Mount Ngongotaha,New Zealand,red bull,rotorua,crankworx]
Hannah siblings notch MTB downhill wins after Johansson triumphs in slopestyle.
Australian siblings Tracey and Mick Hannah won their respective Rotorua mountain bike downhill races on Sunday to ensure the first Crankworx stop of 2020 finished on a high. Here is all you need to know:
SUNDAY MARCH 8
– Reigning Crankworx downhill champion Tracey claimed the first win down Mount Ngongotaha in New Zealand by a huge 24.38 seconds from American Jill Kintner with Kiwi Vinny Armstrong third.
– Hannah, 31, said: "It’s crazy, I wasn’t expecting that. I didn’t do any other events so I saved myself for this one. It kind of boosts you on into the next few races."
– Canadian Bas van Steenbergen’s consistent displays sees him top the King of Crankworx standings by eight points from American Kyle Strait with Blenkinsop third.
SATURDAY MARCH 7
– Sweden’s Emil Johansson carried over his 2019 form into 2020 with a breathtaking victory at the Maxxis Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza on Saturday.
– Johansson won the final 2019 Red Bull Joyride round to deny Brett Rheeder the Triple Crown of Slopestyle and looked completely at ease again over the huge jumps.
– German Erik Fedko was the first rider to go big with an opening step down 360 barspin to tailwhip that set the bar high with a 90.25 for Johansson to target next up.
– The stylish Swede did not disappoint as he put together a breathtaking run including two tricks – a 360 windshield wiper and a switch triple-whip – to score a massive 96 that the likes of Nicholi Rogatkin, Thomas Genon and Tomas Lemoine needed to better later on.
– American Rogatkin, who claimed the coveted Triple Crown in 2018, crashed the last trick first time around but nailed his second to score 93 and snatch second.
– Johansson, 20, overcame auto-immune disease in 2018 and said: "My ankles do not like it (360 windshield wiper), but I am getting better and better at it. I think we’re looking at a great few years ahead."
– Rogatkin, 24, said: "Last year I had some very unlucky moments here, and the whole season didn’t really go my way, so I’m really stoked to get some redemption."
– Fedko, 22, has three Crankworx third places and said: "Getting the run down was insane. It was my first ever landed truck whip on a step down, so I was so stoked."
FRIDAY MARCH 6
– Lemoine said: "I was like, ‘I love racing, I love Speed & Style, I will regret it if I’m riding bad tomorrow and I didn’t do anything today’. So I thought I’m just going to try and push to my limits to make it happen."
– Three-time Queen of Crankworx Kintner saw her early title lead eaten into after Verbeeck finished second in the Speed & Style behind Scott with Kintner third.
– Scott, 18, became the first woman to win a Speed & Style competition as part of the full Crankworx World Tour and enthused: "I think it’s awesome. All the young girls that are coming up are so ridiculously skilled."
THURSDAY MARCH 5
– After Blenkinsop and Kintner won Wednesday’s Rotorua Air DH, attention turned to 100% Dual Slalom.
– Strait, who finished sixth on Wednesday, mastered the course after a wild night of head-to-head racing that saw chains snap and gates missed.
– Two-time Red Bull Rampage champion Strait beat Van Steenbergen in the final clash to push him to the top of the early overall leaderboard ahead of the Canadian.
– Strait, 32, revealed: "I kept making huge mistakes, but I kept being able to make it through each round just by the tiniest amount. The new track is awesome. It’s probably one of the best on the circuit right now."
– Kintner took a break last year to race Enduro, but stormed straight back to beat Canadian Casey Brown.
– Kintner, 38, said: "You can’t come in too fast. You just have to be really patient and look for the next gate. I don’t feel like I have the same amount of pressure, and I’m kind of relaxed and just enjoying it for this year."
– The Crankworx World Tour rolls on to Austrian resort Innsbruck next on June 10-14 for the only European stop ahead of the Whistler finale on August 5-16.