CrankChaos 2019: We Came, we Saw, we Cranked!

1. The incomparable views you get when riding the Maluti Mountains of Lesotho. Photo Credit - Dom Barnardt

On the 31st of October, CrankChaos riders and spectators from across Southern Africa descended on the mountain kingdom of Lesotho.

CrankChaos is a mountain biking festival extraordinaire that takes place at Afriski Mountain Resort, situated in the heart of the Drakensberg-Maluti Mountains in Lesotho, from the 31 October – 3 November 2019. CrankChaos, one of the unique biking events on the continent, is quickly establishing itself as the ultimate test for enduro and gravity riding featuring some of the biggest and most experienced names on the Southern African riding scene.

From the first day, CrankChaos brought together riders young and old, legendary and fresh on the scene. Friends were remembered, and friends were made, all on Afriski’s network of epic trails.

One of CrankChaos’s biggest attractions is that it features the only bike uplift in Africa. This year, there were more T-Bars added to the uplift. The extra T-bars meant less queuing, which equals more riding! And riders took full advantage, there was not one day where the hills weren’t riddled with riders from top to bottom.

RESULTS:

Dual Slalom

Afriski’s main slope was transformed into a mountain biking raceway complete with custom-built start gate, tightly packed berms, rollers and final launch to the finish. For the 2019 edition, CrankChaos sported a longer, and more exciting Dual Slalom deluxe. That’s an extra 100m of bigger berms, tighter turns and a fresh new redesign.

Men’s:

  1. Tim Bentley
  2. Theo Erlangsen
  3. Johann “Pottie” Potgieter

Ladies:

  1. Steffanie Grossmann
  2. Beani Thies
  3. Frankie du Toit

FOX Racing Enduro

For 2019 the Fox Racing Enduro had not just three or four, but a total of five action-packed stages to push riders to the very limit. That’s five stages of MTB euphoria, 9km’s of majestic Maluti mountain trail with one massive RedRock Beer riverside party to finish it all off. The additional stages took their toll on even the strongest of riders, but it was Tim Bentley across the line, scoring his second win for the weekend followed by Theo Erlangsen in 2nd.

Juniors:

  1. Willem Luxford (18:24)
  2. Ike Klaasen (18:51)
  3. Keagan Brand (19:38)

Men’s:

  1. Tim Bentley (16:29)
  2. Theo Erlangsen (16:33)
  3. Nico Velasco (16:48)

Ladies:

  1. Steffanie Grossman (19:25)
  2. Frankie Du Toit (20:25)
  3. Beanie Thies (21:02)

Hill Climb

After a brutal five stages of Enduro, riders geared up for the CrankChaos Hill Climb. The rules are simple, riders need to bring as much power and endurance to the slopes as to race directly uphill in the fastest possible time. Should a rider’s feet (or body) touch soil they are disqualified. Beating Conrad Stoltz himself, Struan Macmaster came out on the very top, beating Stoltz’s 2018 CrankChaos record.

A misty morning bumped out the Talon Tools Downhill Eliminator by an hour or two, but not before everyone gathered for what will always be a special moment in South African history – the Rugby World Cup finals. Riders packed into the Sky Restaurant to witness history in the making, the atmosphere could not have been more electric or more patriotic. It was the perfect warmup for the  final events of the weekend.

Talon Tools Downhill Eliminator

The Talon Tools Downhill Eliminator is all about skill and the luck of the draw. After picking a downhill trail at random the four riders, will ride a different track, racing to be the first through the Redbull arch and onto the podium. The drops, berms, jumps and bridges were revamped for 2019, with a lot of new surprises and challenges to keep things fresh.

The Maluti Mountain GOAT Greg Minnaar had this to say about the work done on the downhill trails; “Loved the new lines and additions this year, lots of great doubles. It’s pretty fun!” Coming out on top for the Talon Tools Downhill Eliminator, Tim Bentley sneaks the win from Greg Minnaar and Andrew Neethling with Johann Potgieter in tow, finishing off his three-day winning streak with a bang.

Juniors:

  1. Ike Klaasen
  2. Willem Luxford
  3. Keagan Brand

Mens:

  1. Tim Bentley
  2. Greg Minnaar
  3. Andrew Neethling

Ladies:

  1. Frankie Du Toit
  2. Beani Thies
  3. Steffanie Grossman

Whip Off

Despite the cold weather and a sneaky wind that day, the vibe surrounding the Whip-Off kept things nice and toasty. The Whip Off competition featured a variety of mini-events and titles to be won. The riders with the biggest cajones of the day were…

  • Tim Bently (Best Trick)
  • Jack Schlieman (Most Consistent)
  • Cornelius Swanepoel (Best Bail)
  • Duran van Eeden (Top Whip)

Strava Challenge

Throughout the weekend riders had the opportunity to tackle the Black Mountain Pass and Goldilocks trails as part of the CrankChaos Strava challenge. The winners will be announced on Social Media post-event to give the riders time to decompress and acclimatise to life off two wheels again.

As the dust settled and the events came to a close, the undisputed King and Queen of CrankChaos 2019 were Tim “No Training” Bentley and his better half Frankie du Toit. Tim cleaning up with firsts in every event and Frankie dominating Talon Tools Downhill Eliminator for the ladies. As CrankChaos has grown over the last four years, so has the ladies field. In 2019 women’s entry list saw some of the most talented mountain bikers in South Africa with the likes of Stephanie Grossman, Frankie du Toit and Beanie Thies coming to play in the Mountain Kingdom.

The events were over, but it all finished off with one raucous night of partying at the Gondola Cafe. The theme this year? Hillbilly. Riders went all out with mullets, dungarees, hot pants and high socks on-trend for the night. Breaking it down, Southern-style Jasper Dan kicked off the after-party, memories were shared, drinks were downed, and riders stumbled back home to their chalets at dawn.

“Before we close off another spectacular CrankChaos weekend, we just want to say a huge thank you to all the riders and spectators who attended CrankChaos 2019. Stoke levels were at an all-time high (3222m) this weekend, and the vibe was contagious.

Big shout out to our sponsors Talon Tough Tools, Fox Racing South Africa, and The RedRock Brewing Company. And the exhibitors, Trek Bicycle and Cycles United who had the latest Trek, Pyga and Norco bikes available to demo and for supplying some epic prizes.

2019 was by far the biggest and best event yet, and we are looking forward to hosting another bucket list event in 2020” comments Peter Peyper, Operations Manager and Event Organiser.