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Stoked: Kiwi pro mountain biker Keegan Wright in action during the Rockshox Pump Track Challenge event, part of Crankworx Rotorua, in 2019 PICTURE: FRASER BRITTON/CRANKWORX 2019

By TRACEY ROXBURGH

Queenstown mountain bike trails will take centre stage in December when the world-renowned Crankworx event hosts its first New Zealand “ultimate mountain bike road trip”.

NZ’s inaugural Crankworx Summer Series, featuring a host of international all-stars along with amateurs, is being held across the Central Lakes, starting at Alexandra’s Matangi Station Mountain Bike Park on November 27-28 for a super downhill before rolling into the Whakatipu.

Here, riders will compete in downhill at Skyline and a pump track event at a yet-to-be-announced location on December 4-5 – the latter will be broadcast live on crankworx.com. Next, riders will head to Cardrona Alpine Resort for an air downhill on December 9, and then finish the summer series at Bike Glendhu, Wanaka, on December 11-12, also being broadcast live.

Crankworx managing director Darren Kinnaird says the idea of the ultimate mountain bike road trip was born in British Columbia last year.

“It created such a great opportunity to bring a taste of Crankworx to different locations and get athletes out racing in different places outside the Crankworx World Tour circuit.

“I can’t wait to hit the road after Rotorua and bring the action to these other iconic riding destinations, and take the world along for the ride,” Kinnaird says.

Kiwi pro Keegan Wright says he’s “super-stoked” to be heading south.

“With each spot having totally different terrain to the other, it’s gonna make for awesome racing.

“[I] can’t wait to kick the NZ summer off in true style.”

Other all-stars already confirmed are Canada’s Georgia Astle, Casey Brown, Bas van Steenbergen and Vaea Verbeeck, US’s Kialani Hines, Harriet Burbidge-Smith and Danielle Beecroft, from Australia, and Kiwi Robin Goomes.

Crankworx Rotorua event director Ariki Tibble says their event’s raised Rotorua’s profile as a mountain biking destination over the past six years, and the team’s excited to “unlock some of these benefits for other regions in the country”.

“The mountain biking in Central Otago, Queenstown and Wathis world, not to mention its world-renowned scenery and epic summers … we can’t wait to bring a grassroots version of our Crankworx Festival to the South.”

Athletes can register from September 20.

tracey.roxburgh@scene.co.nz