The fastest Ice Cross Downhill track ever produced the longest jump ever and some of the most dramatic action in the sport's history in Munich on Saturday with American Cameron Naasz grabbing his second straight win.
Naasz blasted away from the starting gate and never looked back to win his second straight Red Bull Crashed Ice race of the 2015/16 season on Saturday. In front of an enthusiastic crowd at Munich's Olympic Park, Naasz was unstoppable on the 370-meter long track with its 45-meter vertical drop through all four knock-out rounds and widened his lead at the top of the Ice Cross Downhill World Championship with a perfect 2,000 points from two races.
In the four-man final, defending champion Scott Croxall of Canada took second place to move just behind Naasz into second place overall 1,400 points while his brother Kyle Croxall was third and Tristan Dugerdil of France took fourth on a brilliant night of racing. Canada's Dean Moriarity, who was sixth on Saturday, is in third place overall with two Red Bull Crashed Ice races and five Riders Cup competitions still to come – the biggest championship in the rough and tumble sport's 15-year history. There were two records set in Munich. Maxwell Dunne (USA) was clocked going 82 km/h down the track and Tory Merz (USA) jumped 27 meters – the longest leap ever recorded.
"It's always grueling out there and this was a really fast track – the scariest track I've ever been on," said Naasz, the first American to lead the championship who has now won three straight races going back to the final stop of the 2015 season. Naasz was still gasping for breath after some of the top racers hit record-breaking speeds of up to 80 km/h down the most challenging track the sport has ever seen. "You just need courage to get down the fast part of the track and technical skills get you through the top half."
Naasz is on a mission to win the title this season and trained more than 25 hours a week during the nine-month off-season. With a blazing start, Naasz had opened up a two-meter lead after the first 50 meters and was able to stay ahead of the hard-charging Scott Croxall all the way to the bottom – even mastering one last time the longest jump ever, just before the finish line.
In the women's race, Jacqueline Legere of Canada won an incredible final, coming from behind to beat compatriot Myriam Trepanier with Sidney O'Keefe of the United States taking third and Elaine Topolnisky in fourth. Legere appeared to have control of the race but was passed by Trepanier near the finish. Both crashed on the steep final jump but Legere managed to spin herself back into position and slide across the finish line on one skate just ahead of Trepanier.
It was a great weekend for the United States as an all-American team called UNRL – but pronounced like "Team Unreal" – powered their way to a victory in the team race on Friday thanks to the speed of Tommy Mertz and Maxwell Dunne along with a solid run by Daniel Bergeson. They beat the multi-national Ice Crew team led by Germany's Fabian Mels and Canada's Coleton Haywood into second place with Naasz teaming up with the Croxall brothers on the Living the Dream team to take third place.
The next stop in the Ice Cross Downhill World Championship is a Riders Cup race next weekend in Avoriaz, France to be followed by another Riders Cup competitions in Rautalampi, Finland. The next Red Bull Crashed Ice race will be also in Jyväskylä-Laajis, Finland on Jan. 29/30 before the world championship moves to North America.
Results Munich: MEN: 1. Cameron Naasz (USA), 2. Scott Croxall (CAN), 3. Kyle Croxall (CAN), 4. Tristan Dugerdil (FRA), 5. Jim De Paoli (SUI), 6. Dean Moriarity (CAN), 7. Luca Dallago (AUT), 8. Kilian Braun (SUI), 9. Paavo Klintrup (FIN), 10. Maxwell Dunne (USA). WOMEN: 1. Jaqueline Legere (CAN), 2. Myriam Trepanier (CAN), 3. Sydney O'Keefe (USA), 4. Elaine Topolnisky (CAN), 5. Tamara Kajah (CAN)
Ice Cross Downhill World Championship standings: MEN: 1. Cameron Naasz 2,000 points, 2. Scott Croxall 1,400, 3. Dean Moriarity 1,290, 4. Tristan Dugerdil 1,010, 5. Luca Dallago 930, 6. Kilian Braun 822.5, 7. Dylan Moriarity 700, 8. Kyle Croxall 600, 9. Jim De Paoli 580, 10. Coleton Haywood (CAN) 580. WOMEN: 1. Myriam Trepanier 1.800 points, 2. Jaqueline Legere 1.450, 3. Maxie Plante 1.160, 4. Elaine Topolnisky 1.100, 5. Sydney O'Keefe 920