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Local Kiwi legend, Matt Begg takes the Whip Off win, Emil Johansson earns the triple crown and the crowd was there to enjoy the last day of the action.

ROTORUA, NEW ZEALAND November 13, 2022 – The best freeride mountain bikers in the world came together for a showcase of elite aerial acrobatics in the Maxxis Slopestyle in memory of McGazza. Not for the faint-hearted and only for the invited, the athletes launched themselves into the heavens, amazing crowds and proving that they could handle the brand-new course with the final jump giving riders more amplitude than ever seen at Crankworx Rotorua.

This final Slopestyle event of the Crankworx World Tour was quite unique in comparison to the other three events with weather related delays causing a lack of practice time. The suspense had been building up to this event like that of a pressure cooker and it felt like an explosion of energy from the crowds and the riders as they were about to drop into finals.

One rider that most people arguably had a close eye on was Emil Johansson with the Triple Crown of Slopestyle on the line. Johansson worked so hard over the past month after his crash at the Crankworx Cairns Slopestyle event. Johansson followed the concussion protocol and rehabbed very diligently to get himself cleared to get back in action, and he really came out with a bang today.

“This is actually the first event in a while where I needed to calm myself down because we’d been riding so much,” Johansson said of his experience during the finals. “I was really prepared and really pumped for the event. And it was so much on the line here. For me to be able to put all the stuff down that I managed to put down and perform at the level I did, it feels surreal. Even though on the surface we might look calm, deep down we’re really prepared.”

The crowd went wild to see Johansson return from his concussion protocol with absolute cleanliness and technicality, spinning opposite directions, and tail whipping all directions. Johansson’s win also secured himself the 2022 Triple Crown of Slopestyle for the second year in a row.


Timothe Bringer took the second place position with a score of 89.5, getting himself the silver medal for today’s Slopestyle event and also securing the third place position for the Crankworx FMBA Slopestyle World Championship award.


Earlier in the day the people of Rotorua were treated to a Crankworx favourite, the TREK Official New Zealand Whip Off Championships presented by POC. It has been a great Whip Off season this year and today was no exception. The small but mighty group of riders persevered through the schedule changes and the challenging weather conditions to put on a sick show for the spectators. Local Kiwi legend, Matt Begg, maintained his first place position for the Crankworx Rotorua Whip Off earning himself the gold medal again today.


“Pretty stoked,” Begg said of his win. “I was just having fun with my friends and I happened to go in behind my friend Dave and then Allan, so I just got a good wind which made me go a bit more sideways. I am just stoked for everyone that we all got to ride together. We obviously have been battling with the rain this week so the course was a little bit tougher to ride but we made do with what we got and that’s what it’s all about.”

And that’s a wrap to the Crankworx 2022 season. If Crankworx Rotorua, the final stop on the World Tour, could be described in just a few phrases it would be mud showers, rain showers and champagne showers. The atmosphere was electric onsite with fans braving all weather conditions for a chance to rub shoulders with their icons. Racers embraced the turbulent conditions to put on one of the most impressive performances of skills, spills and plenty of thrills seen in Rotorua.


It takes the help of the whole community to build and run an event of this scale. As a destination and as a community, Rotorua has pulled out all the stops, resource and effort to ensure this event runs smoothly, including the aid of 325 volunteers and support of 58 expo sponsor and food vendor sites within the festival. Crankworx Rotorua Event Director Ariki Tibble reflected on the past week of elite racing and the contribution of the community in Rotorua.


“It’s been 20 months since we delivered the last full scale Crankworx Rotorua event and it’s hard to find the words to express how it has felt to have so many international manuhiri back in our midst.”

“I think hosting visitors is part of our DNA, it brings out the best in us, and we feel more whole when we are doing it.”

“Over the last few days, I’ve seen our athletes, volunteers, media, management, staff and suppliers bringing their very best to the table in exceptionally challenging circumstances.”


Volunteer Manager, Daniela Olphert has spent the week with the amazing people who give their time with a passion for the sport and are the lifeblood of the event. “The volunteers turn up each day with smiles on their faces rain, hail or shine. They are like one big family – looking out for each other, the athletes, the spectators and everyone attending the event. We are so grateful for the time the volunteers donate and I’ve watched them this week giving their all for the mountain biking community to do whatever it takes to deliver a ten out of ten event”.


Crankworx Rotorua saw 80+ media across the week, trackside capturing moments. The media were welcomed and hosted by RotoruaNZ in the Volcanic Hills Winery at the base of the event site for the week.


Haydn Marriner, Marketing Manager, RotoruaNZ “To host the media for the premier mountain biking festival of Aotearoa is a fantastic opportunity for us to demonstrate our unique  manaakitanga as a destination. We set up the media experience as a media marae, to better reflect who we are and what we are about”.

Crankworx may be over for this year, but you don’t need to wait long for your mountain biking adrenaline hit. The Crankworx Summer Series kicks off with four prime locations from February 28 – March 12, 2023 with all roads leading back to Rotorua for Crankworx in March 2023.


Crankworx Summer Series is the ultimate mountain biking road trip. We’re talking Crankworx-calibre competition with a grassroots vibe at four destinations around New Zealand’s South Island. Events will give local and up-and-coming riders a chance to race with national and international heroes, providing a path for potential Crankworx World Tour greatness, and a real good time along the way.

“It has been amazing to have Crankworx Rotorua back and we can’t wait to reset the calendar in March as we return to our original position as the first stop on the Crankworx World Tour for 2023” said Tibble.


Events & Locations:

  • ENDURO – Alexandra, NZ – 28 February – 1 March, 2023
  • DUAL SLALOM – Wanaka, NZ – 4 March – 5 March 2023
  • DOWNHILL – Cardrona, NZ – 7 March – 9 March, 2023
  • PUMP TRACK – Queenstown, NZ – 11 March – 12 March, 2023


For more information on the Crankworx Summer Series and Crankworx Rotorua 2023, check out the website:


Results – TREK Official New Zealand Whip Off Championships presented by POC

  1. Matt Begg (NZL)
  2. Peter Kaiser (AUT)
  3. Allan Cooke (USA)


Results – Maxxis Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza

  1. Emil Johansson (SWE)
  2. Timothe Bringer (FRA)
  3. Max Fredriksson (SWE)

Results – King & Queen of Crankworx 

  1. Bas van Steenbergen (CAN) // Caroline Buchanan (AUS)
  2. Tomas Lemoine (FRA) // Vaea Verbeeck (CAN)
  3. Samuel Blenkinsop (NZL) // Jordy Scott (USA)


Full results:


Photos for media use: Slopestyle Flickr
Photos for media use: Whip Off Flickr
About Crankworx Rotorua 

Crankworx Rotorua took flight in March of 2015, becoming the first festival outside of North America and Europe. Since then, it’s played host to some of the most memorable moments in Crankworx history and is now referred to “the soul of Crankworx” due to the unique ability to combine riding with culture. This year, Crankworx Rotorua will once again be the final stop of the World Tour, celebrating the season’s champions, including the crowning of the King and Queen of Crankworx.




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