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Bas van Steenbergen takes first pump track win in Rotorua

Crankworx heats up with tight racing in New Zealand

After an intense morning of close batttles, Bas van Steenbergen will leave Rotorua with his first Crankworx pump track win. The Canadian narrowly edged out New Zealand’s own Billy Meaclem in a best-of-two runs format.

Van Steenbergen was joined on the podium by two-time Olympian Caroline Buchanan. The Australian earned her sixth win, but first at Crankworx since 2018.

San Steenbergen (left) versus Pene (foreground right) in the pump track semi-final. Photo: Clint Trahan

Van Steenbergen versus the locals

To earn his first Crankworx pump track win, Bas van Steenbergen faced string of top Kiwi talents. These included the national BMX champion Michael Bias, Tuhoto-Ariki Pene and Billy Meaclem, the winner in the previous day’s speed and style event.

“It was a super fun race,” van Steenbergen sad after winning finale against Meaclem by just 0.138 seconds. “I think over the years it’s gotten a little flatter. It was hard to carry speed through some of the sections…I got the speed for the last straight in the last two S turns, and I think that speed kind of carried me through to the finish. That’s what really made the difference today.”

Caroline Buchanan fighting her way to pump track finals in Rotorua. Photo: Clint Trahan

Buchanan bounces back after speed and style crash

In the women’s race, Caroline Buchanan had to battle through close contests with Jenna Hastings to get to the final against Kialani Hines. Beating Hastings, who has been on fire in Rotorua, gave the two-time Olympian confidence that she had speed after hitting the deck hard the previous day during the speed and style competition.

“I think surprisingly the body pulled up good. I went into one of the hot pools yesterday and hoped that the minerals would do their magic. I’m grateful that my body is strong and fit and healthy and I can take those hits like I did yesterday. I’m grateful I put in all those gym hours. I think that really does pay off when you do have falls and you have to get back up the next day.” said Buchannan, adding about Hastings: “She’s got a really fast start and she’s young and fit and hungry. To knock her out and then coming into the final I felt more relaxed against Kialani.”

Kialani Hines going head-to-head with Shania Rawson in the women’s semi-final. Photo: Clint Trahan

Hines had to get by Shania Rawson, also flying this week at home in New Zealand.

Buchanan, left, pushes ahead of Hines on the final straight. PHoto: Jay French

The final, though, was the closest race of the day. After two rounds, just 0.019 seconds separated Buchanan and Hines, with Buchanan taking the win.

“I think my last Crankworx Pump Track and last win was 2018. It’s been a little while. I missed it. Watched a lot of the live feeds of Crankworx over the last few years, so to actually be back it feels really refreshing. Grateful that we could get it in with the weather today.”