Newcomer beats the old guard for the win at Speed & Style at Crankworx Rotorua.


Newcomer beats the old guard for the win at Speed & Style at Crankworx Rotorua.


The rider he beat in the final called it a “fairytale story,” and the thousands of cheering locals who watched it all go down would likely agree.

Bill Meaclem (NZL), relatively unknown compared to the roster of riders he was up against, took the win today in the Mons Royale Dual Speed & Style at Crankworx Rotorua. Sweetening the deal for the Christchurch rider was accomplishing the feat, broadcast around the world on Red Bull TV and, on home soil.

“It’s crazy. So many people here supporting me,” said the 19-year-old, breathless from the finish corral. “I’m blown away.”

Adding to his shock, the fact his win came at the hands of one of the most well-known mountain bikers in the world. 29-year-old Martin Söderström (SWE), Slopestyle legend turned Speed & Style star, took the win in last year’s event.

“It’s insane. I’ve been looking up to him for years,” said Meaclem. “It’s a dream come true just to ride with him, let alone take the win over him.”

“I’m really stoked for that kid,” said Söderström, who seemed as stoked for Meaclem’s win as if it had been his own. “So awesome. He had a slaughterhouse of pros that have been doing this sport for such a long time. It was really cool. You could see that he was really pushing it, riding on the edge, and it seems that everything just worked out perfect for him. I even had to pull out a really hard trick in the second run, and I crashed, so that was it. But I’m really happy with second, and it feels like a fairytale story for him. This could be a big start for a big career.”

According to Meaclem, the key to his success tonight was consistency, with a focus on speed. On the style side: “Switch bar to tuck and a tuck to t-bar. Nothing too crazy. Just consistent.”

Coming in third, after defeating 2018’s Speed & Style World Champion Tomas Lemoine (FRA) in the Small Final, was Greg Watts (USA). Watts stormed his way back onto the scene in Innsbruck in 2018, also taking third. At the time it was his first Crankworx podium in four years.

“It feels really good,” said the 31-year-old of today’s bronze. “I wasn’t sure how hard everyone else was training. I saw Instagram and, like, Kyle Strait was doing sprints at the BMX track...I was like, ‘That’s a bummer because I’m sitting in a foot and a half of snow.’ A lot of expectations not knowing what other riders are up to, but it all came together for me, so I’m pretty stoked.”