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Jakob Jewett flies to silver at 2024 Crankworx Rotorua downhill

Kiwis Lachlan Stevens-McNab and Eliana Hulsebosch win gold on home soil
Jakob Jewett won a silver medal at the 2024 Crankworx Rotorua downhill race.

New Zealanders proved to be unstoppable on home turf at the 10-year anniversary of Crankworx Rotorua's downhill event, but one Squamolian came close to winning it all. 

Jakob Jewett secured himself a silver medal on March 17 as the only man to get within shouting distance of the eventual victor: Rotorua native Lachlan Stevens-McNab and his time of two minutes and 45.612 seconds. Jewett was over 2.3 seconds shy of that mark, but still managed to blow away bronze medallist Sam Blenkinsop (+7.860) and the rest of the field. 

"Super happy to start the season with a second-place finish in Rotorua," Jewett wrote on social media. "It feels really good to be in the mix this early on, and I'm ready to keep building onward!

The reigning Canadian Open DH king added in a press release: "I just wanted to have a clean run and see where my speed is at. Obviously, the New Zealand and Australia boys have had a lot of time to bike, so coming from the Canada winter I just wanted to be in the mix, and yeah, super happy I’m on the podium.” 

Kiwis did sweep the ladies' downhill podium, with Eliana Hulsebosch grabbing gold (3:24.130). She too was dominant, well ahead of Jess Blewitt in the runner-up spot (+5.891) and Shania Rawson in third (+10.777). 

Athletes were especially effusive in their praise for the Taniwha venue, attributed to Rotorua’s forgiving and fast-absorbing volcanic soil.

"The trail was so sick, and honestly, the rain two days ago made it so much more interesting," Stevens-McNab told reporters. "It was like a highway when it was dry. Now that it’s been wet and, you know, ruts were everywhere, made the track more technical which is cool. But yeah, I love racing here." 

Full results are available on the Crankworx website.

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