Canada's Scott Croxall won the ATSX Ice Cross Downhill World Championship on Saturday by finishing in a solid fourth place under enormous pressure in the final Red Bull Crashed Ice of the 2017/18 season as Austria's Luca Dallago took top honors in a race for the second time this year.
In a dramatic finish to the 18th season of the world's fastest sport on skates in Edmonton, Canada, defending champion Cameron Naasz (USA) was knocked out in the semi-final in the racing action due to a collision with Marco Dallago of Austria in a tight corner shortly after the start and had to settle for a disappointing fifth place in the race and second place overall. It was Croxall's second world championship in the sport where athletes race down ice tracks at speeds of up to 80 km/h after he took the coveted title in 2015. Maxwell Dunne (USA) grabbed second place behind Luca Dallago on the 455-meter long obstacle-filled ice track with a 40-meter vertical drop while Kyle Croxall (CAN) was third.
American Amanda Trunzo won the increasingly competitive women's world championship with a convincing victory ahead of Elaine Topolnisky (CAN) in second place with Sandrine Rangeon (FRA) taking third place. Defending champion Jacqueline Legere (CAN) was fifth after a bruising crash in the semi-final knocked her out of the race.
Croxall had vowed to win back the Ice Cross Downhill World Championship this year after watching his great rival Naasz dominate the sport during the last two seasons. The fearless racer from Canada was the epitome of consistency with three podiums and four final-four appearances in the four points-rich Red Bull Crashed Ice races along with one victory in a Riders Cup race in Bloomington, Minnesota.
"I'm going to celebrate this big time," said Croxall, basking in the cheers from the large home crowd in Edmonton that erupted from an enormous cheer once he secured the title after Naasz was unexpectedly eliminated by taking just third place in their star-studded semi-final heat. Only the fastest two riders in each four-person heat advance to the next round. "I'm excited. I'm really happy to take that world championship back," said Croxall, after collecting a total of 2,745 points during the 10-race Ice Cross Downhill championship.
Naasz, who ended up just 145 points behind Croxall on 2,600 points, could have won his third straight championship with a victory on Saturday on a track that he had mastered three years ago with an impressive win over Croxall. He was on course for another final showdown against his rival as he battled for the lead following a brilliant start but went down in a heart-wrenching pile-up with Marco Dallago, who also saw his title hopes evaporated in the crash, that allowed Scott Croxall and his older brother Kyle Croxall to zip past the melee and advance to the final.
"I feel that I was racing well here so it was unfortunate that I went out the way that I did," said Naasz, who won the Red Bull Crashed Ice race in Marseille, France and a Riders Cup race in Wagrain-Kleinarl, Austria but was plagued with bad luck this season with unforced errors that led to stumbles while in the lead of two other races.
It was also a magical year for Trunzo, who after taking second place overall to Canada's Jacqueline Legere last year had worked extremely hard in the off-season to improve her game. Trunzo was in a league of her own this year, winning three of the four Red Bull Crashed Ice races.
Victory for Luca Dallago also capped a strong season for the Austrian, who also won the Red Bull Crashed Ice race in Jyväskylä, Finland. Fulfilling the long-expected promise of one of the sport's fastest racers, Dallago moved up in the overall standings.
Men: 1. Luca Dallago (AUT), 2. Maxwell Dunne (USA), 3. Kyle Croxall (CAN), 4. Scott Croxall (CAN), 5. Cameron Naasz (USA), 6. Marco Dallago (AUT), 7. Jim De Paoli (SUI), 8. Tyler Witty (USA), 9. Killian Braun (SUI), 10. Michael Iulianello (USA).
Women: 1. Amanda Trunzo (USA), 2. Elaine Topolnisky (CAN), 3. Sandrine Rangeon (FRA), 4. Anais Morand (SUI), 5. Jacqueline Legere (CAN), 6. Maxie Plante (CAN), 7. Tamara Kajah (CAN), 8. Alicia Blomberg (CAN), 9. Myriam Trepanier (CAN), 10. Junko Yamamoto (JPN).
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