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Buchanan claims pump track title

Aussie Turner tops men's field in Crankworx debut

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The Ultimate Pump Track Challenge saw destiny fulfilled in the women's bracket as Caroline Buchanan and Jill Kintner met in the big final once again.

In all three previous Crankworx pump track events, the Australian and the American faced off in the finals, with Buchanan capturing two of those meetings.

With the overall series title on the line at Blackcomb Base II, they met again, with Buchanan getting the best of the nine-time pump-track champion thanks to a blazing first run as she earned the $5,000 series bonus.

In comparison to other 2017 Crankworx stops, the Whistler track was relatively straight with just a single turn, which BMXer Buchanan said she enjoyed.

"I'm stoked to win in Whistler. It was that collision course right to the final with me and Jill Kintner. We battled all year," Buchanan said. "Every year, Whistler is the final of the series and this was a straight rhythm so it was a little bit different to normal, but it was fast."

Kintner said Buchanan's start in the final made all the difference as she found herself at a deficit almost immediately.

"You've got no chain. You've got nothing you can do. You just have to wait for the chain to drop. I don't know how she did it, but she got me," Kintner said.

U.K. racer Joey Gough knocked off 16-year-old American Jordy Scott in the small final.

On the men's side, fellow Australian BMXer Bodi Turner took the field by storm in his Crankworx debut, upsetting France's Chaney Guennet in the round of 16. Guennet had entered the night second overall in the series standings and sought to knock off countryman Adrien Loron for the prize. Turner then defeated close friend Barry Nobles of the U.S., before edging New Zealand's Michael Bias by just 0.01 seconds in the semifinals to face Mitch Ropelato, who could claim the series title for himself with a victory. Turner got the best of the veteran American, though, and snagged his first-ever win.

"I'm a little overwhelmed so it was a little hard to control the nerves," he said. "A lot of the stuff I practice for BMX racing, I was able to apply today to keep the nerves down and focus on my line. In BMX, you've got a bunch of people cutting you off, but in this one, it's just you."

With the BMX World Championships having recently finished up in South Carolina, many international competitors were already in North America and so newcomers like Turner opted to add Crankworx to their itinerary.

"It was pretty last minute," he said. "I said 'I need to experience a mountain bike race and I need some time off' so this was the best opportunity and I've had the best week."

Ropelato said even though Turner was new to Crankworx, he didn't exactly come out of nowhere.

"He's not new to what we're doing. He's a BMXer. When I was age six to 14, this is what I was doing every week and when you do this every week, I expect you to be damn good," Ropelato said. "I made a bit of a mistake that cost me the win, in my head, but that's what happens. Live and learn."

Bias edged Loron in the small final, though the Frenchman still came through to win the series championship for the third year in a row even though the night didn't progress how he'd hoped.

"I would love to have been in the big final today, but it was hard work and guys are really fast," Loron said. "It was a tight race all night long."

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