Scott Croxall clinched the 2015 Ice Cross Downhill World Championship with a second placed finish in the season finale in Edmonton on Saturday, restoring Canada's national pride in the world's fastest sport on skates after a two-year drought at the top, while American Cameron Naasz won the race staged in front of 70,000 spectators.
With two Red Bull Crashed Ice victories, Scott Croxall was the dominant force this year and richly deserves the title of the world's fastest man on skates. The 24-year-old from Toronto became the fifth different champion in the last five years of the increasingly competitive sport and delighted the giant crowd in the heart of Edmonton with Canada's first title in the sport that is so close to their national identity since his older brother Kyle Croxall won it all in 2012.
With the third Red Bull Crashed Ice victory of his career, American Cameron Naasz jumped up to second place overall, while Kyle Croxall, who won the Red Bull Crashed Ice season opener in Saint Paul, Minnesota, finished fourth overall.
"You're wild Edmonton! Thanks for cheering me on. It's amazing. I couldn't be happier," said Scott Croxall, who this year managed to overcome his finals jinx to win two of the three finals he was in after coming up empty-handed in a record-breaking 13 finals in his seven-year career. He also won one of the four Riders Cup races.
The final race in the 2015 season was streamed live on redbullcrashedice.com! If you missed it first time around, you can watch it again in full right now with Video On Demand. Please note that for viewers in the US the race will air first and exclusively on FOX Sports 1 on Monday, March 23, at 7.00pm ET.
Saturday's final race, the 36th Red Bull Crashed Ice since the sport was created in 2001, featured a spectacular 415-metre-long track of man-made ice with a vertical drop of 45 metres that connected the skyscrapers of Edmonton's bustling downtown with the banks of the frozen North Saskatchewan River. In the thrill-filled racing action, 64 athletes from 20 nations hit speeds of up to 55kph down the track filled with bumps, jumps and nine punishing turns. Naasz was unbeatable through the four knockout rounds before switching on his afterburners in the final, moving up from third place early on to skate past both Dean Moriarity and then Scott Croxall with a brilliant pass on the tricky U-turn. The USA's Tommy Mertz, with a previous best finish of 26th, joined Naasz and Croxall at the finish line to earn his first podium and complete a memorable night of racing.
It's the 10th straight year that Canada has hosted Red Bull Crashed Ice – more than any other country. Croxall's championship win capped a remarkable comeback season for his country after he was the only Canadian in the top eight last year and Canadians failed to win a single race for the first time in the championship's history. Canadians also won two of the four Riders Cup races this year, a new event designed "by riders for riders" to make the sport more accessible to athletes around the world.
Salla Kyhala, of Finland, the most successful woman in ice cross downhill, won the women's race on Saturday ahead of Elaine Topolnisky and Tamara Kajah, of Canada. Kyhala, who also raced against the men in Helsinki, also won the other women's race this year in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Edmonton Results Men: 1. Cameron Naasz (USA), 2. Scott Croxall (CAN), 3. Tommy Mertz (USA), 4. Dean Moriarity (CAN), 5. Dylan Moriarity (CAN), 6. Adam Horst (CAN), 7. Paavo Klintrup (FIN), 8. Daniel Bergeson (USA), 9. Tristan Dugerdil (FRA), 10. Fabian Mels (GER)
Final World Championship Standings: 1. Scott Croxall (CAN) 3,325pts, 2. Cameron Naasz (USA) 2,512.5 3. Dean Moriarity (CAN) 2,375, 4. Kyle Croxall (CAN) 2,315, 5. Dylan Moriarity (CAN) 2,140, 6. Marco Dallago (AUT) 1,987.5, 7. Paavo Klintrup (FIN) 1,230, 8. Miikka Jouhkimainen (FIN) 1,222.5
Edmonton Results Women: 1. Salla Kyhala (FIN), 2. Elaine Topolnisky (CAN), 3. Tamara Kajah (CAN), 4. Maxie Plante (CAN)