An all-time record crowd of 140,000 went wild on Saturday night as Canadian Kyle Croxall defied all predictions to win his third career Ice Cross Downhill victory in Saint Paul. A new Canadian star, Dean Moriarity, finished second and American underdog Dan Witty was third.
SAINT PAUL, MN (USA)– The 15th Red Bull Crashed Ice season opened with jaw-dropping surprises, as Calgary’s Kyle Croxall used some Canadian muscle to defeat history’s most competitive field – including his own brother, Scott, who finished third overall last year – on the season’s longest track and in front of a record crowd of 140,000 cheering fans.
Croxall, the 2012 World Champion, set some records of his own: not only was it his third win in the city after victories here in 2012 and 2013, but he is now tied with Finland’s Arttu Pihlainen for the most wins in Ice Cross Downhill history. Dean Moriarity, one of the “speed twins” out of Montreal and the second place finisher at last week’s Riders Cup event, proved that his star is truly on the rise by earning another second place in Saint Paul, and local rider Dan Witty of New Prague, Minnesota snagged his own first-ever Ice Cross Downhill podium, edging out the man who finished third overall in 2014, local favorite Cameron Naasz.
“I had a rough season last year, so I worked hard in the off-season to get my legs going again,” said Croxall. “It’s a tough course here with a lot of skating.”
The biggest shock of the evening happened in the hard-fought Semi-Finals, when Austria’s Marco Dallago, the defending World Champion and last year’s Saint Paul winner, failed to make the cut. With three Riders Cup races and three Red Bull Crashed Ice competitions left to earn World Championship points, he now knows what he’ll have to do to come back out on top this year.
In the Women’s Finals, Salla Kyhala of Finland dominated the field to claim the top of the podium, with Canadians Jacqueline Legere and Tamara Kajah in second and third, respectively.
The athletes’ next chances to earn Ice Cross Downhill World Championship points will be the Riders Cup race in Wagrain/Kleinarl, Austria, on January 31, and Red Bull Crashed Ice in Helsinki, Finland, on February 7, 2015.
Results: 1. Kyle Croxall (CAN), 2. Dean Moriarity (CAN), 3. Dan Witty (USA), 4. Cameron Naasz (USA), 5. Marco Dallago (AUT), 6. Dylan Moriarity (CAN), 7. Tristan Dugerdil (FRA), 8. Pacôme Schmitt (FRA), 9. Scott Croxall (CAN), 10. Reed Whiting (USA)
World Championship: 1. Kyle Croxall (CAN), 2. Dean Moriarity (CAN), 3. Cameron Naasz (USA), 4. Dan Witty (USA), 5. Marco Dallago (AUT), 6. Dylan Moriarity (CAN), 7. Scott Croxall (CAN), 8. Tristan Dugerdil (FRA), 9. Pacôme Schmitt (FRA), 10. Derek Wedge (SUI)
Pictures: Joerg Mitter, Balazs Gardi, Predrag Vuckovic, Ryan Taylor