This is the third year Les Gets has hosted Crankworx and it just seems to get better and better. The first year was a bit of a washout, the second was a scorcher and Crankworx Les Gets 2018 felt like it really hit its stride.
2018 was the final year of Les Gets’ 3 year contract and the five days of action kicked off on Wednesday 20th June. There was a packed schedule of practice ahead of the finals for the dual slalom in the evening. This would pave the way for the whip-off, pump track, dual speed and style, downhill, slopestyle and two downhill events on Mont Chéry over the coming days.
The whole town is enveloped in Crankworx mania. There are brand stands everywhere, the streets are lined with factory teams, big screens and bike fans are camped in every nook and cranny. Happily, you can’t go more than a few paces without passing a living legend of the gravity mountain bike world. Sharing the trails, streets, bars and restaurants with these guys is a proper buzz.
It’s a full-on few days for us though. We try to squash as much as we can in between normal, everyday active family life. We’ve learnt to just buckle up for a tiring few days! Consequently, with all the excitement and late nights for the kids, the inevitable ‘zombie mode’ sets in by the weekend.
This year, the ‘Dual Slalom’ opened proceedings. Crankworx wanted to spread some of the event locations out which meant a spanking new dual slalom track had been built. It started in the woods near the school and popped out onto the pistes, giving the event a new look, and the whole festival a new dimension. We wandered around the track getting different perspectives of the qualifying action before the finals had to be cancelled due to low light.
Thursday turned out to be an absolute beauty of a day. Some friends of ours have a big chalet right by the new location for the ‘Whip Off’ and ‘Pump Track’. With the finals of both being held on Thursday night, they were throwing a big BBQ for a bunch of downhill-enthusiastic friends. Buzzing back and forth from their place with burgers and beers in hand, we were able to catch the best of the action!
We decided to skip the rescheduled ‘Dual Slalom’ final due to the fact that the kids were exhausted. We figured that an early night would mean we were partially recharged for the ‘Downhill’ on Saturday.
The World’s best descenders would be doing battle on what is regularly described by many as the best downhill track in the world! Mont Chèry has World Championship heritage, it’s got old school features, big drops, high speed open meadows, and steep technical woodland. After a morning of high speed, high risk action, Brit legend Rachel Atherton grabbed the title for the ladies. Aussie Troy Brosnan repeated his success in 2017 taking the men’s Crankworx DH crown!
Sunday was another beauty! The all-comers ‘Air downhill’ kicked the day off, followed by the major spectacle of the ‘Slopestyle’ competition. The Slopestyle delivered the thrills and spills it always promises as well as an outstanding run by Nicoli Rodatkin to take the win. Despite having the competition in the bag after his first run, he knew how to please the crowd and went all guns blazing on his second. Good lad!
‘Dual Speed and Style’ closed out the festival on Sunday afternoon. This year it was two-time Red Bull Rampage winner, Kyle Strait taking the win. We left the girls watching that because T was done spectating and was itching to ride!
As quick as the Crankworx whirlwind had swept into town, it packed up to move on to Austria. As a result of this, we were left with totally zonked kids and a major atmosphere void.
There was a rumour that Crankworx might be back next year for one more year with an option to extend but the latest goss suggests it’s ‘sign up for 3 years or nothing’. We’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed. There’s a hefty price tag that comes with hosting the event and it’s understandable that the town wants to see a return on their investment.
Personally, I think it’s a hard one to quantify. It’s a supreme event providing a fantastic few days with a tremendous atmosphere. Also, it kicks the biking season off here at the right time with a huge bang. I reckon the positive implications for Les Gets’ ongoing MTB reputation permeates far beyond what goes through the tills that week.
I’d sign up for every year!
You can visit the Crankworx website for full results lists and more info on the events.