Bas Van Steenbergen of Kelowna redefined the meaning of being in the hot seat earlier this month at Crankworx in Whistler, sweating out 30 full runs in first place, holding off the top downhill racers in the world, to win the Fox Air DH.
Temperatures were soaring during the competition, held at Whistler’s mountain bike park, leaving the courses hot, dry, dusty and rutty for the 10-day festival as Whistler played host to 1,200 riders and 130,000 spectators.
“That was nerve-wracking; it wasn’t the greatest. I would rather have dropped in a little bit earlier next time,” said Van Steenbergen, who lives and trains in Kelowna and was competing alongside bis brother Tom.
Like many of the racers who grew up in the Crankworx scene, he has put in his time, making the pilgrimage to Whistler to race for the last six years. This was his top Crankworx result.
“I got a fourth in Les Gets in Speed & Style and then a fourth here in Speed & Style, but this is definitely the highlight,” he said, sweat pouring down his brow under the blazing sun in the finish corral.
Van Steenbergen and his older brother, Tom, gave the crowds quite the show just four days before during the first live broadcast event of the festival. Tom nailed the first double backflip in Dual Speed & Style history to achieve received the first perfect 100 ever awarded in the judged sport, which sees the riders race the clock and another competitor, while delivering freestyle tricks along the course.
“I was just stoked to pull that double flip in a race,” Tom said. “We’ve raced against each other before in BMX way back, but this was really cool. Speed and Style is about bringing Slopestyle and racing together, so it’s super cool, and it was just great to race against my brother. It feels like the funnest thing ever.”
Crankworx Whistler is one of three Crankworx festivals held around the world, and is now in its 14th year with seven live broadcast events. The other two stops are in Rotorua, New Zealand, in March, and Les Gets, France, in June.
Events wrapped up Sunday August 21, culminating in the marquee event, the Red Bull Joyride, a Slopestyle competition which sees the athletes perform an aerial show, jumping off a string of wooden features before a crowd of 30,000-plus fans.
And it wasn’t just the Van Steenbergen’s who have a connection to Kelowna as Ontario rider Brett Rheeder has moved to the Okanagan to live and train with the brothers. On Sunday Rheeder captured the Red Bull Joyride, outcompeting 15 of the world’s fastest riders to capture the title at the largest slopestyle mountain bio competition in the world.
All three stops of the Crankworx World Tour are broadcast on Crankworx.com, Pinkbike.com and the Slopestyle competition, Red Bull Joyride, is broadcast exclusively on Red Bull TV.