After nine breath-taking stops over the last four months, the 2017/18 Ice Cross Downhill season reaches its highly anticipated conclusion in Edmonton, Canada, this weekend with three men and two women still in contention for title glory. Canada's Scott Croxall leads the men's standings, but could still be pipped by American two-time champion Cameron Naasz and Austria's Marco Dallago, while Jacqueline Legere of Canada still has a chance to reel in the trailblazing Amanda Trunzo (USA).
Of course, there are some slightly complex scenarios possible which will be detailed further down, but there are some very simple – and some would say very likely – routes to the title for the main protagonists.
Naasz v Croxall – Winner takes all
Amazingly, for the third season in a row, Naasz and Croxall look destined to meet each other in a 'winner takes all' final race. Assuming that both do make it to the final, then victory would mean the title is theirs. Only three weeks ago this mouth-watering scenario looked like it would have to be put on ice until another season after the usually impeccable Naasz crashed out at the first two Red Bull Crashed Ice races in Saint Paul and Jyväskylä. But a stunning clutch performance in Marseille, followed by a couple of Riders Cup runner-up places propelled him back into contention for the three-peat.
Croxall, eager to reclaim the crown that Naasz snatched from him two years ago, has been the epitome of consistency this season, making the final in five of the six stops he has competed in, with one victory so far in the Minnesota Riders Cup.
Dallago the Dark Horse
Marco Dallago began the season with a stunning 'dark horse' victory when he unexpectedly cruised through the carnage in the Saint Paul final to move from last to first. And in Edmonton, the Austrian could finish the same way he started, and add another title to his one from 2014. If, as in that unforgettable final in Saint Paul, he wins and is directly followed in second place by someone other than Naasz or Croxall, the world championship trophy will be his. Critics will argue that he could have been sitting even prettier had he not allowed his rivalry with the Croxalls to distract him in Jyväskylä, where he was disqualified in the final after "removing" Scott Croxall in the early exchanges.
Eight is great for Trunzo
Amanda Trunzo, fuelled by the heartache of missing two great chances to take the title last season, powered to victory in Saint Paul and Jyväskylä to grab a stranglehold on the women's competition this season. A third win in Marseille would have wrapped up the title, but two-time champion Jacqueline Legere wasn't ready to give up the fight and secured a win that keeps her hopes alive. Despite that, Trunzo only needs to finish in the top eight in Edmonton to guarantee that the women's world championship trophy will head back to the USA for the first time ever. Expect some celebrations if the American crosses the line first or second in her quarter-final.
The Complete Calculations
Due to the throw-out rule, whereby riders only take their three best Red Bull Crashed Ice results and three best Riders Cup results, the math behind the world championship scenarios can get a little tricky. So, along with the more straightforward eventualities described above, here's a quick summary of all the ways in which each contender could take the title.
Croxall wins title if:
• He wins
• He finishes 2nd in front of Naasz
• He finishes 3rd in front of Naasz and Dallago doesn't win
• He finishes 4th or lower and Naasz doesn't finish top 3 and Dallago doesn't win
Naasz wins title if:
• He wins
• He finishes 2nd in front of Croxall
• He finishes 3rd in front of Croxall and Dallago doesn't win
Dallago wins title if;
• He wins and Croxall and Naasz finish 3rd or lower.
Trunzo wins title if:
• She finishes in top 8
• Legere doesn't win
Legere wins title if:
• She wins and Trunzo finishes 10th or lower.
• She wins and Trunzo finishes 9th AND these shootout scenarios occur –
- Legere is 1st
- Trunzo 2nd and Legere is 3rd or better
- Trunzo is 3rd or lower
Whatever way things boil down, the stage is certainly set for another dramatic and unmissable season finale in Edmonton.
Watch it Live
Red Bull Crashed Ice Edmonton will broadcast LIVE on redbullcrashedice.com and Red Bull TV on March 10 at 8 PM local time (3 AM GMT).
It will also be live-streamed at cbcsports.ca from 8:00 p.m. MST, and will also be available on CBC on March 10, immediately following Hockey Night in Canada at approximately 10:45 p.m. MST. CBC Sports' Kelly VanderBeek will host coverage of the event alongside reporter Jacqueline Doorey, who will provide on-the-ground coverage from the venue including post-race interviews from the mixed zone. Calling the event are Red Bull's play-by-play commentators Troy Manering and Reed Whiting.
French-speaking fans can tune in to TVA Sports for a LIVE broadcast at 8:00pm MST.
Red Bull TV is available on connected TVs, gaming consoles, mobile devices and more. For a full list of supported devices visit about.redbull.tv.
If you miss the event or simply want to watch all the action again, the replay will be available on demand a few minutes after the event.