*Use arrows to scroll entire photo gallery
Photos by: @freeridenewzealand
The off-season training put in by the Fox MTB team paid off big at the kickoff to the 2019 season - Crankworx Rotorua. Threatening skies held off most of the week and the dirt was prime for racing and ripping all week long. With 2 wins and 10 podiums across the 7 different disciplines the Fox athletes made Rotorua feel like a second home for Fox fans in attendance!
For the second year in a row, Brett Rheeder started his season off with a bang. Adding multiple new tricks to his program, he rode a nearly flawless run to capture the top step of the podium in the annual Maxxis Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza.
Anthony Messere was riding on the limit all week and put together a great run to place 6th in the Maxxis Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza. His top six finish means he's punched his ticket into the next round at Crankworx Innsbruck!
Finn Iles put in a blistering run in the warmest conditions of the week in the men’s Crankworx Rotorua Downhill. He rode clean and in control and his performance left him just 0.09 seconds off the top step of the podium. It was a great performance, but being so close left him a little frustrated - something he will use as motivation for next month's Maribor!
It was a disappointing start to the year for current UCI DH World Champ Loic Bruni as a flat in the top section of the course derailed his chances in Friday's Crankworx DH race. He looked good in training and was ready to compete in his first test of the 2019 season. Always a fan favorite, Loic lightened a bad moment as he asked a spectator for his pump and tried to bring the tire back to life. "I just wanted to finish," said Loic moments after the race. This has motivated him even more for the first UCI DH race in Maribor.
Tahnée Seagrave battled through multiple injuries throughout the week to put together a great set of results. She rode multiple disciplines and ended up with three third-place finishes - Dual Slalom, Downhill, and Pump Track. Truly an all-around talent, Tahnée is also a crowd favorite who made the Rotorua fans feel special all week long!
Speaking of fan favorites, local boy Keegan Wright was the hardest working athlete in Rotorua. Competing in nearly every pro men’s division race, he finished the event with a silver medal in both Pump Track and EWS as well as taking the top step in the Crankworx Dual Slalom. His amazing overall performance finds him in second place overall for the King of Crankworx points!
Bas van Steenbergen was another all-around performer in Rotorua. He finished second behind teammate Keegan Wright in the Dual Slalom and was the only Fox athlete to podium in the Rotorua Air DH. These points have him in the running for the overall King of Crankworx title.
Look for Fox MTB athletes at the start of the UCI DH World Cup season in the historic Maribor, Slovenia and then at the second stop of the Crankworx series in Innsbruck, Austria.
Shop MTB New Arrivals
Defending UCI World Champion, Loic Bruni, put on a magnificent performance to claim his 3rd UCI MTB DH World Champs title in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. In the closest of contests, Bruni edged out his nearest competitor by 0.2 seconds to take his 2nd consecutive World Champs title.
LOIC BRUNI, 4th
Unlucky since the beginning of the year, “Super Bruni” is relieved to be back: “I wasn't really happy when I passed the finish line because I was in 2nd and I saw it was super tight! But it was good, I stuck to the plan, kept it smooth, and made it to the bottom. It's my first podium of the season so 4th is perfect in the end, I'm happy enough tonight. I feel this is my first proper race of the year, in Lourdes I almost couldn't make it to the bottom because of the weather, Fort William I crashed and Leogang I even didn't race! I'm stoked to be here on the box and this has helped to build my confidence and I hope we are moving on to bigger and better things.”
LORIS VERGIER, 6th
After finishing second back to back in Leogang World Cup and Crankworx Les Gets a few weeks ago, Loris had every right to be a bit disappointed for missing the podium by only one place, but he's absolutely not and he explains why: “I'm happy because it's a long track and I started my finals run a bit too strong. I wanted to try to push my limits, but after the first minute I realised that I was a bit tired and I decided to stay focused, and try to stay on my bike! In the end, I'm 6th and only 3 seconds from the podium which is very good. I got good points for the overall, I'm now 4th which gives me a bit more confidence! I'm so happy for Loïc who's riding almost at his best again, it's cool to see him back on the podium!"
CONNOR FEARON, 28th
His run was spectacular but he crashed very close to the bottom: “I was so tired at the end and I had a stupid crash. I just couldn't hold on anymore but I'm not too disappointed because what you have to do to do well here is to leave it or on the track. The thing is, you have to go so fast here and obviously more people than usual crashed here, luckily everyone is mostly ok. Either way, I'm stoked and looking forward to Lenzerheide.”
FINN ILES, 1st IN JUNIOR CATEGORY
It's now the 3rd victory for the Canadian rider for this year. He won the race by a full 5 seconds and his time would have placed him 7th in the Elite category! “I felt that everything sort of worked on my run, I had like a few parts where I was trying to push too hard and got a bit sketchy but I think I was carrying good speed everywhere and I rode my bike well, so I'm happy! I was pretty calm this weekend even though I was a bit nervous this morning. Because this is so similar to some of the stuff I ride at home, I'm prtty experienced on steep stuff.”
TAHNEE SEAGRAVE, 2nd IN WOMEN CATEGORY
After taking her first ever win at the previous round in Leogang, Tahnee was hoping for big things again in Andorra: “Myriam Nicole (the winner of the day) has always been good here and I've never get a good result here, and it's such a contrast from here to Leogang I'm just really happy because I had a point to prove after everyone saying that the track in Leogang was too easy.
I know that my style of riding is not very aggressive even if people think it is, I love riding berms with my mates so I think Lenzerheide will suit me better”.