Two wins in two races in two days. Vaea Verbeeck’s 2019 season is off to an impressive start at Crankworx Rotorua.
Verbeeck was on the top step of the podium in New Zealand again Wednesday, adding a Fox Air DH win to Tuesday’s 100% Dual Slalom victory.
“I’m over the moon. I definitely couldn’t ask for more than two for two,” said the 28-year-old Canadian. “I was going for today, somehow won yesterday, and then was just focused on making sure that I made today happen. So now my goals are achieved I can just keep going.”
Anneke Beerten was second behind Verbeeck for again on Wednesday, but just barely. The Dutch rider was 2.4 second behind the winning time, but just 0.02 seconds ahead of New Zealand’s Shani Rawson. Beerten finished the fast, Fox Air DH course in 2:27.53. Rawson’s time was 2:27.55.
RELATED: How to watch: 2019 Crankworx Rotorua
With her second straight win, Verbeeck leads the season-long Queen of Crankworx competition, 200 points to Beertens 160.
Squamish’s Miranda Miller, racing for her new Kona Enduro team, finished sixth. The event is a warm up race for Miller, who takes the start of her first Enduro World Series event of 2019 this weekend in Rotorua. Casey Brown of Revelstoke, B.C. finished 16th.
Van Steenbergen pulls into early King of Crankworx lead
Mitch Ropelato made up for an off-night at the Dual Slalom with a unexpected win in the Fox Air DH, beating last years winner Mick Hannah by a slim, 0.2 second margin.
“I’m stoked. I’ve never won an Air DH,” said Ropelato. “After Slalom I thought ‘Oh man, I’m gonna leave here without a medal’ ‘cause I don’t normally do that good at Air DH…so to do good today is pretty sweet.”
Bas van Steenbergen narrowly landed his second straight podium finish at Crankworx Rotorua, finishing third behind Ropelato and Hannah. The Canadian had two New Zealanders hot on his heels, though. Last years King of Crankworx Sam Blenkinsop and Pivot Factory Racing’s Matt Walker both finished within a tenth of a second of van Steenbergen.
Making their first racing appearance of 2019, Rocky Mountain / Race Face’s Remi Gauvin and Jesse Melamed finished 15th and 16th in the Crankworx Rotorua Fox Air DH. Devinci’s Jonathan Lefrançois finished 21st. Like Miller, all three are preparing for this weekends EWS season opener.
With two podiums in two days, van Steenbergen pulls into a very early lead in the King of Crankworx race. His 140 points puts him 14 points up on Keegan Wright in second.
Crankworx Rotorua keeps rolling with the Oceana Whip-off championships and Mons Royal Speed & Style Rotorua on Thursday. The Speed and Style event will kick off the live streaming coverage of Crankworx, which you can pick up on Red Bull TV or crankworx.com.
2019 Crankworx Rotorua Fox Air DH – Women’s results
2019 Crankworx Rotorua Fox Air DH – Men’s results