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Jakob Jewett opens season on the podium at Crankworx DH in Rotorua

Pivot racer leads quartet of Canucks in top 20

Jakob Jewett races Crankworx Rotorua DH 2024 Photo by: Clint Trahan / Crankworx

B.C.’s Jakob Jewett started his 2024 campaign with a big result, finishing on the elite men’s podium at Crankworx Rotorua DH. The Pivot Factory Racing rider finished second behind Rotorua local and World Cup racer Lachlan Stevens-McNab.

Stevens-McNab’s Union teammate, Eliana Hulsebosch won the women’s downhill in Rotorua.

Photo: Clint Trahan

Elite Men: A Canadian breaks up Kiwi podium sweep

While Stevens-McNab was able to capitalize on the local advantage and take the elite men’s win on Saturday, Jewett managed to squeeze into second place. That disrupted the New Zealand podium sweep, with Sam Blenkinsop taking third. U.S. downhill racer-turned enduro champion Richie Rude finished fourth.

The result is especially impressive for Jewett coming from a Canadian winter to take on the Kiwi’s on home turf.

“I just wanted to have a clean run and see where my speed is at,” Jewett said after the race. “Obviously, the New Zealand and Australia boys have had a lot of time to bike, so coming from the Canada winter I just wanted to be in the mix, and yeah, super happy I’m on the podium.”

This isn’t the first big Crankworx result from Jewett. In 2023, he opened the new 1199 track, created in honor of Stevie Smith, with a win in the Canadian Open DH during Crakworx Whistler. Jakob’s younger brother and Pivot teammate, Dane Jewett, won the junior men’s race that same day.

Kasper Woolley
Kasper Woolley tries his hand at downhill during Crankworx. Photo: Clint Trahan

Jewett wasn’t the only Canadian showing early-season speed in Rotorua, either. Elliot Jamieson finished 14th for the new Commencal/7Mesh team. Tegan Cruz was 15th in his first race for his new NS Bikes UR squad. Kasper Woolley (YT Mob) continued his foray from enduro into downhill with a 16th aboard YT’s prototype DH rig.

Eliana Hulsebosch of The Union. Photo: Clint Trahan

Women: Kiwi sweep

The women’s downhill saw an all-Kiwi podium led by Eliana Hulsebosch (Union).

“It was really good in the first straight, and then I got to the first bog section and I hit a tree and got a little bit lose, but I quickly told myself to breathe, recompose myself and keep the tires moving which is always ideal in the muddy stuff,” Hulsebosch said after the race. “And then, it got sketchy a couple more times, one on the road crossing.”

Cube Factory Racing’s Jess Blewitt rolled across the line second with Rotorua local Shania Rawson in third.

Crankworx Rotorua DH combined podium. Photo: Clint Trahan

Results: 2024 Crankworx Rotorua – RockShox Taniwha Downhill

Elite men

1. Lachie Stevens-McNab (NZL) 2:45:612
2. Jakob Jewett (CAN) 2:47:934
3. Samuel Blenkinsop (NZL) 2:53:472

Elite women

1. Eliana Hulsebosch (NZL) 3:24:130
2. Jess Blewitt (NZL) 3:30:021
3. Shania Rawson (NZL) 3:34:907

Replay: Crankworx Rotorua Downhill

Crankworx is celebrating 10 years of racing in Rotorua. Sunday’s downhill kicks of a week of racing at the first stop of the 2024 Crankworx World Tour.