Competitions

Crankworx Cairns. Whipfest.

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51 pro men and women drop in and throw down 556 whips at first Crankworx Whip-Off in the Land Down Under.

The first day of Crankworx Cairns has brought with it a host of other firsts: the first sprays of Aussie sparkling, popped by the first-ever champs of the inaugural festival, showing off the first sets of Crankworx hardware to be handed out in the Land Down Under. The reason for the firsts above? The first Crankworx whips to hit Australian soil.

The Trek Official Australian Whip-Off Championships presented by POC kicked off Crankworx Cairns with one heck of a party. A party hosted by 51 riders throwing down 556 whips, to be specific.

The Whip jump was the first of five new courses to make its debut. Built by Tom Hey and the crew from Elevate Trail Building, here’s what it was all about:

140m: Total length
2: # of trick jumps, one as a warmup to get the juices flowing and one bigger one on which riders were judged
12m: gaps on both jumps
4m: height of take-off on warm up jump
6.5m: height of take-off on judged hit

Judges were former Crankworx Slopestyle medalist Anthony Messere (CAN), freeride legend Geoff Gulevich (CAN), and Australia’s own Mike Ross.

At the end of an hour of air, style and skill, the champs were crowned.

Garret Mechem (USA) // Jordy Scott (USA)
Thomas Locke (AUS) // Harriet Burbidge-Smith (AUS)
David McMillan (AUS)

“This is awesome,” said Mechem, who takes his first Crankworx win. “I missed Whistler and took some time off to recover, and this is the best kind of start to the trip. I’m so stoked.”

The American has been recovering from injury since he took a spill at the Whip Offs in Innsbruck in June. Travelling to Cairns and getting warmed up to get back into competition, he said he’s been loving his time in Australia.

“It’s hot and sweaty,” he laughed. “It’s also amazing and beautiful. I’m seeing some crazy, crazy wildlife. The scene, and the people. Everyone’s just the nicest I’ve ever been around. It’s crazy.”

It was a solid end to a solid day for both Mechem and the women’s winner, Jordy Scott. Both riders qualified first in Speed & Style before going on to win the whip.

“Rojo and I go way back together,” said Scott. “We’ve known each other since we were like 10.”

“I really tried to chill out and kind of enjoy the experience a bit more,” she added. “I can get a little serious at times. Pretty stoked to start the week out on that note.”

In addition to her P1 in Speed & Style, and win in the Whip-Off, Scott is also in the lead for the season-long battle for the Queen of Crankworx title.

“I’m just trying to make sure I’m riding for myself. As long as I feel like I’m riding good and putting good runs together I’m going to be happy. It’s really fast people and strong competition. My goal for this year was top three overall, so sitting in first is amazing. I’m going to really try to keep it going.”