It's never too early to write about Crankworx.

I mean, take a look at Fraser Benton's photo from this year's Slope Style (in memory of McGazza, the legendary Kelly McGarry). Breathtaking. Spectacular.

I spoke to Crankworx event director, Ariki Tibble, last week. He's still fizzing. Part of that is because of the enthusiastic team who helps put it all together.

This year they faced real adversity with serious weather conditions disrupting the schedule. As Ari said, they had to manage up to five changes per day.


I've been around events and TV shoots where bad weather has played a major role. It's always stressful. I'm sure that it was the same for Crankworx.

From the point of view of a punter, though, it all seemed remarkably serene. That's a sure sign of teamwork at its best.

This week, Crankworx joined the growing family of Rotorua Trails Trust partners - last count, 24 diverse local businesses from building developers, to event organisers, bike shops, to forestry-related companies, accountants and accommodation and tourism suppliers.

Rotorua Lakes Council was in there from the outset of the trust last year.

"The whole team at the trust do an amazing job with our trails and we just wanted to make a small contribution," said Ari.

"The work over the last 25 years has been epic and Crankworx is one of the end-products of all that. We feel like we are standing on the shoulders of giants."

Dave Donaldson has been around most of that quarter-century. He's chairman of MTB Events, the not-for-profit governance entity for Crankworx Rotorua.

"The not-so-secret to the success of Crankworx Rotorua and the Trails Trust is the thriving mountain bike culture in our community," Dave said.

"The enthusiastic event volunteers and our passionate local superfans create that special atmosphere that stokes athletes' performances and lights up the live feed that goes round the world to huge audiences."

That last point that Dave makes is especially relevant. Direct economic benefit is easily quantifiable.

And so is the impact and reach of events when the international media spotlight shines on them.

We experienced that for the first time in the lead-up to the 2006 UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships and during the seven-day event itself.

Facebook started that year, so the potential impact of social media was just a glint in Zuckerberg's eye (and I bet even he had no idea, really).

In 2006, it was old-ish school: TV, print and websites, worldwide and in the millions.

This idea of the broader impact of events is not too far away from the concept of quadruple-reporting that many businesses are moving towards: financial (of course) along with social licence (impact on the community), environmental and cultural. Crankworx Rotorua ticks all those boxes:

Last week, I asked for information about the early days of mountain biking in Rotorua.

Thanks to Tom Lynch and David Benson for reminding me about another legend, Dave Fischer and his Velocity bike shop in Owhata. More to follow. Stay tuned.

If you have any stories you'd like to share about those early days, please email
Photo: Slope-style action at Crankworx Rotorua (Fraser Benton).