Scott Croxall of Canada was the undisputed master of a difficult natural ice track in frigid Finland on Saturday, winning the second Red Bull Crashed Ice race of the season to throw the Ice Cross Downhill World Championship into a tense three-way battle near the midway point of the season with Americans Maxwell Dunne and Cameron Naasz all on 1,600 points. Dunne took second place in two consecutive races while Naasz took third in what will long be remembered as an exciting night of Ice Cross Downhill racing with upsets galore and tense action in almost every race.
There were protests, passes and photo finishes in what turned out to be a truly spectacular event.
Croxall, the 2015 champion, bounced back in style and was skating in a league of his own down the 630-meter long ice track in Finland, a special country for him as he picked up his third straight victory and the 1,000 points for his efforts.
"It's a lot of hard work, it's the longest track in the world and I'm just happy to get back on the podium again," said Croxall after blasting away the three rivals, who were battling it out in intense fashion for second place on the track in both the semi-finals and finals.
It was a special night in the frigid north for Finland, one of the world's most enthusiastic countries for the sport, with two local racers - Mirko Lahti and Paavo Klintrup - reaching the semi-finals in an incredibly extreme Ice Cross Downhill race. Finland's very own Lahti took seventh overall and Klintrup was eighth.
The two Finns used their intimate knowledge of the track and the local conditions to send the big home crowd into ecstasy. Even though Croxall dominated his semi-final and the final, the action behind him for second place was intense. There was amazing passing action all the way down. Naasz, who had been the fastest in the shootout time trials on Friday, got caught up in heavy traffic behind Croxall and was forced to settle for third place in an unforgettable battle for spots on the podium.
"It was the wildest race we ever had," said Naasz, who had come to Finland with five wins in his last six Red Bull Crashed Ice races stretching back to 2015. In the increasingly competitive women's racing, American Amanda Trunzo had an outstanding run in the final to win the tense battle and take the championship lead with 1,800 points while Camilla Ojapalo of Finland took second and France's Sandrine Rangeon was third.
Men's results: 1. Scott Croxall (CAN), 2. Maxwell Dunne (USA), 3. Cameron Naasz (USA), 4. John Fisher (CAN), 5. Marco Dallago (AUT), 6. Dan Witty (USA), 7. Mirko Lahti (FIN), 8. Paavo Klintrup (FIN), 9. Tristan Dugerdil (FRA),
10. Daniel Bergeson (USA).
Women's results: 1. Amanda Trunzo (USA), 2. Camilla Ojapalo (FIN), 3. Sandrine Rangeon (FRA), 4. Veronika Windisch (AUT), 5. Jacqueline Legere (CAN)
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