Cameron Naasz and Kyle Croxall led their team "Living the Dream" to an action-packed victory over an unexpectedly strong Team Finland in the Red Bull Crashed Ice team competition on Friday night in front of an enthusiastic Finnish crowd. Their second victory in three races this season lifted the all-star Canadian-American team that also includes Scott Croxall back into first place overall ahead of Team UNRL. The all-American squad, pronounced "Team Unreal", finished sixth on the 630-meter long Ice Cross Downhill track and slipped to second overall.
Team Finland, with their veteran aces Paavo Klintrup and Miikka Jouhkimainen along with surprise package Markus Juola, scored their best result of the season to the delight of the crowd on a frosty night in Finland and moved up to fifth place overall from seventh with one race left this season in Saint Paul, Minnesota in the United States. It was a great night for Finland when another Finnish team, Joma.fi, took fifth place.
"The home crowd was tremendous," said Jouhkimainen, who along with his teammates racing in their famous blue and white jerseys seemed to get a boost from the fans cheering in the stands and along the track – the longest ever built in the world's fastest sport on skates. "The fastest two teams were in the final so it was difficult for us. It was a tight race but a good result. We're happy with second place."
In the final, Naasz clad in his team's black and white colors broke away from the gate and took the early lead with the other five racers battling for position behind him. His Living the Dream teammates seemed to have the race in control behind him after about a third of the course, but Scott Croxall, in second position at that point, crashed hard into a wall halfway down the track and the situation suddenly brightened for Team Finland with Jouhkimainen, Klintrup and Juola zipping past. They closed in on Kyle Croxall for second place and if two had overtaken him it would have been enough to win. But the Finns ran out of time and ended up third, fourth and fifth behind Naasz and Kyle Croxall. The final score was: "Living the Dream" 20, Team Finland 13.
"That's what this sport is all about – I have to shake it off and be ready for tomorrow night," said an angry Scott Croxall after finishing last and rubbing an injured elbow. He soon cheered up again. He is in second place overall in the individual competition and will be looking to beat Naasz in Saturday's race.
Team results Jyväskylä-Laajis: 1. Living the Dream (Cameron Naasz USA; Scott Croxall CAN; Kyle Croxall CAN); 2. Team Finland (Miikka Jouhkimainen FIN; Paavo Klintrup FIN; Toni Heikkilae FIN; Markus Juola FIN); 3. Couch Garden Crew (Luca Dallago AUT; Marco Dallago AUT; John Fisher CAN, Andreas Wirnstl GER); 4. Alpine Rockets (Pacôme Schmitt FRA, Tristan Dugerdil FRA, Kilian Braun SUI, Derek Wedge SUI); 5. Joma.fi (Antti Tolvanen FIN, Janne-Petteri Mynttinen FIN, Jere Lehto FIN, Mirko Lahti FIN)
Team overall standings: 1. Living the Dream 2,600 points; 2. Team UNRL 2,200; 3. Couch Garden Crew 1,550, 4. Ice Crew 1,520; 5. Team Finland 1,460; 6. Alpine Rockets 1,400; 7. Steal17 1,310; 8. Hill Bombers 870; 9. Team Tenson Sweden 870; 10. Team Russia 660;
WATCH IT LIVE: Red Bull Crashed Ice Jyväskylä-Laajis will broadcast live on redbullcrashedice.com and Red Bull TV at 7:15pm CET on January 30. 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.
US fans please note that the live webcast and replay is geo-blocked in the US due to an exclusive broadcast deal with FOX Sports. The event will air on FOX Sports 1 on Monday, February 15 at 4:30pm EST. Following this it will be available on demand at Red Bull TV.