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Kiwi Brook MacDonald takes Crankworx Rotorua Downhill Win

The power of the Bulldog.

 

Brook MacDonald (NZL) has had his fare share of time of the World Stage, and some time working through injuries. Right now, he seems to be happy with his bike, happy with his team, and is giving it everything he’s got.

 

The 27 year-old Hawke’s Bay rider took out the Pro Elite Men’s category at the 2019 Crankworx Rotorua DH presented by The Professionals at an epic speed of 2:52.87. This was within half a second quicker than fellow rider Finn Iles (CAN) at 2:52.96.

 

Brook MacDonald performing for Men's Downhill Finals, Crankworx Rotorua. Credit: Graeme Murray / Red Bull Content Pool.

Brook MacDonald performing for Men’s Downhill Finals, Crankworx Rotorua. Credit: Graeme Murray / Red Bull Content Pool.

 

Brook MacDonald performing for Men’s Downhill Finals, Crankworx Rotorua. Photographer: Graeme Murray.

 

“It’s always a bit nervous coming into this, knowing where you’re going to stack up. I feel pretty good heading into the season.” – Brook MacDonald

 

Downhill Finals Podium, Crankworx Rotorua. Credit: Graeme Murray / Red Bull Content Pool.

Downhill Finals Podium, Crankworx Rotorua. Credit: Graeme Murray / Red Bull Content Pool.

 

Downhill Finals Podium, Crankworx Rotorua. Photographer: Graeme Murray.

 

With two big results in the past five days, the Bulldog has good reason for positivity. His win today comes on the heels of another podium-topping performance in last weekend’s New Zealand National Championships.

 

Kerr. Credit: Fraser Britton / Crankworx 2019

Kerr. Credit: Fraser Britton / Crankworx 2019

 

Watch Brook MacDonald’s run here:

 

 

“It’s pretty amazing. Good way to kick off the season. Some big names here.” – Brook MacDonald.

 

 

Brook MacDonald performing for Men's Downhill Finals, Crankworx Rotorua. Credit: Graeme Murray / Red Bull Content Pool.

Brook MacDonald performing for Men’s Downhill Finals, Crankworx Rotorua. Credit: Graeme Murray / Red Bull Content Pool.

 

The field included current King of Crankworx Sam Blenkinsop (NZL), Laurie Greenland (GBR), Finn Iles (CAN), and current World Champion Loic Bruni (FRA). Loic Bruni dropped in second to last with MacDonald in the hot seat, but didn’t have the run he was likely hoping for.

 

Sam Blinkensop (NZ). Credit: Fraser Britton / Crankworx 2019

Sam Blinkensop (NZ). Credit: Fraser Britton / Crankworx 2019

 

“Obviously unfortunate for Loic who had a flat tire. It would’ve been good to see what he would have done. But that’s racing. I’m pretty stoked. Good way to lead into the World Cups.” – Brook MacDonald.

 

Loic Bruni performs for Men's Downhill Finals, Crankworx Rotorua. Credit: Graeme Murray / Red Bull Content Pool.

Loic Bruni performs for Men’s Downhill Finals, Crankworx Rotorua. Credit: Graeme Murray / Red Bull Content Pool.

 

MacDonald just narrowly edged out Iles, who was also flying through the dry course.

 

“I’m pretty happy. First race of the year is always a bit nerve-wracking, but last year I got third here and this year I got second, in completely different conditions. It was  a close race.” – Fin Iles.

 

Finn Iles performs for Men's Downhill Finals, Crankworx Rotorua. Credit: Graeme Murray / Red Bull Content Pool.

Finn Iles performs for Men’s Downhill Finals, Crankworx Rotorua. Credit: Graeme Murray / Red Bull Content Pool.

 

Finn Iles performs for Men’s Downhill Finals, Crankworx Rotorua. Photographer: Graeme Murray.

 

So close, in fact, that the top three were all within half a second of each other. Rounding things out was George Brannigan (NZL), who sweat it out in the hot seat through nearly two dozen riders, with a time of 2:53.24.

 

New Zealand friends Brook MacDonald & Sam Blenkinsop at the finish. Credit: Graeme Murray / Red Bull Content Pool.

New Zealand friends Brook MacDonald & Sam Blenkinsop at the finish. Credit: Graeme Murray / Red Bull Content Pool.

 

New Zealand friends Brook MacDonald & Sam Blenkinsop at the finish. Photographer: Graeme Murray.

 

Tracey Hannah (AUS) took out the Women’s title, saying her win was just the start of the season she was looking for, after “a tough year.” She was sidelined with a concussion the weekend before the same race at Crankworx Rotorua in 2018.

 

Credit: Fraser Britton / Crankworx 2019

Credit: Fraser Britton / Crankworx 2019

 

Hannah’s time of 3:21.32 bested that of Kate Weatherley (NZL), who crossed the line in 3:26.12.

 

Tahnee Seagrave performs for Women's Downhill Finals, Crankworx Rotorua. Credit: Graeme Murray / Red Bull Content Pool.

Tahnee Seagrave performs for Women’s Downhill Finals, Crankworx Rotorua. Credit: Graeme Murray / Red Bull Content Pool.

 

Tahnee Seagrave performs for Women’s Downhill Finals, Crankworx Rotorua. Photographer: Graeme Murray.

 

The Skyline Rotorua Downhill course starts at the very top of Mount Ngongotaha, where riders race through the farm lands and into the native trees before dropping into Skylines ‘The Fuzz’, finishing in the event village. The track brings together a mix of off-camber hard packed Rotorua dirt with step-ups, bridge-drops and a rock garden, making it a favourite for many.

 

Brannigan. Credit: Fraser Britton / Crankworx 2019

Brannigan. Credit: Fraser Britton / Crankworx 2019

The extremely dry conditions this year meant a steep and dusty descent.

 

Watch the spills from the event here:

 

 

“I can’t even explain. The holes are so big, you’ve just got to lock your arms and lean back and hope that you don’t go over the bars. I had a lot of setup changed on my fork all weekend, and I’m really happy with how it turned out.” – Tracey Hannah.

 

Brown. Credit: Fraser Britton / Crankworx 2019

Brown. Credit: Fraser Britton / Crankworx 2019

 

“From my last practice run to race run it had blown out a lot. It is what it is, so you’ve just got to deal with it and prepare yourself well for it. It was definitely rough. Hard to not make mistakes.” – Brook MacDonald.

 

Pedal to the metal, full gas – that’s what the Crankworx Rotorua DH is all about.

 

It’s going to be a good season.

 

Story: Crankworx & Torpedo7.

 

 

 

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