Austria’s Marco Dallago and American Cameron Naasz will battle it out for the 2014 Ice Cross Downhill World Championship on a challenging new track in Quebec City while five other riders still have a shot at second and third place.
QUEBEC CITY (Canada) – The Ice Cross Downhill World Championship will be decided in the season finale in Quebec City for the fifth straight year on March 22 with Marco Dallago of Austria fighting it out for the title against American Cameron Naasz on a grueling 480-meter long ice track with a 40-meter vertical drop plunging through the heart of the historic city’s old town. Canada’s Scott Croxall is currently holding onto third place in the championship but in a tough five-way battle for a final spots on the podium.
Quebec City and its enormous, enthusiastic Ice Cross Downhill fan crowd will be hosting a Red Bull Crashed Ice race for the eighth straight year; the breathtaking location – over the old Fort Wall and through the Porte Kent towards the icy St. Lawrence River – has proved to be a dramatic setting for the last five title fights. Both Dallago and Naasz had shots at winning the 2013 title in Quebec City but finished fifth and third overall, respectively, behind Derek Wedge of Switzerland and Canada’s Kyle Croxall in first and second overall. In 2012 the title also came down to the final race with Kyle Croxall just barely clinching the title in front of Finland’s Arttu Pihlainen. This year Dallago leads the World Championship with 2,800 points and two victories in three races while red-hot Naasz has 1,960 points and a victory in the last race in Moscow.
“I believe everything is possible in Ice Cross Downhill,” said Dallago, when asked if he thought Naasz could still catch him in the finale. Trailing by 840 points, Naasz would need 1,000 points from a victory and hope that Dallago fails to finish in the top 15. “I think my chances of winning are high,” said Dallago. “I’ve got the lead now and that means Cameron has to win to overtake me. I’m going to focus on the things that are important: win every heat and enjoy this adventure as best as I can.”
With Dallago and Naasz so far ahead from Scott Croxall in third place, a battle royale is shaping up for second and third place overall with Germany’s Fabian Mels, Austria’s Luca Dallago, France’s Pacôme Schmitt and America’s Reed Whiting all with at least theoretical chances of grabbing the coveted third spot on the podium this year. Scott Croxall could also still overtake Naasz.
The Team World Championship also comes down to the wire in Quebec City with Dallago’s Couch Garden Crew holding a narrow lead over Croxall’s Living the Dream, and six teams in total still in the running for overall crown. Another highlight is the women’s race on Saturday night with an international line-up.
The racers have been looking forward to the finale in Quebec City all winter after stops in Helsinki (FIN), Saint Paul, Minnesota (USA) and Moscow (RUS). Starting under the gaze of the Parliament, the new track features a series of challenging obstacles, a Fort Wall step up, a Pump Jump, Grand Wall, Porte Kent Rodeo and a first-ever Montcalm Gap.
World Championship Standings: 1. Marco Dallago (AUT) 2800 points, 2. Cameron Naasz (USA) 1960, 3. Scott Croxall (CAN) 1590, Fabian Mels (GER) 1520, Luca Dallago (AUT) 1000, Pacôme Schmitt (FRA) 931, Reed Whiting (USA) 920, 8. Dean Moriarity (CAN) 662, 9. Miikka Jouhkimainen (FIN) 641,4, 10. Kim Mueller (SUI) 625,6