Words and photos: Dominic Hook

The final day of Crankworx Rotorua brought in the first race of the Enduro World Series for 2019.

Racers started the 60.7km course from Skyline Gravity Park where Crankworx had been for the preceding week.

After dropping back into the heart of Crankworx, racers loaded their bikes onto shuttle trailers and made their way across to the Whakarewarewa Forrest for stages 2-4, before jumping back in the shuttles to head back to skyline for the final stage.

Conditions leading up to Crankworx were incredibly dry, minimal rainfall and plenty of riding meant that the trails being raced had been torn apart time and time again. Skyline remedied this partially by cutting in brand new sections fo loamy trail in their bike park.

Staying true to the title it’s been given, the Enduro ‘Wet’ Series brought with it some overnight rains and precipitation throughout the day, making for some slick roots and loose corners which were a hit for the hecklers.

Speaking of which, this year brought what could be a new tradition int the form of a hecklers bus put on by Jeff Carter at South Star Shuttles. Punters could join in the party goers and get shuttled to all the stages to give the riders some much needed support/a good laugh!

Brett Tippie headed up the cheer squad with the rains not deterring the hard core mountain bike racing fans.

Australia sent over a big fleet of riding talent with appearances from riders like:

Sam Hill, Connor Fearon, Chris Panozzo, Josh Carlson, Dave McMillan, Tom Anderson, Ben Mcilroy, Jack Hewish, Matt Stephens & more!

After a big day on the bike and 27 minutes plus of timed racing, the results had Martin Maes take the win with a clean day taking all stage wins and taking the top spot over local Kiwi, Keegan Wright by +0:24.03 seconds, followed by frenchman, Florian Nicolai.

For the women, a French 1 & 2 saw Isabeau Courdurier take the win followed by Morgane Charre and Rebecca Barona taking 3rd place.

In the U21 mens, Ben McIlroy from Mt Beauty, Australia took a top 10 finish with 9th place, with Jack Hewish & Matt Stephens also making top 20 results.

All eyes now turn to Tasmania as riders are on their way to Derby for round 2 of the Enduro World Series.