Premiere of Crankworx Innsbruck: Gravity-Defying Tricks and a Festival Vibe
Breathtaking tricks performed by the world’s best mountain bike riders in front of thousands of spectators as well as sold-out side events and workshops for children and teenagers in a stunning mountain location – the premiere of Crankworx Innsbruck at the Bikepark Innsbruck (Mutters, Götzens) could barely have been more spectacular.
Crankworx is known the world over as the biggest and best mountain bike series on the planet. Until a few months ago the Crankworx World Series was relatively unknown in Tyrol outside the mountain bike community, but now after a hugely successful first edition of Crankworx Innsbruck – accompanied by widespread coverage in the international media – the name is on everybody’s lips. Video material of Crankworx Innsbruck alone was able to generate 7.7 million views worldwide on online and social media channels, placing the event into the spotlight of the international mountain bike scene.
From 21 to 25 June the international mountain bike elite gathered in the regional capital of Tyrol to take part in the disciplines Whip-Off, Dual Speed & Style, Pumptrack, Downhill and Slopestyle. More than 18,500 spectators – including school classes, families with children and plenty of young-at-heart bike veterans – gathered at the Bikepark Innsbruck to watch the action. As the festival drew to a close Georg Spazier, CEO of the company innsbruck-tirol sports GmbH which was responsible for the organisation and running of Crankworx Innsbruck, commented on an outstanding first running of the event: “Together with our partners Innsbruck Tourism, Bikepark Innsbruck, Muttereralm Bergbahnen and the villages to the south of Innsbruck we managed in a very short period of time to create a family-friendly festival which generated great interest in Crankworx and (gravity) mountain biking.”
As is common at Crankworx, many of the more than 300 riders taking part in Innsbruck rode in several disciplines: 60 in the Whip-Off, 45 in Dual Speed & Style, 65 in Pumptrack, 18 in Slopestyle and 233 in Downhill. 25% of the athletes came from Austria, 56% from Europe and 19% from other countries.
18,500 fans, 140 accredited media representatives, 40 exhibitors and expo partners as well as 150 volunteers from the volunteer team tirol and many other people helping out in a wide range of areas worked closely with the organising team to make Crankworx Innsbruck a unique experience.
The Kidsworx programme of events and activities, developed in cooperation with the local education authority and the MTB Downhill & Freeride Verein Innsbruck, proved hugely popular and was booked out. Around 300 youngsters took part during Crankworx Innsbruck.
Darren Kinnaird, General Manager of the Crankworx World Tour, is delighted with the success of the first edition of the event in Innsbruck: “Crankworx Innsbruck was just incredible. From the world class courses that made it possible for the riders to perform at their highest level, to the location with its fantastic views, the enthusiastic fans, the amazing group of volunteers, and the execution by the local organization – all of the feedback on the first edition of Crankworx Innsbruck indicates it was a big success. It‘s always special when you introduce a new stop, but in many aspects Innsbruck managed to exceed our expectations. We can take a few good ideas from Innsbruck and apply them to our other Tour stops. I’m already looking forward to the next edition of Crankworx Innsbruck.”
Georg Spazier is also very enthusiastic about the 2018 edition of Crankworx Innsbruck: “It’s just incredible the praise we have received, the very positive feedback from the bike community and the international attention and media coverage from around the world about how professionally the event was run. I would like to thank the young organising team at innsbruck-tirol sports GmbH (ITS), the hard-working and dedicated volunteers and the disciplined fans. After such a successful premiere we are really looking forward to the next edition and hope that we will continue to receive such great support from all sides.”
Crankworx Innsbruck 2017 – a look back at the action
On 20 June the waiting was finally over! Crankworx Innsbruck began with the official Welcome Party at the aDLERS hotel. The party was open to everyone from 9:00pm and gave those in attendance the chance to raise their glasses to the start of what would prove to be an unforgettable week of action in the beautiful mountains around Innsbruck.
The first event at Crankworx Innsbruck took place one day later on 21 June. The Tiroler Tageszeitung Official Alpine Whip-Off Championships presented by Spank saw riders gather near the reservoir at the top of the Muttereralm to thrill the crowd of local and international fans with huge whips framed against the spectacular Nordkette mountains. France’s Louis Reboul and Canada’s Casey Brown, who has never been defeated in a whip-off, topped the podium. “Wow, there are so many people here,” commented Casey Brown. “It’s just amazing and the jump is unbelievably good.”
At the Mons Royale Dual Speed & Style Innsbruck on Thursday 22 June the name said it all. A total of 45 riders competed in the event which saw two athletes go head-to-head on each run in a battle of both speed and style. In a nail-biting finale it was Tomas Lemoine (FRA) who came out on top ahead of Martin Söderström (SWE) and Sam Reynolds (UK). The afternoon of sizzling action on the mountain was followed by a movie night at the sold-out Metropol cinema in Innsbruck featuring the world premiere of “Follow the Fraser” (Red Bull Media House) and “Ride Your F#%king Bike” (Fox Racing) powered by Chainsaw. The evening concluded with an afterparty in the nearby Dachsbau club in downtown Innsbruck.
“Pump for victory” was the name of the game at the Raiffeisen Club Pumptrack Challenge presented by RockShox on Friday 23 June. On the 35x35m course it was Caroline Buchanan (AUS) who won the women’s event by just 0.03 seconds from Jill Kintner (USA) in second place. Of the male riders on the start line it was France’s Chaney Guennet who claimed top spot ahead of Mitch Ropelato (USA) and Barry Nobles (USA). The head-to-head format and unique form of racing which pumptrack offers was a huge hit with the roughly 3,000 spectators that lined the courses. The good vibes continued into the evening with not one but two afterparties: Dachsbau bounced to the sound of hip-hop, while across town there was a night of punk-rock and thrash at p.m.k .
The Crankworx Innsbruck Downhill presented by iXS drew huge crowds on Saturday 24 June with the cheers ringing out especially loudly for the 70 Austrian riders among the field of 233 athletes who took on the course in Götzens. First place in the Pro Category went to Danny Hart (GBR) (02:50.60) for the men and Tracey Hannah (AUS) (03:11.79) for the women “The downhill trail is dry, dusty and full of roots – amazing, I love it,” said Tracey Hannah with a wide grin on her face.
At the Crankworx Innsbruck Slopestyle presented by Kenda it was all about precision bike-handling, gravity-defying tricks and nerves of steel. On the 290m course lined with thousands of fans, the international judges had their work cut out as the world’s best freestyle mountain bike riders pushed themselves and each other to the limit. Under pressure after an insane run from Canada’s Brett Rheeder, Nicholi Rogatkin from the USA knew he had to pull out something special for the win. His answer? A sick run culminating in a hugely difficult Cashroll Tailwhip on the final kicker. The combination of high technical difficulty and clean execution earned Rogatkin victory ahead of Rheeder in second und France’s Tomas Lemoine in third.
I think I speak on behalf of all the riders when I say that the first edition of Crankworx Innsbruck impressed everybody. A killer course with an unbeatable backdrop of mountains and an absolutely crazy level of riding in the competition… it doesn’t get much better than that. I put it all on the line in my run and gave it 100%, and made it happen. I couldn’t be more stoked or feel more honored to take the win. It was one for the history books,” said Rogatkin.
With top spot at Crankworx Innsbruck Slopestyle the American is now just one win away from claiming the Triple Crown of Slopestyle.
Following a thrilling day of action in the mountains, riders and fans gathered in Innsbruck in the evening for FM4 Tanzmitmir presented by Trek Bikes, THE official farewell party to mark the end of Crankworx Innsbruck.
The good news, however, is that Crankworx will be back in Tyrol in 2018. The date for next year’s edition of Crankworx Innsbruck will be announced soon. Make sure you get it down in your diary and get ready for another festival of insane gravity mountain biking!
Copyright: Moris Lauinger/GOT iT!< News