American Cameron Naasz will be looking to hold onto his Ice Cross Downhill World Championship lead at the second Red Bull Crashed Ice of the season in Munich on January 8-9 when the world's fastest sport on skates returns to Germany for the first time since 2011. Reigning champion Scott Croxall will lead a pack of three hard-charging Canadians out to stop Naasz. Top Europeans are hoping the home ice will help them stop the North Americans.
"What a way to start the 2015/16 championship," said Naasz, one of the best racers in the world in recent years who finished second overall to Scott Croxall last season and was third in 2014 in the action-packed sport, where athletes hit speeds of more than 50 km/h while hurtling down ice tracks filled with drops, hairpin turns and gaps. "I'm pumped," added Naasz, who now has four career wins with his first victory in Lausanne, Switzerland in 2013.
(Cameron Naasz of the USA won the season opener in Quebec City)
Hot on the heels of Naasz in Quebec City was a trio of Canadians. Dean Moriarity was second, Croxall was third and Dylan Moriarity took fourth. Europe's top Ice Cross Downhill athletes, including three former world champions, will be going all out to prevent North Americans from dominating the season. Germany's Martin Niefnecker, who was the Ice Cross Downhill World Champion in 2010, took a promising 11th place in Quebec City and the fearless racer from the nearby Alpine town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen hopes to do even better on the unique 370-meter long track in front of a big crowd of German fans. Another top German, Fabian Mels, was 16th in Quebec City. Marco Dallago of Austria, the 2014 world champion, and Switzerland's Derek Wedge, 2013 world champion, are among Europe's brightest hopes.
It is a tactical, physical and fast sport with four riders at a time racing down the obstacle-filled track with a 45-meter vertical drop – with the two fastest advancing to the next round. This will be the third race at Munich's Olympic Park, which has turned into one of the sport's hotbeds with enthusiastic crowds.
(Germany's Martin Niefnecker won the 2010 Munich race)
Croxall, who had great results in Europe last season with two of four Red Bull Crashed Ice victories coming in Helsinki and Belfast, is determined to get his title defense back on track in Germany and will be looking for revenge after the American beat him twice in his own backyard in Canada. Naasz also overtook Croxall with four career wins to his two.
The exhilarating team event will hit the course on the Friday evening, as six of the world's best ice cross downhill racers rocket against each other down the ice track. Bigger than the individual competition and featuring spectacular crashes with two teams of three racers battling elbow-to-elbow on a narrow and twisting track, the team event not only offers additional racing opportunities but also gives center stage to the top 16 teams. Naasz and Croxall are teammates along with Canada's Adam Horst and won the season opener in Quebec City after the team won last season's title.
Aside from the four Red Bull Crashed Ice competitions, there will also be six Riders Cup races this winter – three in North America and three in Europe – as the high-speed sport continues to grow. Competing in a Riders Cup race is the only way to gain experience for Red Bull Crashed Ice – and offers Ice Cross Downhill World Championship points as well.
Ice Cross Downhill World Championship 2015/16 Race Calendar:
November 27-28: Red Bull Crashed Ice Quebec City, QC, Canada
December 18-19: Riders Cup Wagrain-Kleinarl, Austria
January 08-09: Red Bull Crashed Ice Munich, Germany
January 15-16: Riders Cup Avoriaz, France
January 22-23. 16: Riders Cup Rautalampi, Finland
January 29-30: Red Bull Crashed Ice Jyväskylä-Laajis, Finland
February 05-06: Riders Cup Bathurst, NB, Canada
February 12-13:Riders Cup Sherbrooke, QC, Canada
February 19-20: Riders Cup Mont du Lac, WI, United States
February 26-27: Red Bull Crashed Ice Saint Paul, MN, United States
World Championship Standings 2015/16 – after Quebec City - Men's Individual Results: 1) Cameron Naasz (USA) 1000 pts., 2) Dean Moriarity (CAN) 800 pts., 3. Scott Croxall (CAN) 600 pts., 4. Dylan Moriarity (CAN) 500 pts., 5. Kilian Braun (SUI) 450 pts., 6. Coleton Haywood (CAN) 400 pts., 7. Tristan Dugerdil (FRA) 360 pts., 8. Luca Dallago (AUT) 320 pts.
World Championship Standings 2015/16 – after Quebec City - Women's Individual Results: 1) Myriam Trepanier (CAN) 1000 pts., 2) Maxie Plante (CAN) 800 pts., 3) Elaine Topolnisky (CAN) 600 pts., 4) Alexis Jackson (USA) 500 pts., 5) Jacqueline Legere (CAN) 450 pts.
World Championship Standings 2015/16 – after Quebec City – Team Competition: 1) Living the Dream 1000 pts., 2) Team Unrl 800 pts., 3) Steal 17 500 pts.. 4) Alpine Rockets 500 pts., 5) Couch Garden Crew 450 pts.
WATCH IT LIVE: Red Bull Crashed Ice Munich will broadcast live on redbullcrashedice.com and Red Bull TV at 6:40pm CET on January 9. 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."