What went down at CrankChaos 2018

On the 1st of November, over 250 CrankChaos riders and spectators from across Southern Africa descended on Afriski Mountain Resort in the mountain kingdom of Lesotho. Excitement around this years 3 day CrankChaos event has been building all year with the announcement of major new sponsors; and the return of South African World Champion Greg Minnaar to the Afriski trails in Lesotho.

The Fox Racing Enduro participants getting ready for 3 epic stages.
Photo Cred Jean Pierre Nortje

CrankChaos takes place, every year, high up in the heart of the Drakensberg-Maluti Mountains, Lesotho and is one of the most unique biking events on the continent, bringing together the biggest brand names in mountain biking as well as the experience of the only Mountain Bike Uplift/ T bar in Africa.

From the first day, CrankChaos had an instant sense of community and electric atmosphere. After riders grabbed their goodie bags it didn’t take long before kit was thrown on, bikes were loaded onto the bike lift and everyone headed off to take advantage of every second possible on Afriski’s network of trails.

With the beauty of the surroundings you would be forgiven for forgetting the real reason for the trip to the Mountain Kingdom. But by the time the starting gun had sounded, nobody was under any illusions as to why they were there. With over R40 000 worth of prizes across the 5 formats.

 

RESULTS:

Faith Race Dual Slalom

Afriski’s main slope came alive for this eliminator style competition, featuring  a custom built start gate, tightly packed berms, speed bumps and a final launch to the finish. After a neck and neck battle between Greg Minnaar and Tim Bently, it was Bently who came out on top as the Faith Race Dual Slalom champion.

Men

  1. Tim Bently
  2. Greg Minnaar
  3. Johan Potgieter

Ladies

  1. Sabine Thies
  2. Frankie Du Toit
  3. Steffanie Grossman
Nothing beats the Basotho hospitality. Photo Cred Jean Pierre Nortje 

FOX Racing Enduro

The 3 stage FOX Enduro, totalling 6.3km, proved to be the ultimate test of endurance and riding ability for even our most battle worn competitors. Riders were called upon to combat the gruelling altitude of the majestic Maluti mountains all while manoeuvring the technical downhill trails that come with it. Theo Erlangsen battled hard to be the first across the line followed by Greg Minnaar in 2nd.

Junior:

  1. Jasper Barrett 11:59
  2. William Luxford 12:53
  3. Ike Klaasen 13:13

Ladies:

  1. Stephanie Grossman 13:06
  2. Frankie Du Toit 13:25
  3. Sabine Thies 13:35

Mens:

  1. Theo Erlangsen 11:10
  2. Greg Minnaar 11:23
  3. Johan Potgieter 11:27

Norco Downhill Eliminator

The Norco Downhill Eliminator was not merely a race against the clock. In fact, it was the ultimate challenge requiring not only technical skills, but stamina and just the right amount of luck. Four riders, each on a separate downhill run of equal distance, but all with their own twists and turns, raced to be the first through the Redbull arch. Navigation of berms, jumps and bridges up the ante – and the excitement. In the end, the Greg Minnaar came out as the king of the Norco Downhill Eliminator:

The GOAT himself tackling the CrankChaos trails with ease. Photo Cred Jean Pierre Nortje

Junior

  1. Jasper Barrett
  2. Ike Klaasen
  3. William Luxford

Ladies

  1. Beanie Thies
  2. Frankie Du Toit
  3. Stephanie Grossman

Mens

  1. Greg Minnaar
  2. Johan Potgieter
  3. Tim Bently

Johan Potgieter, 2nd in the Norco DH eliminator comments on his final, “I slipped my pedal at the start, and then down there I went off track, just kidding, I had a good run! Greg and I swapped lanes from the previous round I thought if I went off and let it loose and risk a bit but when we got to the bottom the man was in front of me – so well done to him!”

A leap of faith on one of the more technical CrankChaos trails. Photo Cred Jean Pierre Nortje

Strava Challenge

Coming to completely dominate, 7 time Xterra winner Conrad Stoltz, took the top of the leaderboard for the Avalanche & Goldilocks Strava challenges during the event. His times were so impressive Stoltz now has the fastest time ever recorded on Strava on the Black Mountain Pass route and 2nd fastest ever on the Goldilocks trail.

Hill Climb

The rules of the CrankChaos Hill Climb are simple. As the name suggests, this event dares riders to race directly uphill in the fastest possible time. Should a rider’s feet stay grounded just a little too long, they are automatically disqualified. Thighs and buns of steel, double the riders decided to enter and there was a record breaking distance from the winner of the Hill Climb, Conrad Stoltz.

 

Whip Off

With the sounds of bells, Talon chainsaws and vuvuzelas, the vibe surrounding the Whip Off competition was nothing less than electric. The Whip Off competition is judged on technicality, amplitude and, of course, style. The title of King of the Whip was awarded to the rider with the highest scores.

Young talent Ike Klaasen on form at CrankChaos 2018. Photo Cred Dom Barnarnt
  1. Tim Bently
  2. Ike Klaasen
  3. Andrew Neethling


What is CrankChaos without the infamous final night party? The theme this year was Day of the Dead and riders certainly did not disappoint with their fancy dress for the occasion. The highlight of the night was the performance by electro DJ duo Veranda Panda who had the Cranksters on their feet all through the night bringing down the curtain on yet another spectacular event.

“It’s our third one now and it’s by far the biggest one yet, three times the amount of riders than last year. The field was big in all the different events, the stoke levels were so high most riders ended up participating in every format.  The dozen of local riders that compete internationally including; Greg Minnaar, Andrew Neethling, Johan Potgieter and other recognisable names like Hayden Brown, Tim Bently and Theo Erlangsen definitely raised the level of riding. Everyone upped their game and went faster and higher.” comments Peter Pyper, Operations Manager and Event Organiser.

“We hope to grow this event in the years to come, with riders calling it one of the best local events they’ve been to. Riders are already asking for when entries open for next year, so we’ll be rolling that out over the next few weeks. So, if you love gravity and rubbing handlebars with your idols then keep your eyes on our website for the 2019 editor.” concluded Peyper.

Beanie Thies keeping those corners tight on the Faith Race Dual Slalom. Photo Cred Eric Palmer

Marking his much-awaited return to the Afriski slopes after a year away, when asked what’s the one thing that makes CrankChaos so special, the Maluti Mountain Goat Greg Minnaar had this to say. “I don’t think it is just one thing; the Afriski venue itself obviously it’s very unique I don’t think this event would happen without it. That and the people that come to do it, everyone is here to have a good time and ride bikes. Some guys just wouldn’t stop riding all day. Even some of the youngsters said to me, ‘Hey that guy has been lapping all day’…it’s just like that! We’re already planning for next year and can’t wait to be back.”.

CrankChaos will be back in 2019 so keep your eyes locked on www.crankchaos.com or follow us on the #CrankChaos or Afriski Mountain Lodge Facebook pages and be the first to get your hands on a set of tickets next year.

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