EDMONTON – SPORTS – With two Red Bull Crashed Ice victories, Scott Croxall was the dominant force this year and richly deserved the title as the world’s fastest man on skates. The 24-year-old from Toronto became the fifth different champion in the last five years of the increasingly competitive sport and sent the giant crowd of 70,000 in the heart of Edmonton into a frenzy with the Canada’s first title in the sport so close to their national identity since his older brother Kyle Croxall won it all in 2012.
With the third Red Bull Crashed Ice victory of his career, American Cameron Naasz jumped up to second place overall while Kyle Croxall, who won the Red Bull Crashed Ice season opener in Saint Paul, Minnesota, finished fourth overall.
“It feels great,” said Scott Croxall, who this year miraculously managed to overcome his finals jinx to win two of the three finals he was in after coming up empty-handed in a record-breaking 13 finals in his seven-year career. He also won one of the four Riders Cup races. “You’re wild Edmonton! Thanks for cheering me on. It’s amazing. I couldn’t be happier.”
Saturday’s race, the 36th Red Bull Crashed Ice race since the sport was created in 2001, featured a spectacular 415-meter long track of man-made ice with a vertical drop of 45 meters that connected the skyscrapers of Edmonton’s bustling downtown with the banks of the frozen North Saskatchewan River. In the thrill-filled racing action, 64 athletes from 20 nations hit speeds of up to 55 km/h down the track filled with, bumps, jumps and nine punishing turns. Naasz was unbeatable through the four knock-out rounds before switching on his afterburners in the final, moving up from third place early on to skate past both Dean Moriarity and then Scott Croxall with a brilliant move on the tricky 180-turn near the finish line.
It was the 10th straight year that Canada hosted Red Bull Crashed Ice – more than any other country. Croxall’s championship win capped a remarkable comeback season for his country after he was the only Canadian in the top eight last year and Canadians failed to win even a single race for the first time in the championship’s history. Canadians also won two of the four Riders Cup races this year, a new event designed “by riders for riders” to make the sport more accessible to athletes around the world.
Salla Kyhala of Finland, the most successful woman in Ice Cross Downhill, won the women’s race on Saturday ahead of ahead of Elaine Topolnisky and Tamara Kajah of Canada. Kyhala, who also raced against the men in Helsinki, also won the other women’s race this year in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Edmonton results men: 1. Cameron Naasz (USA), 2. Scott Croxall (CAN), 3. Tommy Mertz (USA), 4. Dean Moriarity (CAN), 5. Dylan Moriarity (CAN), 6. Adam Horst (CAN), 7. Paavo Klintrup (FIN), 8. Daniel Bergeson (USA), 9. Tristan Dugerdil (FRA), 10. Fabian Mels (GER)
Final World Championship standings: 1. Scott Croxall (CAN) 3325 points, 2. Cameron Naasz (USA) 2512.5 3. Dean Moriarity (CAN) 2375, 4. Kyle Croxall (CAN) 2315, 5. Dylan Moriarity (CAN) 2140, 6. Marco Dallago (AUT) 1987.5, 7. Paavo Klintrup (FIN) 1230, 8. Miikaa Jouhkimainen (FIN) 1222.5
Edmonton results women: 1. Salla Kyhala (FIN), 2. Elaine Topolnisky (CAN), 3. Tamara Kajah (CAN), 4. Maxie Plante (CAN).
Pictures: Joerg Mitter, Balazs Gardi, Andreas Langreiter, Scott Serfas