A deafening cheer ushered the first winner of Crankworx Rotorua 2019 across the dusty finish line tonight. Local rider Keegan Wright (NZL) blasted his way past legends and seasoned slalom masters, taking the win against Bas van Steenbergen (CAN) in the 100% Dual Slalom Rotorua.
“It’s awesome to back it up from the 2017 Pump Track,” said Wright, who first stormed onto the international scene two years ago, winning the Rotorua Pump Track Challenge presented by RockShox.
As Wright was still fighting to catch his breath, Vaea Verbeeck (CAN) charged her way across the line, taking the Pro Women’s win on both sides of the course against Anneke Beerten (NED).
The win marks a strong start to the season for Verbeeck, who wrapped 2018 in third place for the overall Queen of Crankworx title.
Over the course of the two hour finals, Verbeeck successful picked off Morgane Charre (FRA), Kialani Hines (USA) and Tahnée Seagrave (GBR), before lining up against Beerten in the finals. As the dust settled, she described the feeling as “amazing, but unexpected.”
“I’m still trying really hard, and sometimes I can just blow it,” said the 28-year-old, who shifted her focus to Crankworx in 2018, branching out from her Downhill racing background. “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’s cool to see it come out as #1.”