The Ice Cross Downhill World Championship season finale got off to a flying start with the U.S.-Canada team Living the Dream winning its second straight world championship title on the most difficult track of the season that saw upsets galore and dramatic crash-filled races.
Led by defending champion Scott Croxall of Canada, compatriot Adam Horst and American Cameron Naasz, Living the Dream won its second straight world championship and third Red Bull Crashed Ice team competition of the four-race 2015/16 season to clinch the title with a total of 3,600 points. Living the Dream, which also includes Kyle Croxall, also won the races in Quebec City and Jyväskyla-Laajis while taking third place in Munich.
"It feels great to win back-to-back world championships," said Scott Croxall, who is hoping to become the first individual champion to win two titles in a row on Saturday as well. "That was our goal and we did it. It's great to race together with such great athletes."
The all-American Team UNRL – pronounced "unreal" – fought a hearty battle against Living the Dream all season long and took second place overall. The Minnesota team made up of Matt Johnson, Tommy Mertz, Maxwell Dunne and Daniel Bergeson had 3,000 points after taking second on a frosty night in Saint Paul, where 16 three-man teams raced down the 360-meter long track from the steps of the Saint Paul Cathedral to the cheers of another packed crowd. The city has hosted the world's fastest sport on skates for five straight years and helped sparked a boom for the sport in the United States. Team UNRL won the race in Munich, were second in Quebec City and took sixth in Finland.
On a fantastic night of Ice Cross Downhill racing at its best, third place went to Couch Garden Crew, the 2014 champions. The team made up of Marco and Luca Dallago from Austria, Canada's John Fisher and Germany's Andreas Wirstl also took third overall. Team Finland, compromised of Paavo Klintrup, Mikka Jouhkimainen and Markus Juola, got fourth place on Friday and overall.
Living the Dream came from behind to win an amazing final. Team UNRL had the first three spots for most of the race after Naasz and Horst crashed at the BF Goodrich Wallride but never gave up. Croxall and Horst managed to get in front of Dunne and Mertz just before the finish after the two Americans got banged up at the 16-foot-high step-up on the final turn.
The individual competition takes place on Saturday with Naasz looking to become the first American world champion. Naasz, who posted the fastest time in Friday's Shootout time trial, is trailing Scott Croxall by 65 points and needs to finish in front of the defending champion and get on the podium to take the title while Croxall only needs to finish in front of Naasz or hope he fails to get a top-three spot.
Results Team Competition Saint Paul: 1. Living the Dream (Scott Croxall, Adam Horst, Cameron Naasz, Kyle Croxall), 2. Team UNRL (Max Dunne, Matt Johnson, Tommy Mertz, Daniel Bergeson), 3. Couch Garden Crew (Luca Dallago, Marco Dallago, John Fisher, Andreas Wirnstl), 4. Team Finland (Paavo Klintrup, Miikka Jouhkimainen, Markus Joula),
Results Team World Championship: 1. Living the Dream, 2. Team UNRL, 3. Couch Garden Crew, 4. Team Finland
WATCH IT LIVE: Red Bull Crashed Ice Saint Paul will broadcast live on redbullcrashedice.com and Red Bull TV at 7:45pm MST (2.45am CET) on February 27 and will be available on demand immediately after the competition. 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.
For US fans, the live webcast and replay is geo-blocked in the US due to an exclusive deal with FOX Sports. The race will air on the FOX broadcast network on March 5 at 4:30pm EST. Following this, it will be available on demand at Red Bull TV.