Crankworx and Enduro World Series 2019 - Round 1 - Rotorua

Marzo 26 — 2019 | Rotorua, New Zealand

Our man-on-the-ground and Sports Marketing Manager, Allan Cooke, gave us the rundown of the first stop of the 2019 Enduro World Series and Crankworx. Read on for more.

Both the EWS and Crankworx seasons started off last week in Rotorua, New Zealand. This not only marked the official start of the race season for Mark, Iago, and Krunkshox it was also the first time the racers would be riding in public on the new Megatower, a bike that was developed specifically to match up against the toughest elite enduro race tracks around the world. The tracks in the Rotorua forests are rooty, steep and technical, the perfect place for Mark and Iago to put months of offseason training, preparation, and the new bike to the test.

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Also along for the trip to NZ was Loosedog, Sam and Craig, it was a super productive and busy week competing in a few Crankworx events and filming all over the forest. The first three days of the Crankworx festival the boys were out shooting with the young photographer from the UK, Jim Topliss. The crew was able to dominate the “Deep Summer Photo Challenge” taking home 3 of 4 awards, including the top honor of best slideshow, a prestigious award to say the least. It was awesome to see everyone's creative minds flowing and producing some amazing photos.

Sam, Craig, and I all jumped on V10 29er for the first time to race the famed Rotorua DH track, this year it was extremely dry and the DH course took a beating. There were a few fresh cut, off-camber sections in the woods and with dry conditions huge bomb holes developed and it only took us 2-3 runs down the track to realize how damn good the new V10 is and what a benefit the 29er wheel size is. The extra rolling speed and traction the 29” wheels offered was amazing, during practice we were having so much fun we were the last men down in nearly every training session. Craig and I also noticed how much better the 29” wheels fly in the whip off, Rotorua has one of the biggest whip jumps of the season and the new bike made it that much better.

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Mitch Ropelato would finish 13th in the Crankworx Rotorua Downhill after taking 1st in the Air DH. 

In the DH, Mitch was able to come away with 13th, Craig 29th, myself in 30th and unfortunately, Sam had a small washout at the top during his race run that would cost him. Not bad at all considering there was a strong contingent of World Cup DH racers getting ready for their season, Sam is looking forward to getting the new V10 29er on the Fort Bill track for the World Cup later this summer. 


 

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Marky dropping in on 2019.

To close out 2019 Crankworx Rotorua would be the Enduro World Series, Mark and Iago had their bikes dialed in as well as the five stages for this one day race. With just under 30 minutes of race time, it was going to be a full intensity sprint each stage, Enduro is a delicate balance between pushing hard and saving the bike and body just enough to make it to the finish.

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Mark had a solid race to start the season, every stage of the race was a top 15 finish with his best an 8th to start the day on stage one. Mark did have a big off near the top of stage two, he was forced to ride the majority of the stage with his bars twisted and levers all over the place. Mark would lose 20 seconds to the leader on this stage alone. However, the Scotsman fought back from 32nd overall after stage two to end the day in 18th. If you gave him back the time lost on stage two, he would have been 6th, the top 20 racers are all capable of winning and the times are tight. After the race, Mark said, “It was a tough day on the bike, stoked to pull back into a top 20 after the big off on stage two. Happy, healthy, and keen to send it this weekend in Tasmania.”


Iago had an amazing day and start to the season, he came out swinging with a top 20 on stage 1 and a 4th on the second stage putting him in 6th overall. Iago kept it smooth for the final three stages of the day keeping it in the top 20’s and was able to finish the day as the top Santa Cruz rider in 14th place, just shy one position from his EWS career best. When we chatted with Iago post-race here is what he had to say, “Dude it feels so good, I had a really good offseason training and am starting to feel really comfortable on the new Megatower. Stoked to carry this momentum and confidence into the next round in Tasmania, I know I can do well there, I know those trails will suit my riding style so I'm R2F.”

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That’s all from New Zealand, Mark and Iago are already in Tasmania getting prepped for the second round of the EWS this weekend. Check back next week for the lowdown from EWS Road Manager, Krunkshox. Sam, Loose, and Craig are in an RV cruising the whole island. Keep a lookout for edits from the NZ and Tasmania trips on the 50to01 YouTube.

Until next time, AC.

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Allan Cooke whipping the big-wheeled V10. 

 

 

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