Rotorua local Jenna Hastings and Kiwi Michael Bias take podium finishes in Dual Slalom and Pump Track.

The wind was wild, the tracks tacky, but the riding was on point for today’s double header. The crowds came out for a spectacular display of racing as riders battled it out in the Specialised Dual Slalom and Pump Track Challenge presented by Torpedo 7 with Michael Bias and Rotorua local Jenna Hastings making it onto the podium.

Events at Skyline started with the popular locals’ days for the community on Wednesday and Thursday. This was an opportunity for Rotorua locals to get in on the action for the first time since 2020. The vibes were high with attendees enjoying the live onstage entertainment, the sunshine on the hill (the prime viewpoint for Pump Track), and plenty of signature opportunities with mountain biking’s elite. And don’t forget the chorus of cowbells.

Dual Slalom is a rivalry like no other; it’s a race of speed, skill, and intimidation. This exciting head-to-head format pushes the riders to their limits as they keep one eye on the track and the other on their opponent. It is also one of the few disciplines where riders choose the style of their bike to suit their preferences, which plays into their riding skills.

Jackson Frew

The Crankworx Dual Slalom track made its debut in 2020. After rain throughout the week, the track was ready to throw some curveballs with its 450 meters of berms, rollers, tabletops and one dirty spine with winds of up to 24 km per hour during the race and a track that changed by the minute.

Coming off the back of her Taniwha Downhill silver finish, local riding legend Jenna Hastings fought it out on home soil against Caroline Buchannan to land bronze and her second trip to the podium this week. It was a fierce competition, with Hasting pulling out all the stops to beat Buchanan, (who recently took out gold in Dual Slalom in Cairns) with her whole family trackside cheering her on.

“I’m stoked to be back on the podium, I don’t have too many expectations for Dual Slalom, I want to do well, but I’m like, “Okay, that’s okay,” and then coming up against Caroline, I was like, “Oh, that’s great,” because every time I’ve been up against her, she’s gotten the better of me, but stoked to get back on the podium.”

“The track changed. The top got better, the dirt got more packed, and we started moving much faster. The wind helped too, having a bit of a tailwind certainly helped because on Tuesday we had a headwind. But you had to hit the corners hard but not too hard or you’d crash, so it’s always a gamble, the corners were really challenging.”

Australian Jackson Frew rode flawlessly against Tomas Slavik. Frew was tight through the ruts and propelled himself across the flat and onto the top spot on the podium. Frew was also the only rider to bunny hop over a gate and commando roll over the finish line when he came off the bike in the semifinals.

Two of the most aggressive riders on the field today fought it out side by side with Bas van Steenbergen pulling out exceptional runs to snatch the bronze from Kiwi favourite Sam Blenkinsop’s grasp.

Jenna Hastings

When the chains come off, the game is on. Strength, momentum, and skill are the name of the game in the Pump Track arena where pedal-less power reigns supreme and a single mistake can cost the victory. This year’s pump track had four berms and seven rollers coming back through the middle with a big stall wall spine.

It was an upset for current King of Crankworx leader Bas van Steenbergen as Niels Bensink took the gold after a solid differential backing up his first-place qualification result.

Kiwi Michael Bias, four-time New Zealand BMX Champion, faced off against Gautier Jung and landed bronze on the podium with a 0.4 second lead.

“I love Crankworx, that’s why I come here to enjoy it. I’m actually on a break from BMX, well not a break but I’m not training at the moment, but Crankworx is always a good exception to get on the mountain bike and race against these guys that are honestly phenomenal. They are dedicating everything they’ve got towards this, and they are amazing.”

Caroline Buchanan followed up her win in Cairns with another gold victory against Jordy Scott. Buchanan has finished first or second in every pump track event this year, adding to her Rotorua Pump Track victory in 2021, making her a two-time Rotorua Pump Track Champion.

Jenna Hastings

Hastings was potentially still a bit too sticky after her champagne shower on the podium earlier in the day with Manon Veenstra using her BMX background to pull out some clean, strong pumping to snake bronze and a podium finish for her first ever Crankworx event.

Results – Specialised Dual Slalom

  1. Jackson Frew (AUS) // Martha Gill (GBR)
  2. Tomas Slavik (CZE) // Harriet Burbidge-Smith (AUS)
  3. Bas van Steenbergen (CAN) // Jenna Hastings (NZL)

Results – Pump Track Challenge

  1. Niels Bensink (NED) // Caroline Buchanan (AUS)
  2. Bas van Steenbergen (CAN) // Jordy Scott (USA)
  3. Michael Bias (NZL) // Manon Veenstra (NED)

Full results:

Tomorrow, catch Rockshox Rotorua Downhill broadcast live on Red Bull TV.

Photos for media use: Media Drive

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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