There was no shortage of sunshine at Glendhu Bike Park for the final days of the Crankworx Summer Series mountain bike event at the weekend.

The competition featured some of the best downhill mountain bikers in the world, including the 2021 King and Queen of the international Crankworx series, Bas Van Steenbergen and Vaea Verbeeck, both of Canada.

The summer series was for professional and amateur riders.

It began in Alexandra on November 27 and visited Queenstown and Cardrona before wrapping with a dual slalom on slopes overlooking Lake Wanaka.

Hundreds of spectators were in a picnic mood as they lined the trail of berms and jumps to watch the athletes tackle the hard and fast course.

Glendhu Bike Park managing director Charlie Cochrane was delighted with the big day out for Wanaka mountain biking fans.

Hosting international riders helped boost the sport at the grassroots level and also provided a shot in the arm for businesses involved in supporting the event, he said.

It also helped put the trail network offered by the Queenstown Lakes and Central Otago districts on the map for mountain biking enthusiasts, Mr Cochrane said.

Pumped . . . Charlie Cochrane managing director of the Glendhu Bike Park at the final day of the Crankworx Summer Series tour of Alexandra, Queenstown and Wanaka. The Glendhu Bike Park hosted the dual slalom: PHOTOS: MARJORIE COOK

“Bike Glendhu got going in 2020. We have resource consent for 50km of trail have got 35km in and just started a new trail to get the final 15km in,” he said.

Mr Cochrane said Glendhu Bike Park wanted to help build the sport of downhill mountain biking, so it was important to be able to offer locals the chance to watch and mingle with international athletes who had stayed on in New Zealand after competing in the Crankworx Rotorua World Cup event in November.

“Having Crankworx come and do an event here was just magical. Those guys run a world class event and it was extremely awesome just to see them going from location to location and bringing an epic vibe .. Having it happen on our door step in Queenstown Lakes and Wanaka is just awesome,” he said.

Verbeeck and van Steenbergen ended their year-long Crankworx campaigns by winning the Rotorua leg of the world tour.

The two Canadians had spent all year chasing points in the Crankworx World Tour to earn their King and Queen of Crankworx titles.

The duo also claimed the leader boards in the Summer Series but were bested by their rivals yesterday in the dual slalom knock-out competition race side by side and the winner progresses to the next round.

Pros on show . . . top Canadian downhill mountainbiker Vaea Verbeeck at the final day of the Crankworx Summer Series tour of Alexandra, Queenstown and Wanaka. The final day was the dual slalom at Glendhu Bike Park, Wanaka. Verbeeck was crowned the Queen of Crankworx in Rotorua in early November at the conclusion of the year long Crankworx World Tour: PHOTOS: MARJORIE COOK

Van Steenbergen made it to the finals but had to be content with runner-up, after pacy New Zealand downhiller Tuhoto-Ariki Pene claimed the top podium spot.

Verbeeck was eliminated by Kiwi rider Jenna Hastings in the second round, but was happy with her day.

“It has been sweet so far, and definitely after the world tour, to be able to enjoy all of New Zealand. The Summer Series was able to bring us to a bunch of new places for us, so that’s been really cool .

“Conditions have been perfect, it rained over night, they worked on the track, all the holes have been filled and it’s been a really good time,” Verbeeck said.


Professional Men: Tuhoto-Ariki Pene, New Zealand, 1, Bas van Steenbergen, Canada, 2, Samuel Blenkinsop, New Zealand, 3, David McMillan, Australia, 3.

Professional women: Harriet Burbridge-Smith, Australia, 1, Caroline Buchanan, Australia, 2, Jenna Hastings, New Zealand, 3, Kialani Hines, United States, 4.