SAINT PAUL, Minnesota (USA) – The Ice Cross Downhill World Championship returns to Saint Paul for the sixth straight year with two Minnesotans, Maxwell Dunne and defending champion Cameron Naasz, at the top of the standings, leading the world championship at the midway point of the 2016/17 season.
The Saint Paul Red Bull Crashed Ice Race has become one of the favorites on the calendar thanks to the enormous crowds that gather in the city center and on the slopes in front of the city’s iconic Cathedral and since its debut here in 2012 helped make the rough and tumble sport popular in the United States. That inaugural race also launched the careers of several Americans, including Naasz and Dunne, to the top echelons of the world’s fastest sport on skates.
Dunne is off to a blazing start and leads the standings with 1,800 points on the strength of three straight second place finishes in the last races: the Red Bull Crashed Ice Race in Marseille, France and Jyväskylä, Finland as well as the last Riders Cup last weekend in Rautalampi, Finland. Naasz is second overall with 1,750 points after winning in Marseille, getting third in Jyväskylä and third in Rautalampi. Canada’s Scott Croxall, the 2015 champion, is also in striking range of the top of the standings with 1,712.5 points. There are 1,000 points up for grabs for winning the race in Saint Paul.
In Ice Cross Downhill, athletes race down an obstacle-filled ice track four-at-a-time at speeds of up to 80 km/h. The first two advance to the next round as the field is whittled down from 128 to a final 4 in the extreme test of stamina, conditioning and exposure to the elements.
Minnesota and the United States have become one of the most enthusiastic Ice Cross Downhill nations thanks to the success of the Saint Paul race. Four of the top seven in the standings this year are from the United States: Dunne, Naasz, Dan Witty (5th) and Daniel Bergeson (7th).