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.
It was an eventful weekend in Vallnord, Andorra to say the least. The relatively short track is the steepest in the series - dropping a stunning 2053ft in just over 1.5 miles. It’s a track that magnifies every mistake, leaving riders with little room to make up time. The challenging course claimed many big names before the finals even started. When the dust settled, Fox Team riders Loris Vergier and Tahnee Seagrave stood on the top steps.
Loris Vergier took first place and claimed his first World Cup Victory. Riding on the edge, but in control, Vergier was lighting up the split times green. It was a nearly flawless ride, and he came in at the finish 4.57 seconds up on the field. 4:04:05 was the time to beat, and it would not be bested this day.
“It's just like all your life you chase something, and then the hard work pays off” – Loris Vergier.
Tahnee Seagrave is on fire. At the start of her run, she knew she had to put it all on the line – with a qualifying time 14 seconds behind the leader. Attacking the mountain with grit and determination, she put down a scorching time of 4:49:84 and took her place on the hot seat. Rachel Atherton would challenge in the final run, but a rut would send her off course, all but securing the win for Seagrave. Now with back-to-back wins, she has closed the gap in the overall standings to just 80 points.
“I've never done well in Andorra… I’m just over the moon.” – Tahnee Seagrave.
The Fox MTB Team had 4 podiums on the day, with Laurie Greenland finishing 4th and Finn Iles taking 5th. Loic Bruni finished 8th, an effort to be proud of, considering he was riding with 16 stitches from a crash in qualifying.