Spirits were high, the racing was on point and Hecklers Puddle a thing of the past

ROTORUA, NEW ZEALAND, November 12, 2022 – After a thunderous morning, the clouds opened to allow rays of sunshine to bathe an amped up crowd on the second last day of Crankworx Rotorua. The expo was pumping, riders were stoked to be out on the tracks putting on one hell of a show, the spectators had an energy of their own and the King and Queen of Crankworx reigned supreme. We’ve seen rain, thunder, lightning, and sunshine all in one day, but that didn’t stop crowds from flocking to see their favourite elite athletes go head-to-head in CLIF Speed & Style.

The crowd favourite Speed & Style event was the ultimate showdown of strategy, speed, style, and skills. Speed & Style challenges athletes to out-race and out-trick their opponents in this head-to-head showdown combining elements of slalom and slopestyle. The aim is to go fast and look stylish while you’re at it but make the wrong call and it’s all over.

Tomas Lemoine secured a clean sweep of all four Crankworx Speed & Style events this year with a gold podium finish against Peter Kaiser. Kaiser fumbled while attempting a backflip double bar spin and lost contact with the bike in their first run. Even the rain in their second run wasn’t enough to throw the Frenchman off his lead, as he dug deep into his bag of tricks and came through clutch.

Kiwis Sam Blenkinsop and Joe Simpson also had a crack at Lemoine in the semis, with Simpson throwing down some sick decades and Blinky facing the reigning champ in his first ever crack at Speed & Style. The Kiwis will give anything a go!

“In Speed & Style for me the faster guys are always the guys that make me stressed because I know they are going to be near me or probably in front of me and I’m going to have to not miss my tricks to make sure the gap is getting the advance. I would say today that was Blinky, I’ve never raced against him in Speed & Style, so it was pretty fun.” said Lemoine of his match-up with Blenkinsop.

Simpson took on Bas van Steenbergen in the bronze medal match-up and kept him honest, but van Steenbergen was sending it, leaving every ounce of energy he had on the course to trick his way onto the podium with a silver finish.

It was short and sweet for the Women’s competition, with only three ladies competing for the top spot on the podium. Caroline Buchanan gave it her all today, pulling out double tuck no handers and combos to beat Vaea Verbeeck and take out gold for the second time this week. Harriet Burbidge-Smith faced off against Verbeeck and backflipped her way onto the podium, taking home the bronze.

Today was also the start of a year-long celebration for the 2022 King and Queen of Crankworx. Bas van Steenbergen was crowned King of Crankworx for a second year in a row—the first ever two-time reigning King. It was the tightest race for Crankworx Queen seen on the circuit, with Caroline Buchanan and Jordy Scott tied for first until Scott sustained a shoulder injury after she crashed out in practice. Something Buchanan is all too familiar with, having suffered a shoulder injury herself this year.

It’s back-to-back action for the last day of Crankworx Rotorua tomorrow with the Trek Official New Zealand Whip-Off Championships presented by POC followed by Maxxis Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza. Festivalgoers are set to see the biggest whips yet with a jump size of 15 feet at this year’s Whip Off event.

The highly anticipated event is not broadcast, so you will have to be there to catch the action as athletes launch themselves into the heavens, turn the bike on a 90-degree angle, and raise their tyres to greet the horizon. Whip Off is the delicious entrée to a scrumptious main event, with Maxxis Slopestyle finishing off an epic week of riding with a high-altitude showcase from 14 of the world’s freeriding elite.

Current standings:

Results – CLIF Speed & Style

  1. Tomas Lemoine (FRA) // Caroline Buchanan (AUS)
  2. Peter Kaiser (AUT) // Vaea Verbeeck (CAN)
  3. Bas van Steenbergen (CAN) // Harriet Burbidge-Smith (AUS)

Full results:

You have one more chance to join the last day of the action in Rotorua. Grab your tickets online now and stay up to date with all things Crankworx:


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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