Mercy dash for bike nets silver


Queenstown rider George Brannigan took silver at Crankworx downhill - despite starting the day without a bike.

The pro rider, who signed with the prestigious Commencal Vallnord DH Racing Team in January, finished second to world champion Loic Bruni at the annual Rotorua event last Sunday.

But he was only able to compete after an eleventh hour rush from Queenstown to get a replacement frame for his Supreme DH V4.

Brannigan, 23, wrecked his bike riding the Kelly McGarry memorial train on the slopestyle course.

A replacement frame was flown from the resort for the event the next day.

“We had the parts ready to chuck on.

“We just got them on in time for me to get in one practice run - I was on the last shuttle up.

“It was pretty stressful but we got it done.”

The run itself went well enough for him to take second, 2.43 seconds behind the Frenchman, although Brannigan says he made a big mistake at the bottom.

“But I don’t think it would have been enough to beat Loic - he’s the world champ so he’s on fire. It might have been pretty close, though, without the mistake.”

He also won Friday’s inaugural Crankworx Rotorua Air DH – a fast and furious race with 32 jumpable features down Rotorua’s Mr Black run, its answer to Whistler’s A-Line.

Brannigan, originally from Hastings, has had three Queenstown summers and showcases its tracks to the world with some breathtaking videos. He’s aiming for podium finishes this season.

Queenstowner Alanna Columb finished fifth in the pro women’s downhill, behind overseas riders.