Emil Johansson made sure the 2022 Crankworx World Tour ended on a high note on Sunday, winning the slopestyle event in Rotorua and, with that, the Triple Crown of Slopestyle.
Griffin Paulson puts Canada on the board
Griffin Paulson was the lone Canadian on the start list for Sunday’s slopestyle event in Rotorua. After a big seventh place at Crankworx Cairns, the Prince George, B.C. rider finished 13th in New Zealand.
Emil Johansson comeback earns the Triple Crown
Coming into Sunday’s Crankworx finale, all eyes were on Emil Johansson. The Swede won the first two rounds of Crankworx World Tour, at Innsbruck and Whistler’s Red Bull Joyride, putting him within reach of the Triple Crown of Slopestyle. The title, which goes to any rider who wins three Crankworx slopestyle events in a single season, had only been won twice before. Once by Nicolai Rogatkin and once, in 2021, by Johansson.
That campaign looked like it might be derailled after a big crash took out the Swede on his first run at Crankworx in Cairns, Aus. Johansson focused on his recovery, following concussion protocols diligently in order to get cleared to return to competition in New Zealand.
The Swede rolled out off of the start platform as if he hadn’t missed a day on his bike.
“This is actually the first event in a while where I needed to calm myself down because we’d been riding so much,” Johansson said of finding the right headspace for finals. “I was really prepared and really pumped for the event. And it was so much on the line here. For me to be able to put all the stuff down that I managed to put down and perform at the level I did, it feels surreal. Even though on the surface we might look calm, deep down we’re really prepared.”
All riders had to deal with a challenging lead-in to the event. Rain kept riders off of the course more than usual and, with upgrades from Elevate Trail Building, there were new features from years past.
“It got really tricky for everyone,” Johansson said of managing the weather conditions in preparation for the finals. “I was trying to like, make decisions without even trying things on specific jumps like okay, what would work best for me here?”
What ended up working was a 360 triple tail whip, a first in competition for Johansson, the crowning jewel on a technically stunning run. The run earned Johansson a score of 92.75, the win in Rotorua Slopestyle and, with that, his second-straight Triple Crown of Slopestyle title.
Timothe Bringer slotted into second place with an 89.5 while Max Fredriksson’s 86.5 was enough for the third and final podium position in the Maxxis Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza.
Lemoine leaps over Blenki in King competition
The Slopestyle wasn’t the only event going on on Sunday. Thomas Lemoine was the only rider in the event also in contention for the season-long King of Crankworx title. While Bas van Steenbergen had first place locked down after a podium in Speed and Style on Saturday, the French rider was still in the running for a podium finish.
Finishing fifth on Sunday catapulted Lemoine into second in the King of Crankworx standings, just 32 points ahead of Sam Blenkinsop, who moves into third.
Replay: Crankworx Rotorua Slopestyle 2022
Results – Maxxis Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza
- Emil Johansson (SWE) – 92.75
- Timothe Bringer (FRA) – 89.5
- Max Fredriksson (SWE) – 86.5
Results – King & Queen of Crankworx
- Bas van Steenbergen (CAN) – 787 // Caroline Buchanan (AUS) – 926
- Tomas Lemoine (FRA) – 665 // Vaea Verbeeck (CAN) – 852
- Samuel Blenkinsop (NZL) – 632 // Jordy Scott (USA) – 826