PHOTOS AND RESULTS FROM THE CRANKWORX ROTORUA DOWNHILL
Photos by Clint Trahan
ROTORUA, NEW ZEALAND
The 2023 Crankworx World Tour is now underway in Rotorua’s Whakarewarewa Forest, where the RockShox Taniwha Downhill kicked off the event.
Loic Bruni won the Elite Men’s title in the Rotorua Downhill
Five-time world champion Loic Bruni picked up the Elite Men’s downhill win with the fastest time of 3:00.348. “It was really good,” Bruni said of his winning run. “The first day of practice was pretty hectic and super difficult because of the rain. Today my run was pretty late in the day so it was tough to stay in the headspace especially with it getting darker in the woods. I did pretty good on the top sections, but I couldn’t really adapt to the track. I was a little bit off pace and off rhythm most of the lap but still trying to push. I did quite a few small mistakes but I was feeling fast by the time I reached the bottom, but missed some lines trying to fight the feeling of being so tired and felt like I had barely made it, so it was super tight in the end. It was really cool to make a solid 1 and 1 from yesterday’s seeding and today’s podium. Feeling like I am starting the season in the best way, so I am feeling stoked.”
Elite Women’s winner Jess Blewitt
Fellow Red Bull rider Jess Blewitt won her first World Tour gold medal in the Elite Women category. “My run went to plan,” she said afterward. “I had got a little bit loose in a few spots but overall pretty happy. Rotorua is a hard track in that you don’t know how much you can really push, so part of me thought I could have gone harder at the bottom but at the same time I think it was a smart race run.”
Jenna Hastings took second among the Elite Women.
Center: Taking 1st place among the Elite Men and Women, Loic Bruni and Jess Blewitt each took home $6320. Left: Finishing in 2nd place, Oliver Zwar and Jenna Hastings each took home $3550. Right: Neko Mulally and Shania Rawson each took home $2110 for 3rd place.
Oliver Zwar finished 2nd in Elite Men’s
Jenna Hastings, the Rotorua local and Junior World Champ, snagged the silver-medal position keeping her home crowd stoked. She almost went over the bars after sending it off the big jump but was able to regain control and put down the second fastest time of 3:42.792 for the Elite Women.
“I had done the big jump twice in practice and it was all good, but then for some reason I was coming in fast, I wasn’t in the right gear, pedaled too late and went so nosey – it was ridiculous,” Hastings says of her recovery off the big jump. “I don’t know how I held onto it, but I did and then my helmet was all in my vision, I had to re-adjust, and then I was so rattled and knew I had to just get to the bottom. I ended up second so I can’t complain really!”
America’s Neko Mulally took third among the Elite Men.
Mick Hannah finished outside of the top three.
Swedish downhiller, Oliver Zwar, earned his first Crankworx podium with the second fastest time for Elite Men of 3:00.692, and Neko Mulally took the bronze. Local rider Shania Rawson took home the bronze among the women with a time of 3:45.540, making it a Kiwi podium sweep for the Elite Women.
Results – RockShox Taniwha Downhill —Elite Men and Women (to see the full results, go to crankworx.com/results/)
- Loic Bruni (FRA) 3:00.348 // Jess Blewitt (NZL) 3:35.7922.
- Oliver Zwar (SWE) 3:00.692 // Jenna Hastings (NZL) 3:42.234
- Neko Mulally (USA) 3:01.287 // Shania Rawson (NZL) 3:45.540
Bas Van Steenbergen
You can follow the action from home on Red Bull TV. Check out @Crankworx and @CrankworxRotorua socials for updates on Crankworx Rotorua as they come, and stay up to date with all things Crankworx at Crankworx.com.
To see the full results, go to crankworx.com/results/
America’s Cole Suetos