Stellar Athlete Lineup Confirmed for Crankworx Rotorua’s 10-Year Anniversary – Celebrating a Decade in Aotearoa

Rotorua, New Zealand, February 28, 2024 – The adrenaline is set to spike from March 16-24 as the Crankworx World Tour returns with a bang to the beautiful landscapes of Rotorua, marking a decade of high-flying mountain bike action in Aotearoa New Zealand. This year’s festival not only commemorates its 10th anniversary but also introduces a groundbreaking milestone with the inaugural women’s competition in the Crankworx FMBA Slopestyle World Championship. 


As a highlight on the global mountain bike calendar, Crankworx Rotorua will once again draw the world’s mountain bike elite. The festival kicks off in the Whakarewarewa and Tītokorangi forests with the RockShox Taniwha Downhill on the first weekend, before it moves to Skyline Rotorua for the remaining disciplines. The lineup features the Air Downhill, the Official New Zealand Whip-Off Championships, and the Speed & Style event throughout the week, and is being topped off on the second weekend by double-header Saturday with the Specialized Dual Slalom and the Crankworx Rotorua Pump Track Challenge, and crowd-pleaser Maxxis Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza on Sunday. 

In addition to setting the stage for these awe-inspiring performances of the mountain bike elite, Crankworx Rotorua is a beacon for the next generation of riders. There will be CWNext and Kidsworx events throughout the festival, providing kids and young riders with a platform to ride and compete within the Crankworx framework. Crankworx Rotorua has always put an emphasis on fostering the youth and local communities. This year, the North Island Schools MTB Championships will be held throughout Crankworx Rotorua, with co-hosts, Rotorua Mountain Bike Club, opening the stage to student riders from across the island. Once again, there will be plenty of educational opportunities as well, inviting teachers to take their students on a field trip to take a peek behind the curtains of Crankworx Rotorua with the well-established Educate Program. 


Who to Watch at Crankworx Rotorua 2024 


The Crankworx World Tour shines a light on local legend and reigning King of Crankworx Tuhoto-Ariki Pene. After dominating performances last year, Pene is a top contender in the Rotorua Pump Track Challenge, the Specialized Dual Slalom and the RockShox Taniwha Downhill. Securing victories at the 2023 Pump Track events at Crankworx Whistler and Rotorua, clinching a close second at Crankworx Innsbruck, and triumphing at Crankworx Summer Series New Zealand 2023 in Queenstown has solidified the King of Crankworx’ reputation not just in this discipline but also in both Dual Slalom and Downhill events. 

Fellow kiwi rider Jenna Hastings is another athlete to keep an eye on. Registered to compete in the RockShox Taniwha Downhill, the Specialized Dual Slalom, the Pump Track Challenge, Speed & Style, Air Downhill and the New Zealand Whip-Off Championship at Crankworx Rotorua, she is poised to make waves across disciplines, particularly in the Downhill event where she secured second place in 2023. 


Women Writing History in Slopestyle 


In addition to these two Aotearoa riders, spectators on site or at home, following the broadcast on Red Bull TV, won’t want to miss the inaugural Slopestyle World Championship women’s event. The freeride mountain bike world is primed to watch the Maxxis Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza on February 24, and this year marks an extra special occasion, as it will be the first Diamond Level event sanctioned by the Freeride Mountain Bike Association (FMBA) ever to host the men’s and women’s category. While the men’s category is packed with the world’s best freeride mountain bike athletes, led by the 2023 Triple Crown winner Emil Johansson (SWE), Dawid Godziek (POL), Erik Fedko (GER), and Nicholi Rogatkin (USA), the women’s category is in no way a second fiddle to that lineup. The event will feature Aotearoa athlete Robin Goomes, currently ranked first on the FMBA world Tour standings, alongside Harriet Burbidge-Smith (AUS), Natasha Miller (CAN), Shealan Reno (USA) and wildcard winner and Crankworx staple Caroline Buchanan (AUS). Patricia Druwen, the remarkable 17-year-old German rider and 2023 Red Bull Rookie of the Year, will also be starting in the Slopestyle field and is to be considered serious competition. 


In addition to the Crankworx FMBA Slopestyle World Championship, all riders in the women’s category are competing for the Triple Crown in Slopestyle. Harriet Burbidge-Smith is excited about this development: “I think having the Crankworx Triple Crown and overall title is a massive thing. I’m really glad that Crankworx didn’t decide to just dip their foot in only a little bit in terms of women’s slopestyle, but they really went all-in with everything with support, with the same level of competition and both risk and reward for the women which I think is amazing and really motivates me to be at the level that I want to be at. It’s exactly what the sport needs for us, and it’s going to show so much over the next ten years.” 


A Decade of Crankworx Rotorua: A Celebration of Mountain Biking Excellence 


“Celebrating 10 Years of Crankworx Rotorua is a monumental milestone for us” says Ariki Tibble, Crankworx Rotorua Managing Director. “So many hands have helped carry the torch along the way and it’s that combined and sustained effort that see’s us standing here today.” 


With festival passes now on sale, fans worldwide are invited to witness the spectacle either in person or through the live broadcast on Red Bull TV. See here for the most current schedule. 


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