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Cranworx steps up junior support with CWNEXT series

Young riders get their own race categories and more opportunities to compete in 2020

Cranworx CWNEXT

At Crankworx Whistler 2019, 16-year-old Jakob Jewett put in an incredible performance to advance all the way to the semi-final of the RockShox Ultimate Pump Track Challenge.

To do so, Jewett wasn’t competing against older juniors. The young Canadian was up against some of the biggest names in mountain biking. Red Bull Rampage winner Kyle Strait, former King of Crankworx Adrien Loron, Bas van Steenbergen, and soon-to-be-crowned Pump Track World Champion Tommy Zula were all on the start list.

CWNEXT Jakob Jewett
Jakob Jewett in the 2019 Pump Track Challenge. Credit: Fraser Britton / Crankworx 2019

Jewett ended up fourth in 2019. For 2020, he, and all the other Canadian juniors competing at Crankworx World Tour events, will have their own race category. There’s a strong list of young Canucks to watch for when CWNEXT launches this year too, including Tegan Cruz, Gracey Hemstreet, Tristan Lemire, Coen Skyrypnek, Mikey Delesalle, and Finley Kirschenmann, all of whom bring prior Kidsworx experience to the new series.

Cranworx CWNEXT
Jakob Jewett. Credit: Fraser Britton / Crankworx 2019

Crankworx has announced the CWNEXT series, a new, youth-focused category that will provide juniors opportunities to have their own, official Crankworx events at all CWT stops. CWNEXT is designed to recognize the effort these young athletes put into their sport by giving them their own race categories, open up more events to junior competition, and provide more encouragement to young riders to get out and race.

Vaea Verbeek on the Queen of Crankworx throne. Credit: Fraser Britton / Crankworx 2019

“I’m really happy to hear about this new platform. It is exactly what we need and it will be so cool to see our sport growing firsthand,” says the reigning Queen of Crankworx, Vaea Verbeeck. “It makes a huge difference to have mountain biking on athletes’ radars from a young age. It never occurred to me to try riding mountain bikes until my late teens when I bumped into people who were mountain bikers. I found my love in this sport and it has brought so many positive things into my life. I wish the same for others out there.”

Vaea Verbeeck. Credit: Fraser Britton / Crankworx 2019

RELATED: Vaea Verbeeck ascends to Queen of Crankworx throne

“More and more athletes are gearing their training toward the rigors of what it takes to compete at a Crankworx World Tour stop. Athletes like current Queen of Crankworx Vaea Verbeeck are focusing on the physical and mental preparation needed to take on multiple events in different disciplines, and on different bikes, sometimes all in one day. This is inspiring the next wave,” says Crankworx World Tour General Manager Darren Kinnaird, who was leading the charge when Kidsworx was first created in 2013. “There are so many other young riders waiting for their moment to shine. CWNEXT will give an entire crop of athletes, who have grown up alongside the festivals, the opportunity to develop into seasoned competitors.”

Cranworx CWNEXT
Crankworx WHistler 2019. Photo: Clint Trahan / Crankworx 2019

CWNEXT events will be open for riders age 13-18, men and women. Age categories will be broken down to 13-14, 15-16, and 17-18 year olds.

CWNEXT starts at the first Crankworx World Tour stop, in New Zealand. Crankworx Rotorua 2020, which runs March 1-8, will include the following CWNEXT events:

● 100% Dual Slalom Rotorua
● Rotorua Air DH presented by Bosch
● Crankworx Rotorua Downhill presented by Gull
● Rockshox Rotorua Pump Track Challenge presented by Torpedo7 (the first time a
category other than pro will be run for this event)

Cranworx CWNEXT
Crankworx Rotorua 2019. Photo: Jay French

Prior to CWNEXT, junior-age athletes could participate in Cranworx through Kidsworx events, or select junior category events in Crankworx disciplines. CWNEXT was created to bridge the gap between Kidswor and Crankwrox competition. Its goal is to provide pro-level style of competition and organization for junior racers under the Crankworx umbrella.

Cranworx CWNEXT
Squamish’s Jackson Goldstone goes big at Crankworx 2019. Photo: Clint Trahan

CWNEXT events will be run at all stops across the Crankworx World Tour in 2020.

Registration for Crankworx Rotorua and CWNEXT Rotorua events is now open, and full information for both is up on the Crankworx website now.