The organisers of Crankworx Rotorua say they have never been as ready for the event as they are this year.
The annual event is just 10 days away and is expected to draw thousands of people to town from both New Zealand and overseas.
Event director Ariki Tibble told the Rotorua Daily Post because the large team behind the event had worked together since the first event in 2015, they were able to anticipate problems before they happened.
“We’ve never been as ready as we are this year.”
Tibble said one new aspect to the events was a secondary schedule of “mini activations”.
“Those are the little icing on the cake touches. It could be someone playing guitar when you’re walking through the gates, it could be a juggler at Kidsworx. Those things that bring the site to life.”
Tibble said international riders had already flocked to Rotorua to ride the trails. He expected next weekend to be when it “really starts to ramp up” with visitors coming to watch the events.
This year, events on Monday and Tuesday off Tarawera Rd will be free to access, events on Wednesday and Thursday will be free for locals with proof of residency, and events on Friday through to Sunday will have a cost for all.
“This event is Rotorua’s event. While we have to make it work financially we try to let our locals through the doors for as low of a cost as possible,” Tibble said.
“If they have not fallen in love with the event already we want them to.
Organiser Tak Mutu said the 2019 event felt the most exciting it had ever been.
“I think this is the most exciting one we’ve run yet. In 2018 it felt like a Wednesday, it was our hump year, we didn’t have the Enduro World Series … we knew it was going to be a pretty tough year.
“This year feels different. We’re in Friday night party mode. It’s going to be bigger than it’s been in the past and better than it’s been in the past.”
Mutu said come March 19 they would hit the ground running with more sponsors and bigger media coverage, music, giveaways and games.
With the Mountain Bike National Championships the weekend before Crankworx, Mutu expected spectators to start arriving in Rotorua by next Friday.
Ticket sales are already 10 per cent ahead of this time last year.
In a presentation to Rotorua Lakes Council’s Operations and Monitoring Committee earlier in the week, Tibble said the event had a significant economic impact.
It was estimated to have an impact of $4.21 million in 2018 and a total of $18.49m since 2015.
International viewership was at 12.4m people last year and visitors to Rotorua stayed an average of 7.4 nights.
“Our job as a Crankworx team is to hold the torch up to the world to get their attention and say ‘this is a place worth taking notice of’. Our part in that process is getting that torch up and holding it up for as long as we possibly can,” Tibble told the committee.
“In terms of fulfilling the promises we’re making to the world, that this is a mountain biking mecca … the parties responsible for fulfilling the promises are our community, our businesses and our city.
“We believe there’s no other torch that’s getting held up that is as effective in the mountain bike industry as Crankworx.”
Crankworx has also been nominated for the best international event and best sports event awards in the New Zealand Events Association awards, the winners of which will be named on March 26.