The Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championship will be bigger than ever in 2012/13 with five stops and the first-ever Ice Cross Downhill World Champion from Canada looking to defend his title. Kyle Croxall, who beat Finland’s Arttu Pihlainen in 2012, can look forward to two stops in Canada with the season-opener in Niagara Falls on the U.S. border and the season finale again set for Quebec City.
It was a banner year for Canada, with Kyle Croxall becoming the first Canadian to win the overall world championship title of the sport that has captivated the heart and soul of Canadians. The sport’s popularity also surged in the United States, the Netherlands and Sweden thanks to heightened media and television coverage in those countries as well as a nail-biting championship battle between Croxall and Pihlainen that went down to the final meters of the final race of the season.
Pihlainen won the Quebec race while Kyle Croxall finished a close second — which was just enough to give the towering Canadian firefighter the world championship by the slimmest of margins ever. Croxall finished with 3,000 points, just 40 points ahead of Pihlainen (2960), winning the most thrilling finale in the 11-year-history of the sport. “I’ll have a lot of weight on my shoulders to try to do as well as with the outcome of last season,” said Kyle Croxall, who has been training hard in the off-season.
But a hard-charging pack of ever-improving rivals will be attempting to knock Croxall of his throne. Pihlainen should be back after off-season surgery on an injured knee while Scott Croxall, who finished third last year, is more determined than ever to win the title. Kyle Croxall’s main threat may come from his younger brother Scott: “I hope to be the world champion,” Scott Croxall said. “There will be challenging tracks along the way. That’s pushed me to train hard in the off season.”
Canadians dominated in 2012, taking three of the top four places. There were three Swiss racers in the top 10 and two Finns as well as a German and Russian as the sport became more competitive and balanced than ever before. There were a number of new stars on the scene in 2012, including Adam Horst of Canada (fourth overall) behind Scott Croxall (third). Finland’s Paavo Klintrop had a magnificent year (fifth) as did Fabian Mels of Germany, who emerged as a shooting star and ended up sixth.
Red Bull Crashed Ice Calendar 2012/2013:
December 1st 2012 Niagara Falls CAN
January 26th 2013 Saint Paul (MN) USA
February 16th 2013 tbd RUS
March 2nd 2013 Lausanne SUI
March 16th 2013 Quebec CAN