String of Athletes in Contention For King of Crankworx

Season-long gravity mountain biking contest pushing talent to go above, beyond and into new disciplines.

In the two years since Crankworx launched its season-long test of skill and staying-power, there has yet to be an odds-on favorite for King of Crankworx.

Coming into 2016, reigning King Tomas Slavik (CZE) wasn’t even on the radar, let alone a contender for the toughest competition in gravity mountain biking. In accumulating more points than any other athlete in the men’s field, however, the former Fourcross World Champion has set himself a world apart—and put a bullseye on his back for 2017.

“There are so many big names charging for this title, and it’s (worth) so many events and points, it’s almost impossible to say who will be the guy at the end,” says Slavik (CZE), who fully admits the idea of “getting ready” in the off-season goes out the window when comes to the Crown.

 King Tomas Slavik coasts to his coronation with a smooth Ultimate Pump Track Challenge presented by RockShox run, which took him to the semi-finals and a 40-point, fifth place finish.

 King Tomas Slavik coasts to his coronation with a smooth Ultimate Pump Track Challenge presented by RockShox run, which took him to the semi-finals and a 40-point, fifth place finish.

With less than a month to go before the first of four Crankworx festivals gets underway, Slavik acknowledges it's anyone’s game once more this season as there are still so many variables at play.

Crankworx will include 23 competitions, in six disciplines, in the points tally for the title. It has tweaked the competition, removing the whip-off and Whistler’s cross-country event, and adding two new air downhills, based on the iconic Fox Air DH in Whistler. And just as it was last season, earning the Crown will require a minimum of two disciplines. 

Adrien Loron during his second-place finishing run of the Ultimate Pump Track Challenge presented by Rockshox at Crankworx Whistler. Photo: Sean St Denis

Adrien Loron during his second-place finishing run of the Ultimate Pump Track Challenge presented by Rockshox at Crankworx Whistler. Photo: Sean St Denis

The frontrunners have taken the hint and started to expand their repertoire of strengths, knowing it's going to take more to hit the scoreboard. And the challenge appears to be reshaping the face of gravity competition.

Discovered on the Crankworx Les 2 Alpes pump track, at 19 years old, the first Pump Track World Tour ChampionAdrien Loron (FRA), has just ventured into downhill, racing Red Bull Valparaiso Urban DH in Chile and the iXS DH Cup in Bariloche last month, in hopes of improving on his streak as a frontrunner.

The inaugural King of Crankworx, Bernard Kerr (GBR), was injured training for the Mons Royale Dual Speed and Style, knocking him out of contention right out of the gate last season, but he isn’t backing down. After succeeding with a scattergun approach in 2015—with strong finishes in pump track and dual speed and style—he’ll be gunning for his strength and piling on the downhills. 

“I will, for sure, be still going for all-out speed to put me in contention of the King of Crankworx title again as this is definitely what helped me win it back in 2015,” he says. “There are some new rules now, and different events, and more stops, that I feel are going to play to my advantage. I really can’t wait to get it underway and get my Crown back.”

Fortunately for fans who love the chase, Kerr’s strategy will have plenty of followers.There are more downhill events than any other discipline in this year’s competition—and more downhill athletes vying for the Crown. 

And so the year closed, with Queen Jill Kintner and King Tomas Slavik, standing atop the stage for their coronation. Photo: Sean St Denis

And so the year closed, with Queen Jill Kintner and King Tomas Slavik, standing atop the stage for their coronation. Photo: Sean St Denis

Crankworx Rotorua Broadcast schedule:

Mons Royale Dual Speed and Style
Thursday, March 30
17h00–19h00 NZDT
6h00–8h00 CEST

Wednesday, March 29
9:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. PDT

Rotorua Pump Track Challenge presented by RockShox
Friday, March 31
19h00–21h00 NZDT
8h00–10h00 CEST

Thursday, March 30
11:00 p.m. – 1 a.m. (Friday, March 31 – Saturday, April 1) PDT

Crankworx Rotorua Downhill presented by iXS
Saturday, April 1
16h00–18h00 NZDT
5h00–7h00 CEST

Friday, March 31
8:00 p.m. – 10 p.m. PDT

Crankworx Rotorua Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza
Sunday, April 2
11:30–14:30 NZST
01h30–4h30 CEST

Saturday, April 1
4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. PDT

All four events in the quest for the Triple Crown of Slopestyle are broadcast LIVE on all your devices exclusively on Red Bull TV. The Rotorua Slopestyle event, the Crankworx Rotorua Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza, is the finale of the festival, on April 1 and April 2, 2017, depending on time zone.
 

Matt Walker takes it airborne in the Crankworx Rotorua Downhill presented by iXS. Photo: Sean St Denis

Matt Walker takes it airborne in the Crankworx Rotorua Downhill presented by iXS. Photo: Sean St Denis