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Post-Crankworx ‘22 debrief

Updated: Jan 22

We’ve had a month now to come down from our high of being involved in Crankworx Rotorua. And wow, what a high it was! Even the wet and muddy conditions didn’t dampen our spirits, and with a bit of trench digging we also didn’t get such wet feet.


Before we set out to attend this event we had an idea of what we hoped to achieve and were blown away to massively exceed those expectations.


Exhibitor life.. Better than we could have imagined


We were really encouraged by the amount of interest we had for adaptive mountain biking (aMTB) and for creating accessible trails for everybody’s benefit. Having a couple of Bowheads and a Lasher on display definitely helped to attract the attention of the gear nerds, and handing out muesli bars proved a great conversation-starter before breaking into why an adaptive sport was there at Crankworx. Being at this mainstream international mountain bike event was a huge opportunity to advocate for, educate the general public about, and showcase aMTB, what our community of riders can achieve and the possibilities it can offer our entire community. The connections we made were invaluable and have opened a lot of new avenues for what #AdaptMTB hopes to achieve in future. Conversations with mountain bike parks and club operators were countless and we really hope they take up our offers of support to go forward with their accessible projects.


The Racing


Podium for Specialized dual slalom

Richard Purcell 1st, Jayden Glentworth 2nd, James Littlejohn 3rd, Liam Keenan 4th


Four adaptive riders from across NZ were competing in two events at Crankworx; the Hipster Adaptive Downhill and the Speclialized Dual Slalom. These were our very own James Littlejohn, Christchurch-based Liam Keenan, Palmerston North rider Jayden Glentworth and local Whakatane rider Richard Purcell. Although the guys had a variety of disabilities, and rode various adaptive equipment, the racing proved to be very close making for some tight finals. And although they were out to push each other on the trail, a true sense of camaraderie and community was felt throughout the week, with everyone just wanting each other to have a good race and come back unscathed. Having these guys representing adaptive mountain biking was great, and for a number of the general public it was the first time they'd seen such adaptive equipment and the level of skill (and guts!) these riders have.


With Crankworx happening again in March 2023 we look forward to working with the organisers to increase the opportunities for adaptive riders to race and hopefully we can attract more competitors, especially female adaptive riders. Crankworx is really showing other events what can easily be incorporated into existing events and how some minor changes can make their trails accessible for aMTB.


Spectator experience

It was great to meet a number of spectators who had taken Crankworx up on their offer to support accessibility with the Parafed Auckland van zipping them up to the side of the tracks where races were going on. And again, having our gazebo set up gave these spectators a chance to come by and meet the adaptive riders competing, or simply to shelter from the less-than-ideal weather and regroup before heading out to watch more racing.


The Crankworx team’s openness to try new things and ways to include the disabled community at this event is very encouraging, and although we can still see areas for improvement it was great to see how far we’ve come since the last event the public could attend in 2020.


NGĀ MIHI NUI!!!!!



We owe a number of people who freely gave up their time, expertise and equipment a huge thank you. People like Yak (Brent Vandam) who drove over from Kinloch everyday to help man our expo site; Vicki Koopal who took time out from work for an afternoon to fill in at our stand when everyone was busy with racing; Tiffiney Perry who lent us her Lasher to display in our stand; Tuckey (Simon Alefesio-Tuck) from Rotorua Lakes Council for lending his time and expertise in aMTB trail design and bringing any last minute equipment that we hadn’t packed (you know, pickaxes, for example); as well as on and off course support Liam Parker, Todd Sutherland, Max Eyre, Lisa Jones, Hadley Skipper and Mark Glentworth.


We reached out to professional photographer Thomas France from Australia again this year, (after a chance meeting on the side of Dual Slalom trail at Crankworx 2020) and he donated his expertise and time by documenting our week. Bryce Wilson donated images he took for the Deep Summer Photo Comp. Tasti NZ donated Refuel and Protein Fix muesli bars. Pro-rider Brook McDonald donated an autographed custom design downhill jersey which we used to run a raffle.


New friends we made at the event included Cam from POC sports who donated a bunch of helmets for use at our Give-it-a-go events and Lisa and Hilton from Motomuck who donated their cleaning products which meant we could send home the borrowed equipment sparkly and clean.


Prior to this event we were also granted money from Rotorua Trust and The Lion Foundation which went towards the purchase of our lovely big gazebo, signage and printed material that was part of us advocating for accessible trail design and inclusion for aMTB in events.

To Ari, Rama, Sydney, Tatiana (just a few of the rad team who create the Crankworx event each year), for your willingness to just make it work and include everybody in this event we are so grateful, and we look forward to working with you again in March.


Ngā mihi nui to you all, it's support like yours that make what we do possible.



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