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 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.
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 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.
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.”
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|
|6||Kialani HINES||USA||Pivot, TLD, Maxxis|
|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|
Men’s Dual Slalom Results: Crankworx Rotorua 2019 (Top-16)
|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|