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Published on April 3rd, 2017 | by adventuremag


Crankworx – Three podium spots and three Kiwi


Kiwi athlete Wyn Masters officially lived up to his name Sunday, winning the first major race of Crankworx Rotorua, the GIANT Toa Enduro, by mastering a truly gnarly course.

Weather reports predicting rain would hit early in the day proved all too accurate as the racers, not half an hour into the race, found themselves giving up mint-condition tracks for messy mud bogs capable of cobbling even the best riders.

Photo Crankworx

“My toughest stage was three, but it was the stage I was most looking forward to. Someone told me I was second in the race at the top, and then I tried to go way too hard, and it was the biggest mess. I’ve never seen that stage look like that – I couldn’t get out of the ruts,” said Masters.

The track in question, Hatu Patu, was billed as crash and carnage central even on a sunny day, and having bounced off the bike pretty quickly, Masters was under the impression he was out of contention until hearing he was just 20 seconds behind his brother, Eddie Masters, going into Stage 6.

“I would have been stoked to be on the podium with him, but I had to be above him,” said Wyn, noting he poured on the gas.

This is the first time at the top of the podium for Masters in the Enduro World Series and Crankworx, and he was, in the end, joined by his brother, who took third place.

Meanwhile, fellow Kiwi, and last year’s winner, Matt Walker, was thrilled to pull into second for this first big race of the season. After winning the GIANT Toa Enduro last year, Walker, a King of Crankworx contender, injured his hand and spent much of 2016 in recovery, leaving him hoping to make a comeback.

“I know it’s a really long season, so starting strong wasn’t really a focus, but it was definitely in the back of my mind,” he said. “This is something that I wanted to achieve this year – definitely some good momentum today.”

If there was one man who couldn’t seem to catch his rhythm, it was 2016 Enduro World Series Champion Richie Rude (USA), who finished 20th. Seeded in top spot coming into the race, Rude had the misfortune of riding last on the well-worn trails.

“I would say I did the best I could have… there were three, four hundred people in front of me just chewing the tracks up… it’s hard to go last,” said Rude.

Weather drastically affected the results of the race, which wasn’t set to be easy either way. This year’s GIANT Toa saw the athletes ride 64-kilometres, with 2,079 metres of elevation drop and seven stages of racing. None of the top-30 EWS riders hit the podium, though the women’s field held steady to predictions.

Enduro World Series Champion Cecile Ravanel (FRA) absolutely annihilated the field in the women’s race, finishing three minutes up and winning all but one stage. Pleased with her results, she admitted she had nerves coming into the day.

“It was the first international race of the year, so it’s hard to say if I’m in good shape or not,” she said.

Gambling correctly she would need a tire set-up for mud, she won the first six stages handily, but nevertheless looked exhausted by the time her seven-plus hours of riding finished at Village Green on the edge of Lake Rotorua. The one stage she left on the table, Stage 7, went to Katy Winton (GBR)—her first EWS stage win ever.

Ines Thoma and Anita Gehrig, second and third respectively, remained consistent throughout, Thoma remaining in the top three or four from stages two through seven, and Gehrig never slipping further than sixth spot in the same stages. They finished 16th and 18th on the first stage in the pouring rain as carnage ensued among the rest of the pack.

Men’s results:
1. Wyn Masters (NZL)                 37:31.72
2. Matt Walker (NZL)                  37:35.40
3. Eddie Masters (NZL)                              37:37.95

Women’s results:
1. Cecile RAVANEL (FRA)       44:36.63
2. Ines THOMA (GER)                                47:51.65
3. Anita GEHRIG (SUI)                               48:25.26

A complete list of GIANT Toa Enduro results can be found on

Crankworx Rotorua will be broadcast LIVE beginning on Thursday in Rotorua, Wednesday in North America and Europe. Here is the complete 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

A complete schedule of events for Crankworx Rotorua can be found HERE.

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