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Verbeeck starts Crankworx campaign with win in Rotorua Dual Slalom

Dust and drama as van Steenbergen takes second behind local New Zealand rider

Crankworx Rotorua

There was dust and drama at thee100% Dual Slalom event on the opening night of Crankworx Rotorua.

Canadian downhill national champion Vaea Verbeeck came away clean, landing on the top step of the podium in the women’s dual slalom event. Verbeeck described her first Crankworx dual slalom win as “amazing, but unexpected.”

Crankworx Rotorua 2019
Vaea Verbeeck takes her first Dual Slalom win at Crankworx. Image: Fraser Britton / Crankworx 2019
Crankworx Rotorua 100% Dual Slalom women’s race

“I’m still trying really hard, and sometimes I can just blow it,” said Verbeeck. “I definitely had a few drift moments out there…I feel like with experience you learn to be super clean, so I know I have a lot of work still to do. Today I think I had a lot of luck behind me, along with a lot of work. I did work for this.”

It puts the Canadian out to an early lead in the season long Queen of Crankworx competition. Verbeeck was third in that at the end of 2018.

Crankworx Rotorua
Tahnée Seagrave qualified fast, but went down in her race run. Fraser Britton / Crankworx 2019

Finishing behind Verbeeck in the gold medal final was Dutch enduro racer Anneke Beerten, who take silver in the opening round of Crankworx Rotorua racing. World Cup downhill racer Tahnée Seagrave set the fastest time in qualifying, but fell in her semi-final against Verbeeck. The ascendant U.K. gravity racer recovered in her bronze medal match up to take the final podium spot ahead of New Zealand’s Kate Weatherly.

While she’s happy with her unexpected early success, Verbeeck is staying focused. “Tomorrow’s race is my favourite, so I want to make sure I do well at that.” The Canadian takes on the Rotorua Air DH on Wednesday, followed by a busy few days of Crankworx events in New Zealand.

Crankworx 2019
Keegan Wright claiming the first New Zealand win at Crankworx Rotorua 2019. Image: Fraser Britton / Crankworx 2019
Crankworx Rotorua 100% Dual Slalom men’s race

Local New Zealand rider claimed the country’s first home win of 2019 Crankworx series in the events first event. It wasn’t an easy road to the final, though. Wright had to make his way through Australian downhill legend Mick Hannah and Collin Hanson, the winner of the Whistler Pump Track event in 2018.

Then the action got really exciting. Up against Kyle Straight in the semi-final, Wright pushed the Dual Slalom and freeride veteran to a dead heat in the first match up. In front of a very supportive crowd of thousands of Kiwi’s, Wright won his second race by a razor thin 0.07 second margin, advancing him to the final.

Crankworkx Rotorua 2019
Bas van Steenbergen was looking fast, but went down in his final against Wright. Image: Fraser Britton / Crankworx 2019

Up against Canadian Bas van Steenbergen, it was once again dust that was the deciding factor. Pushing hard for the win, van Steenbergen slid out, sending Wright away on for the win. Van Steenbergen finished his run to take second.

“The atmosphere out there was awesome and the track was good. It felt like every one was the hardest pedal of my life, but it’s good training doing all that pedalling for the Enduro World Series,” said Wright, “I can’t wait for the next five or six events coming up this week.”

Crankworx Rotorua
Rotorua Dual Slalom men’s and women’s podium. Image: Fraser Britton / Crankworx 2019
Women’s Dual Slalom results: Crankworx Rotorua 2019
1 Vaea VERBEECK CAN Rocky Mountain, Deity
2 Anneke BEERTEN NED Specialized – DT Swiss – Alpinestars
3 Tahnee SEAGRAVE GBR Transition / Muc-Off Factory Racing
4 Kate WEATHERLY NZL Devinci NZ, Leatt NZ, ADU Industries, Maxxis NZ
5 Danielle BEECROFT AUS Pivot
6 Kialani HINES USA Pivot, TLD, Maxxis
7 Camille BALANCHE SUI Devinci
8 Rachel STRAIT USA GT, SRAM, Kenda Tires, Rynopower, Ergon Bike, Stans No Tubes, Deity Components, HT Pedals, Sombrio Cartel, Oakley, Yakima Racks
9 Shania RAWSON NZL Action Downunder, Cycles Devinci
11 Casey BROWN CAN C3 project, CLIF, Dakine, Sram, Bell Helmets
12 Emilie SIEGENTHALER SUI Pivot Factory Racing, 100%
13 Chloe TAYLOR GBR Calibre bikes
14 Morgane CHARRE FRA Bergamont Hayes Factory Racing
15 Ellie SMITH AUS Dayzero bike & Dharco clothing
16 Ronja HILL-WRIGHT AUS Mons Royale
Casey Brown racing Dual Slalom. Image: Fraser Britton / Crankworx 2019
Men’s Dual Slalom Results: Crankworx Rotorua 2019 (Top-16)
1 Keegan WRIGHT NZL Devinci
2 Bas VAN-STEENBERGEN CAN Hyper Bikes, Fox, Maxxis
3 Kyle STRAIT USA Commencal, SRAM
4 Barry NOBLES USA Fly racing. Maxxis tires. ODI grips
5 Billy MEACLEM NZL Trek NZ, Evo Cycles, CP Gang, Blue Shark
6 Adrien LORON FRA Norco, SRAM, 100%, iXS
7 Luca COMETTI USA Full Speed Ahead, Bolle eyewear, Kenda Tires, Commencal Bikes
8 Collin HUDSON USA Airborne Bicycles, Fly Racing
9 Matt WALKER NZL Pivot Factory Racing, 100%
10 Austin WARREN USA Evil Bicycles,
11 Matthew STERLING USA Pivot Cycles
12 Mick HANNAH AUS Polygon UR
13 Fabien COUSINIE FRA Polygon UR
14 Martin MAES BEL GT Factory Racing
15 Mitch ROPELATO USA Santa Cruz, SRAM
16 Daniel FRANKS NZL
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