Competitions

Speed & Style at Crankworx Rotorua.

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The Friday of Crankworx Rotorua served up a sunny Speed & Style for spectators and athletes alike.

Clear skies and perfectly packed dirt on a freshly revamped Speed & Style course had the best mountain bikers on the planet challenged and inspired in the first broadcast event at Skyline Rotorua. The new Speed & Style course features an updated lower rhythm section, newly positioned jumps with a step up for big air and big tricks, ready to challenge some of the best mountain bikers on the planet.  The day started with qualifiers of 13 Elite Women and 33 Elite Men. Reigning Queen of Crankworx, Caroline Buchanan qualified first for the women and steezy Garret Mechem for the men. Racing heated up through the rounds, and in the words of broadcast host Cam McCaul, viewers were treated to “combos galore and style galore”.  

The matchup of the afternoon that got the crowd fired up was between New Zealand rider Billy Meaclem and American Garret Mechem in the semi-finals. The tight battle with 1.33 seconds of speed separating riders, and impressive combos of 360 Bar Spin to X-Up and Flip-Bar to Can had the fans gasping, won “heat of the day” in Mechem’s words. Mecham then went on to take the win over King of Crankworx and Rotorua local Tuhoto-Ariki Pene in another tight final performance.  

The riders were visibly stoked about the new course as Garret Mechem elaborates: “This has been my best speed and style result in Rotorua to date, before this it was third in 2020. The track was really fast, pretty technical and had a lot of rollers with different rhythms that were fast and loose. My favourite trick of the day has to be flat spin 360’s its good, it’s fun and flowy, definitely my go to.” Local hero Tuhoto-Ariki Pene had nothing but respect for the victor. “Lil Rojo [Mechem] was one of the harder match-ups, he’s so on for this stuff. He’s got the speed and the style for this.” When talking about his unexpected silver medal performance, Pene exclaimed “I just cruised through it and kept it going and a tried to throw some tricks, I think I failed on most, but in the end, they must have been alright! At the start of the day, I had a tuck no hander into a sui so that was pretty cool”. Billy Meaclem convincingly took the bronze medal over UK rider Mark Ducatt in both speed and style elements. 

On the women’s side, reigning Queen of Crankworx, Caroline Buchanan took home the Crankworx Rotorua Speed & Style gold medal over American rider Jordy Scott. Scott gave it her all, but Caroline’s seamless Superman Seat Grab that progressively grew in size and amplitude every round made the difference for the final scores in the gold medal match-up. “I’m stoked to kick off with a win in the ladies Speed & Style here in Rotorua. I was focusing on getting my tricks dialled and the aim for me is using it as a warm-up event for the Slopestyle event, so a very different approach to the last few years, where I’ve focused on every event and the Queen title”, Buchanan shares about her strategy for this Crankworx event. 

UK rider, Martha Gill battled local rider Shania Rawson for the bronze medal round with the tightest margins in today’s event between the two. Gill prevailed and took home the bronze medal, taking her a step closer to the esteemed Queen of Crankworx title.   

Podium Crankworx Rotorua Speed & Style – Male Category

  1. Garret Mechem (USA)
  2. Tuhoto-Ariki Pene (NZL)
  3. Billy Meaclem (NZL) 

Podium Crankworx Rotorua Speed & Style – Female Category

  1.   Caroline Buchanan (AUS) 
  2. Jordy Scott (USA)
  3. Martha Gill (GBR)