Absolutely cranking: Queenstown elite mountain biker Kalani Muirhead gives it guts during last weekend's Crankworx Summer Series slalom event in Wānaka. PICTURE: CLINT TRAHAN/CRANKWORX

It might be one of the biggest mountain bike series in the world, but Crankworx has still got its eyes set on locals.

Having spent the last couple of weeks across Central Otago, the Crankworx Summer Series is wrapping up its New Zealand leg with the pump track rounds, held at Queenstown’s Kerry Drive, this weekend.

The training and qualifying round for 32 pros and the open/Crankworx Next categories is being held today before finals and hot laps tomorrow.

Event director and Mountain Bike Events Ltd boss Ariki Tibble says there’s a huge focus on getting locals involved this weekend, both on and off-track.

‘‘Part of the plan is to enable as many people — locally — to be working on the events as we possibly can.

‘‘[Queenstown has] quite a cool scene down here and it’s a tight-knit group … it’s a powerful little collective.’’

Tibble’s working alongside Queenstown Mountain Bike Club and Emmerson Wilken, who he says has been really pushing for local involvement.

Wilken says the club’s stoked an event like this is happening, and reckons it’s a ‘‘great opportunity for our members to be involved in an event of this scale’’.

She’s done it again: Queenstown pro mountain biker Jess Blewitt and Bas van Steenbergen after winning the Crankworlx Summer Series slalom race last weekend. PICTURE: CLINT TRAHAN/CRANKWORKX

Tibble’s also impressed with the depth in the professional mountain biking field, and loves to see the pros ride alongside local amateurs, who
can then turn their experiences into careers later on.

He’s also got admiration for Queenstown local and Red Bull athlete Jess Blewitt, 20, who last week competed in Crankworx Summer Series’ Wānaka slalom race for the first time, and won it.

This weekend’s pump track races and Saturday’s Coro1200 at Coronet Peak are some of the last official mountain bike comps in Queenstown in what’s been a massive season.

Action at the pump track goes from 10am till 6.30pm today and from 9am till 5pm tomorrow.

A pro hot lap will go from 3pm till 3.30pm on Sunday, immediately followed by the pro finals.

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