Speed Trumps Style
Slavik relies on Speed to take the win.
In a battle of the event's namesake, it all came down to speed versus style with Tomas Slavik edging Kyle Strait in the final round of the Mons Royale Dual Speed and Style. The event,which features dual tracks and head-to-head racing, rewards the racer who throws the better trick on two select jumps with a time bonus.
This breeds two types of racers: One who will stick to speed, squashing the jumps while trying to get as far as head as possible, and then the racer who relies on his tricks to put himself ahead.
Kyle Strait, on his prototype Commencal with SRAM X01 DH, Guide Ultimate brakes and RockShox Suspension, came out swinging, eliminating number-one qualifier Martin Söderström and Whip-Off Champion Ryan "R-Dog" Howard in the first two rounds. He seemed unstoppable as he blended perfect tricks with blistering speed.
After three rounds, he met his match in the finals when he was up against Czech speedster Tomas Slavik, who returned to Crankworx after a five-year absence. Slavik, on his SRAM X01 DH equipped Ghost hardtail, was visibly the fastest guy on course but was shying away from any tricks, meaning Strait would have to keep him in his sights while throwing down perfectly executed tail-whips and backflips. After two runs it came down to the wire with the Czech edging the American by just .82.
There is potential for a rematch in tomorrow's Rotorua Pumptrack Challenge presented by RockShox, with both Slavik and Strait entered in the competition. Beyond that, action continues with the Crankworx Rotorua Slopestyle on Saturday and finally the Crankworx Rotorua Downhill presented by iXS on Sunday.