Top-Stimmung bei Crankworx Innsbruck
Juni in den Bergen: Warmes Sommerwetter macht den Bikepark Innsbruck auf der Muttereralm zur Chill-out Area für Bikefans und interessierte Neulinge. Für die Crankworx Athleten ist die Zeit nicht ganz so entspannend. Bei ihnen sind Adrenalin und Konzentration angesagt. Sie lieferten eine spektakuläre Show für die Zuschauer. Fünf actiongeladene Disziplinen gehören zum Innsbruck Programm. Zum Whip-Off versammelten sich Biker und Fans um den Speicherteich auf der Muttereralm. Rustikales Setting mit bester Aussicht.
Die Festival Area an der Talstation der Muttereralmbahn war im Anschluss das Epizentrum des Festivalspektakels. Dort wurde im Vorfeld ein beeindruckender Wettkampfparcours geschaffen. Den nutzen Innsbrucks Biker übrigens weiterhin. Er bleibt mindestens bis Ende des Sommers 2018 bestehen und steht den Besuchern des Bikeparks Innsbruck zur Verfügung.
Dual Speed and Style
A quick scroll through Jill ‘Jilly’ Kintner’s 31 past Crankworx podiums almost speaks for itself. A lover of bikes since the age of two, and a competitor from the age of eight when she kicked off her career on the BMX track, Kintner’s two-wheeled dominance has been apparent since Crankworx’ first days, an experience she remembers clearly, and not just for the fact that she took first place in her event: “I did the 4x, and it was raining I think, but it was one of the best events I had ever been to. Well organized, chill vibe, all kinds of stuff going on in the village, and the slopestyle seemed so surreal standing at the bottom looking up the hill. Paul Bas made a name for himself winning that event outta nowhere. I remember that the most clearly, Paul, and then Zinc who loaned him a mountain bike. I was new to the sport and really loved how mountain biking felt to be around, in nature on a mountain, and with solid people.”
With a Crankworx career that’s now spanned well over a decade, she says it’s hard to pin down a favourite moment.
“It’s kind of all the little things that add up for me; I love being in the thick of it with event pressure, the coffee shop in the morning, tweaking on bikes, seeing my friends in one place, riding all day, and then relief after each event. Crankworx is the most hectic week with 3 practices a day, and it goes by so fast, so I enjoy the moments I can with people I meet throughout the process. Taking the crown meant a lot to me as well, and the party after was all time fun with our crew.”
With the memory of winning Queen of Crankworx 2016 fresh in her mind, her goals and intentions for the year ahead are clear: “Win the events I enter, and defend my crown.”
Known the world over for her dominance in BMX racing and 4cross, Caroline Buchanan has a winning history in Crankworx competition. Her two-wheeled story began at five-years-old – she then competed in her first BMX World Championships at eight. Her Crankworx career began in 2013. She describes the experience as “the best event vibe I have ever experienced.” Her Crankworx career highlight, so far, came the following year, when she stood on top of the box in the Ultimate Pump Track Challenge presented by RockShox alongside her now fiance, Barry Nobles. “We have both never won a competition at the same time so it was a fairytale night for us both to win.” After missing out on 2016 as she prepared for, and competed in, the Summer Olympics in Brazil, Buchanan is raring to go for Crankworx 2017. “I’ve never competed in a full Crankworx season before. I’m excited to be racing all four stops of the series and be a contender for the overall Queen of Crankworx title. That’s the goal.”
Geraldine ‘Gery’ or ‘Wheeliequeen’ Fink made a commanding Crankworx debut in Les Gets in 2016, taking the third spot on the box in the Crankworx Les Gets Pump Track presented by RockShox. She started riding trials at 13-years-old, switching to downhill racing three years later, eventually making her way to Crankworx in Les Gets: “It was amazing to share the joy of bikes with all the athletes and spectators.” Despite her dominance on the pump track, she says the whip-off is her favourite Crankworx event, an event she hopes to podium in in 2017.
She’s been topping Crankworx podiums since 2007, crowned Queen in 2014, and holds the unofficial, but undisputed, title of Queen of the Whip-Off – in short, Casey ‘Browner’ Brown is a Crankworx force to be reckoned with. She started competing in bike events at 14-years-old, attending her first Crankworx two years later in 2006, an experience she describes as unforgettable: “I’d never seen anything like it before. Probably one of the most influential events of my younger years.” She says her Crankworx career highlight so far came in 2015 when she topped the box in the Canadian Open DH presented by iXS at Crankworx Whistler, her best performance in a downhill race to date. Despite her success in DH and other disciplines, she says the whip-off is her favourite event, and her stoke has translated to many wins at Crankworx whip-off competitions around the world. Heading into 2017, she’s keeping her unmistakable spirit and dedication going strong: “My goal is to focus on 3-4 events each Crankworx and have the most fun!”
Known for his multidisciplinary skill and the wild style he brings to competition, Tomas ‘Stratos’ Lemoine has been carving out a name for himself in the mountain bike world over the past four years, while racking up some solid podium finishes, and always putting on a good show for the crowd. He began riding at five-years-old, then entered his first BMX competitions at six. At 16, he competed in his first Crankworx competiton in Les 2 Alpes, starting off strong, podiuming in the Speed & Style, an experience he describes as “amazing!”
“First podium on speed n style with Cam [Zink] sick on lead. And first time I had the chance to ride a big contest with such big names on the slopestyle scene! I was dreaming!”
Since then he’s continued to podium in both Dual Speed & Style events and on the pump track, taking his first win this past season in Rotorua, while always putting in a solid showing in the Crankworx World Tour slopestyle competitions, which continues to be his primary focus heading into the 2017 season:
“[I’m focusing on] Having a lot of fun and doing well on slopestyle first. And would be stoked for some more podiums in pumptrack and speed n style! Let’s see what happen I’m excited for 2017 as we have now a new stop!”
The past few years have seen Brett Rheeder reach an unprecedented level of skill and renown in the world of mountain biking – and beyond. Brett started making tracks on two wheels very young and was competing by age 14. Three years later, he made his way to Crankworx Whistler.“I was in pre-qualifications for the slopestyle. I crashed and didn’t get a chance to qualify. I was definitely in over my head at that time in my career,” he recalls. The learning curve didn’t take long.
While a back injury did take Rheeder out in 2013, even set backs seem to make this tough competitor stronger. He returned better and seemingly more determined than ever, landing on the podium at Red Bull Joyride at the end of 2014, before taking the 2015 season by storm. As Crankworx launched its World Tour, and with it the Triple Crown of Slopestyle, Rheeder quickly became the one to watch, winning the inaugural Crankworx Rotorua Slopestyle, then carrying that momentum on to Crankworx Les 2 Alpes. He took a second season win, with his favourite competitive Crankworx moment to date. “It was my second time back in Les Deux Alps, since my back injury there in 2013, and also the first Crankworx I won where none of my competitors messed up or crashed. It was a straight-up win.”
Jack ‘Shark Attack Jack’ Moir stormed the Crankworx scene in 2016, but his life on two wheels began much earlier, when at four-years-old he started racing motorbikes. He they parlayed those skills onto a mountain bike at 13. After a few years of competitions he made his way to mountain bike mecca, Crankworx Whistler, competing in the 2014 Garbanzo DH and Canadian Open DH presented by iXS. The spark of Crankworx stoke and mastery was clearly lit that year, building to a 2016 that was his best Crankworx World Tour season thus far, with four podium finishes, starting at Crankworx Les Gets, home of his favourite Crankworx event so far: “The downhill in Les Gets this year was so much fun! It was the muddiest race I have ever ridden. So many good times getting loose and sliding around with everyone.” Moir then closed out Crankworx season in Whistler with what, for him, has been his Crankworx career highlights to date, placing second in the Canadian Open DH presented by iXS and taking the overall Crankworx World Tour Downhill series title for the season. With a stellar 2016 behind him, he’s aiming to keep that momentum going into 2017, hoping to get on to more podiums and take the overall downhill series title again.
A fixture on Crankworx downhill podiums, Tracey ‘Little Trace’ Hannah, started racing on two wheels at the age of four, eventually making her foray into the world of Crankworx competition at 19. Nearly 10 years deep, she appears to be racing as strong as ever, with a number of winning moments to her name, including winning the overall Crankworx Downhill World Tour in 2016. She says beyond the competitions, Crankworx for her is about fun, and memorable moments: “I really love the dedications that happened at Crankworx for Stevie Smith and Kelly McGarry. They were really special riders and the moments were ones to remember forever.” Heading into 2017, Hannah’s focus is on continuing to dominate in downhill. She intends to make her presence known at Crankworx, on the UCI World Cup circuit, and at World’s.
Nicholi Rogatkin’s trajectory of progression, and innovation, over the past few years is astounding. He started riding bikes at five-years-old, competing at seven, and was taking first place finishes on the international stage in BMX long before entering the slopestyle world, and Crankworx, in 2013 at age 17.
“I was invited to Whistler to ride Best Trick and the experience was absolutely surreal. I didn’t know what to expect going into it and I was mind blown by the crowd, the course, the entire vibe. I was able to pull one of my biggest tricks in the Best Trick contest and end up on the podium. I was incredibly stoked,” he recalled.
Over the past three years he’s managed to keep that momentum going. He podiumed for the first time at Crankworx Rotorua in 2015, then again at the same venue in 2016, but the festival has a special place in his heart for other reasons.
“My favorite Crankworx moment has to be the McGazza train in Rotorua. It was a very emotional and a very moving moment. An entire community of riders and fans came together to show our appreciation for Kelly and what he had done for the sport and for Crankworx. I think everybody in Rotorua that day will remember that moment forever,” he said.
Heading into 2017, his eyes are firmly on the prize: “After being on the podium twice, in second (place), at Crankworx events in 2015, I was hungry for a Crankworx win in 2016. I got a small taste of a win by standing on the top step of Best Trick in Les Gets, but that’s not quite the same as a Crankworx slopestyle win. I’d love to get one of those under my belt in the 2017 season.”
Chaney ‘Gounette’ Guennet, took Crankworx Les Gets by storm in 2016, coming out of relative obscurity to claim the top spot on the podium in the Crankworx Les Gets Pump Track Challenge presented by RockShox. His overall bike racing history started much earlier – at five-years-old he started riding BMX, entering and winning his first competition the same year.
Fast-forward to 2015, he had a near podium miss at his first Crankworx appearance in Les 2 Alpes, an experience he describes as “amazing,” racing alongside the world’s best riders. Taking the win in 2016 was easily his racing highlight so far: “When I won the final against Barry Nobles in pump track – amazing moment with this awesome rider.” Building on this winning momentum, he has high hopes for the season ahead: “I would like to win overall in pump track, and competing in Dual Speed and Style and Dual Slalom for having points for figuring in overall King Of Crankworx”