The first Crankworx stop of 2018 is in the books, and with it, the first ever Slopestyle World Championship and, as usual, the Speed & Style contest. While the Slopestyle contest had to be moved twice due to some torrential downpour, the rest of the week saw prime conditions for a ROSE Rad Squad season kick-off:
For the first part of the week, all eyes were on Czech rider Jakub Vencl, who had made a statement in 2017, winning Speed & Style in Rotorua and claiming the Overall Speed & Style World Championship at the end of the season. Starting in two disciplines, the Czech aimed high and kept himself busy all week long.
Handily beating British young gun Kaos Seagrave with a run that included his classic 360 No-Hander and a Backflip Triple X-Up, Vencl met Speed & Style veteran Kyle Strait in the Round of 8 and the stage was set for an epic battle, in which both riders pulled out all the stops, rocketing down the course and throwing some steezy tricks. In the end, Strait edged out Vencl by 0.09 seconds and went on to the next round.
After two rain delays and a degree of uncertainty whether the first edition of the SWC would even take place at all, the all-clear was finally given by the weather gods.
Just like in 2017, Anthony Messere showed the world that he’s hungry and looking for that podium spot. His first run, which included a backflip tailwhip right out of the gate and a steezy cashroll, earned him a 77.50, briefly gave him the hot seat until Thomas Genon put on a style seminar.
Torquato Testa, earning himself a silver medal in Rotorua last season, definitely wanted to repeat his performance, but was unable to throw his signature tricks in his first run, landing himself in a 12th spot following the first round, which meant an all or nothing second run for the Italian.
While managing to improve his score by more than 30 points thanks to a solid run that included his signature double backflip, a clean double tailwhip and a backflip no footed can to tailwhip, it wasn’t enough to get him near the podium, showcasing just how much the level has progressed once again.
Messere was ready to pull out all the stops in his second run and started off with some great tricks including a backflip tailwhip and a frontflip tuck no hander, but as he hit the cannon, his rear tire blew out, putting an end to his run. With his first round score of 77.50, he still managed to hold on to a 7th place, ahead of Ryan Nyquist and ToTo.
What will the ROSE Rad Squad bring to the table during the rest of the season? While Crankworx Innsbruck is still a few months away, Swatch Rocket Air, the first FMB World Tour Gold Event, is blasting off at the end of April. Last year, we saw three Rad Squad riders in the Top 10, with ToTo finishing in second place, behind Nicholi Rogatkin.