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Verbeeck and van Steenbergen win Air DH at Crankworx Summer Series

King and Queen top the podium in Cardrona as New Zealand road tour rolls on

Crankworx Summer Seriex N.Z. Cardrona Air DH

While winter is settling in up here in Canada, racing is still chugging along down under. Vaea Verbeeck and Bas van Steenbergen both landed wins at Crankworx Summer Series N.Z. For both Canadians, it’s their first win since winning the Queen and King of Crankworx title weeks ago in Rotorua.

The two Canucks took top honours in the Cardorona Air DH, the penultimate race of the roaming Crankworx Summer Series New Zealand. Casey Brown, another Canadian extending her race season with a trip to New Zealand, joined the royal pair on the podium. Brown finished third behind second place rider Jenna Hastings in the pro women’s race.

Crankworx Summer Seriex N.Z. Cardrona Air DH
Vaea Verbeeck. Photo: Clint Trahan / Crankworx Summer Series

Verbeeck builds speed towards win

“It was a challenge yesterday and then it was like a different challenge today” Verbeeck said of navigating conditions that ranged wildly during the week. Cardrona saw snow at the week’s start. By race day, the track was dry and running fast.

“The work was in practice. Yesterday was figuring out the jumps and clearing them. And I managed that in practice yesterday. So for seeding it was clean. For race day it was a lot faster, so we had to figure out how to squash them or brake enough not to overshoot them and at the race, same, trying to stay clean,” Verbeeck said, adding that it didn’t all go to plan. “On the first jump I think I way overshot and went nosey because I was braking into it. So right away, first jump, I was like ‘Tone it down’ because it was running a lot faster and you don’t want to brake off the lip, you want to brake beforehand.”

Crankworx Summer Seriex N.Z. Cardrona Air DH
Bas van Steenbergen. Photo: Clint Trahan / Crankworx Summer Series

Van Steenbergen out-classes international field

For Bas van Steenbergen, the win came with a new course record. The Canadian went into finals with his work cut out for him. Sam Blenkinsop, Kiwi DH icon, set the fastest time – and a course record in seeding. Van Steenbergen managed to respond in finals, edging out to a 3:20.50, just one tenth of a second faster than Belnki.

“I was not too sure if I could get him actually,” van Steenbergen said of Blenkinsop’s record in seeding. “He had a pretty decent gap on everyone yesterday. So I watched a tonne of GoPro footage and figured out a couple little lines. There were a couple things that I did a tiny bit different today, and just came in with more confidence on some of the turns. But it was hard. I knew I had to put down a heater of a run to beat him, so I’m stoked that it worked out. Just.”

Highlights: Cardrona Air DH – Crankworx Summer Series N.Z.

Results: Cardrona Air DH – Crankworx Summer Series N.Z.

Pro men’s podium

1. Bas van Steenbergen: 3:20.50
2. Sam Blenkinsop: 3:20.60
3. Tuhoto-Ariki Pene: 3:21.29

Pro women’s podium

1. Vaea Verbeeck: 3:47.08
2. Jenna Hastings: 3:47.24
3. Casey Brown: 3:49.49