Ice Cross Downhill Thrills Marseille Crowd

Cameron Naasz of the United States, Maxwell Dunne of the United States, Scott Croxall of Canada and Marco Dallago of Austria compete during the finals at the first stage of the ATSX Ice Cross Downhill World Championship at the Red Bull Crashed Ice in Marseille, France on January 14, 2017
Cameron Naasz of the United States, Maxwell Dunne of the United States, Scott Croxall of Canada and Marco Dallago of Austria compete during the finals at the first stage of the ATSX Ice Cross Downhill World Championship at the Red Bull Crashed Ice in Marseille, France on January 14, 2017. // Vincent Curutchet / Red Bull Content Pool

Cameron Naasz of the United States, Maxwell Dunne of the United States, Scott Croxall of Canada and Marco Dallago of Austria compete during the finals at the first stage of the ATSX Ice Cross Downhill World Championship at the Red Bull Crashed Ice in Marseille, France on January 14, 2017
Cameron Naasz of the United States, Maxwell Dunne of the United States, Scott Croxall of Canada and Marco Dallago of Austria compete during the finals at the first stage of the ATSX Ice Cross Downhill World Championship at the Red Bull Crashed Ice in Marseille, France on January 14, 2017. // Vincent Curutchet / Red Bull Content Pool

At Ice Cross Downhill in Mediterranean city, Naasz proves he’s number 1 

Ice Cross Downhill demonstrates it can thrive even in the warmest race ever that was held in Southern European port city of Marseille. Cameron Naasz won the season opener in front of a big French crowd, launching his bid to become first racer to win back-to-back championships. 

MARSEILLE, France – American Cameron Naasz won the first Red Bull Crashed Ice race held on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea on Saturday after a flawless high-speed run down an artificial ice track into Marseille’s old port. It was the seventh career victory for Naasz, the reigning Ice Cross Downhill World Champion who is hoping to become the first athletes to win back-to-back titles.

In the world’s fastest sport on skates, fearless skaters zipped down the obstacle-filled track four-at-a-time at speeds of up to 80 km/h. The first two advanced to the next round as the field was whittled down from 64 to a final 4.

In one of the most thrilling finals ever with three one-time champions battling it out down the 340-meter long track, American Maxwell Dunne finished in second place, Canada’s Scott Croxall was third and Austria’a Marco Dallago was fourth. In front of an enthusiastic French crowd in the heart of Marseille, Naasz had also won the first run of the final but it had to be scrapped moments later, after a TV review, due to starting gates opening fractions of a second too soon. On an unseasonably chilly night for sun-spoiled Marseille at the start of its year as a European capital of sports, the race in France’s warmest city marked a new era for the world’s fastest sport on skates by proving ice tracks can be built in warm cities.

“I just really wanted it,” said Naasz, who let out a loud shout for joy after winning the final a second time within moments in convincing fashion. He admitted it was a huge release of emotions and that he was determined to prove he deserved to win after the final had to be repeated. “That should seal it right there,” said Naasz, who became the most successful active racer in the sport with seven career wins. He has won four of the last five races going back to 2015.

The race results were disappointing for French fans, who came to the venue in large numbers to cheer Tristan Dugerdil and Pacôme Schmitt, two of the bright young stars in the sport after finishing fourth and sixth overall last year. But Dugerdil and Schmitt were eliminated in separate quarter-final battles.

But on the bright side, the fans in Marseille were treated to the first-ever freestyle competition, which was won by France’s Martin Barrau. The 18-year-old newcomer to the sport also took second place in Friday’s first-ever Junior World Championship race for 16- to 20-year-olds.

In the increasingly competitive women’s competition, last year’s champion Jacqueline Legère of Canada also got her title defense off to a flying start with a comfortable victory down the track kept frozen thanks to three powerful container-sized chillers. American Amanda Trunzo took second place with Sydney O’Keefe, also of the United States, in third.

Results men: 1. Cameron Naasz (USA), 2. Maxwell Dunne (USA), 3. Scott Croxall (CAN), 4. Marco Dallago (AUT), 5. Guillaume Bouvet-Morrissette (CAN), 6. Dan Witty (CAN), 7. Luca Dallago  8. Daniel Bergeson (USA), 9. Tommy Mertz (USA)  10. Jim Di Paoli (SUI).

Results women: Jacqueline Legere (CAN), Amanda Trunzo (USA), Sydney O’Keefe (USA), 4. Myriam Trepanier (CAN), 5. Elaine Topolnisky (CAN), 6. Tamara Kajah (CAN), 7. Veronika Windisch (AUT), 8. Maxie Plante (CAN), 9. Amandine Condroyer (FRA), 10. Sendrine Rangeon (FRA)

World Championship standings men: 1. Naasz 1,000 points, 2. Dunne 800, 3. Marco Dallago 750, 4. Croxall 600, 5. Bouvet-Morrissette 450, 6. Luca Dallago 425, 7. Witty 400, 8. Dugerdil (FRA) 350, 9. De Paoli 340, 10. Bergeson 320.

World Championship standings women: 1. Legère 1,000 points, 2. Trunzo 800, 3. Windisch 610, 4. O’Keefe 600, 5. Trepanier 500, 6. Topolnisky 450, 7. Noe (NED) 420, 8. Kajah 400, 9. Yamamoto (JPN) 365, 10. Morand (SUI) 330