINE (FRA) finally has his first Crankworx gold medal, and five-time pump track queen Jill KINTNER (USA) her redemption, after an epic Rotorua Pump Track Challenge presented by RockShox at Crankworx Rotorua Friday night.
“I’m pretty stoked because I’ve wanted this win for so long. I’m always like third, fourth and this time I won. So I’m pretty stoked. It’s like living a dream,” said Lemoine, whose triumphant shine could only be matched by the fourth place finisher Conor MAHUIKA (NZ).
A rider from the local pump track,16-year-old Mahuika spent almost as much time waving to the crowd and smiling for his new-found fans as he did racing, and it took him until the quarter finals to hit a match up where he would have to make up time.
“I’m stoked to even be fourth. I’m used to jumping the dirt jumps, not going fast. I’m just stoked. This is the first event I’ve ever tried on a pump track. I haven’t had any practice, except yesterday, and a bit today. Seems to be working - kind of,” he laughed.
On the contrary, the women’s race proved a battle of veterans and a rare life do-over for Kintner, who caught her tire and never got out of the gate in the final matchup against 2015 Queen of Crankworx and eventual Pump Track Challenge Champion Anneke BEERTEN (NED) in the inaugural Rotorua competition.
“Last year I didn’t even get a proper race. Feels good to be back here and Anneke is a great competitor—and a worthy opponent. I love racing her, and racing here; it’s always good pressure for the final with the two of us,” she said.
The pump track capped off an action-packed day at the festival with the newest Crankworx event, the Crankworx Rotorua Air DH, giving the pros a chance to race with the Rotorua riding community on Skyline Gravity Park’s jump-laden answer to the Whistler Bike Park’s Aline trail, Mr. Black.
Designed to mirror the Crankworx Whistler Fox Air DH, the race was a 32-jump rip down the mountain and the winner, rocked up, signed up and dialed it in.
“They’ve used the hill really well. It’s quite a flat hill, but it still carries speed everywhere, so they’ve done a really good job,” said George BRANNIGAN (NZL), noting he hopes more pros sign on in years to come and the event builds.
Female winner Rae MORRISON (NZL), a top-10 Enduro World Series rider, said she loved it.
“That was my final event, so it was all about having fun, and after this I can be social and spectate,” she said.
Points are stacking up as the Crankworx season kicks off its four series events and the race for King and Queen of Crankworx. New Zealand’s very own Matt WALKER is coming on strong, leading the race for King with 225 points, while Casey BROWN (CAN) and Beerten are tied for queen with 250 points each.
Men’s winner, Crankworx Rotorua Pump Track presented by RockShox
1. Tomas LEMOINE (FRA)
2. Adrien LORONE (FRA)
3. Matt WALKER (NZL)
Women’s winner, Crankworx Rotorua Pump Track presented by RockShox
1. Jill KINTNER (USA)
2. Anneke BEERTEN (NED)
3. Tracey HANNAH (AUS)
Men’s winner, Crankworx Rotorua Air DH
1. George BRANNIGAN (NZL)
2. Louis HAMILTON (NZL)
3. Fabien COUSINIE (FRA)
Women’s winner, Crankworx Rotorua Air DH
1. Rae MORRISON (NZL)
2. Ronja HILL-WRIGHT (NZL)
3. Jessica JAMIESON (NZL)