Crankworx returning to BOP in eight weeks

Rotorua premiered its Air DH in 2016, pushing a new Crankworx-wide race series into the realm of possibility. Photo: Clint Trahan/Crankworx.

The world’s biggest mountain biking festival is returning to Rotorua from 1-7 November 2021.

Crankworx is a multi-discipline festival brings together the best of mountain biking with Pro, Amateur and CWNEXT racing, Kidsworx competitions, and a ticketed venue with all the action, a look at latest mountain biking gear, food, drinks and great vibes for all kiwis to enjoy.

In March 2020, the event recorded 47,000 through the gate and global livestream views of the signature events reached more than 1.1 million.

This year, the livestream audience is expected to increase with international spectators unable to enter the country due to travel restrictions.

Fans from around the world will be able to tune into live coverage on Red Bull TV.

Crankworx Rotorua has seen 19 months of planning and a six-month delay from its original date.

“We’ve been working with the New Zealand government since October 2020 on how to bring in the minimum number of international personnel to achieve the scale of event that delivers long-term benefits for New Zealand,” says Crankworx Rotorua Event Director Ariki Tibble.

“A great outcome from this is that we have had to lean on NZ personnel more than ever, which is leading to upskilling of our local suppliers. This sets up our industry really well for the future.”

As Crankworx is included on a list of Government-approved events, only those critical to the event, including competing athletes, have been able to secure spots in managed isolation and the Crankworx organising team has managed to use less than what was allocated, which has seen valuable rooms returned to the MIQ supply.

With the border still closed to recreational travel, Crankworx Rotorua 2021 will provide a unique opportunity for kiwi fans to get front-row seats to all the action and watch the world’s best face off against their local heroes.

From newcomers to keen riders, the event welcomes a wide range of people to get amongst the action and this year kiwis can get closer than ever.

“As one of the last remaining annually recurring events on the New Zealand Major Events portfolio, Crankworx Rotorua is one of very few chances we have to showcase New Zealand to a global audience in this unique way,” says Tibble.

“We feel both the burden and the privilege of this opportunity.”

As of 2021, Rotorua has also become the final stop on the Crankworx World Tour, adding an extra layer of excitement.

This will see the crowning of King and Queen of Crankworx and the Slopestyle World Champion – a huge deal for the global mountain biking community.

The local Crankworx team are stoked to host the grand finale of the tour going forward and Rotorua makes the perfect hub for it.

Tibble explains: “While the Northern Hemisphere is wrapping competition season and gearing up for winter in late October and early November, New Zealand is in the thick of spring. The dirt is prime, the energy is high, and the appetite to get out and celebrate is on another level. To be able to bring all this together and share it with our international mountain bike family will be something special. While this year we can’t invite the world to celebrate with us in person to protect the health of New Zealanders, we are beyond thrilled to be able to host some of the world’s top athletes. We look forward to putting on a great show for our local crowds and for fans around the world on Red Bull TV in 2021, and to welcoming everyone back to New Zealand for Crankworx in 2022.”

“I am frothing to be back in New Zealand!” says Vaea Verbeeck, the last woman to wear the Queen of Crankworx crown in 2019.

“After being there in March 2020 last, the world turned into a much different place to navigate and Crankworx Rotorua was the last time we lived as per usual. I know it will still be different going back this time, but part of me feels like I’m going back to my happy place.”

"I'm super excited to head back to Rotorua, I always love being there and it somewhat feels like a home away from home for us,” says Bas van Steenbergen, who was in the lead for the King of Crankworx title coming out of the New Zealand festival in 2020.

“I'm definitely feeling pretty confident having done well here in the past, so hopefully I can close out the King of Crankworx chase strong!"

“After some challenging times with travel I am really looking forward to getting back to NZ for Crankworx,” says Emil Johansson, who is currently in the points lead for the Crankworx FMBA Slopestyle World Championship title after winning in Innsbruck in June.

The Swedish all-star has never clinched the overall, despite having won every event there is to win at this level of Slopestyle, including the Rotorua event the last time it ran.

“I am going to try to do a run that I am happy with and up the run I did 2020.”

Other athletes on deck to wrap their competition season in New Zealand include:

On the hunt for the King and Queen crowns:

· Tim Bringer (FRA)

· Tomas Lemoine (FRA)

· Ed Masters (NZL)

· Bas van Steenbergen (CAN)

· Keegan Wright (NZL)

· Georgia Astle (CAN)

· Casey Brown (CAN)

· Danielle Beecroft (AUS)

· Harriet Burbidge-Smith (AUS)

· Robin Goomes (NZL)

· Kialani Hines (USA)

· Vaea Verbeeck (CAN)

Slopestyle’s Elite:

· Emil Johansson (SWE)

· Nicholi Rogatkin (USA)

· Erik Fedko (GER)

· Tim Bringer (FRA)

· Tomas Lemoine (FRA)

· Torquato Testa (ITA)

· Paul Couderc (FRA)

· Lucas Huppert (SUI)

· Jakub Vencl (CZE)

· Max Fredriksson (SWE)

· Lukas Knopf (GER)

· Tom Isted (GBR)

· Marcel Hunt (GBR)

· Griffin Paulson (CAN)

· Bernd Winkler (AUT) (ALT1)

· Lukas Schäfer (GER) (ALT2)

Top riders, keen to disrupt:

· Tuhoto Ariki-Pene (NZL)

· George Brannigan (NZL)

· Caroline Buchanan (AUS)

· Martha Gill (GBR)

· Mikey Haderer (USA)

· Brett Rheeder (CAN) (racing DH only!)

· Katy Winton (GBR)

Registration for all Pro, Amateur and CWNEXT events at Crankworx Rotorua is now open, running through October 27 at 11:59 p.m. NZDT.

The full festival schedule is also now available:

Get all the details of the 2021 Crankworx Rotorua finale (November 1-7) at

Tickets are now on sale at

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