Courtesy of Red Bull Media Service Team
Austria’s Marco Dallago will be looking to extend his lead in the Ice Cross Downhill World Championship when the action returns to Europe with a stop in Finland. But Canada’s Scott Croxall will be looking for his fourth straight win in Finland on Feb 2-3.
The Ice Cross Downhill World Championship heats up in frosty Finland with the second Red Bull Crashed Ice race of the year on the season’s longest track – a 630-meter long natural track at Jyväsklä-Laajis that has produced upsets galore in the past two seasons. Austria’s Marco Dallago will be looking to hold onto his overall championship lead (1,290 points) after winning the season opener on January 20 in Saint Paul, Minnesota but American Michael “Iggy” Iulianello (USA), defending champion Cameron Naasz (USA), and 2015 champion Scott Croxall (CAN) are close behind in the standings and will be nipping at his heels. This will be the fifth straight season that Finland has hosted the world’s fastest sport on skates, where four riders race at high-speed down the obstacle-filled tracks at speeds of up to 80 km/h with the fastest two advancing to the next knock-out round.
In the women’s championship, American Amanda Trunzo will try to make it two in a row in Finland after winning the season opener at home in Saint Paul. Trunzo got her first career win in Jyväsklä last year but will face a strong challenge from two-time defending champion Jacqueline Legere of Canada, who is second overall, and Austria’s Veronika Windisch, who is third.
Dallago became the first European to win a Red Bull Crashed Ice race in nearly four years with his thrilling come-from-behind victory. He said he is confident and looking forward to the challenges of the longest and perhaps most difficult track of the season in Jyväsklä. “Jyväskylä is a track that suits me very well,” said Dallago. “I like natural ice a lot and the style of the track a lot. Natural ice is more unpredictable and rough. I feel more comfortable in difficult situations than many others.”
Croxall has won the last two Red Bull Crashed Ice races in Jyväskylä in thrilling, crash-filled races on the bumpy ice with strength-sapping obstacles including waves, speed drops, chicanes, step-up jumps and the bone-jarring BF Goodrich Rock Drop that the racers fly over at high speed. He also won the Helsinki race in 2015 en route to the title that season.
Finland’s Paavo Klintrup got his 13th season in Red Bull Crashed Ice off to a flying start with a strong fifth place finish in Saint Paul. He and a crop of other talented Finn racers will likely be strong as ever at home as well on a track they know like the back of their racing gloves.
There were no major shifts in the overall standings after Saturday’s third Riders Cup race of the season in the Russian city of Saint Petersburg, which was won by Switzerland’s Patrik Merz who moved up to eighth place overall. Russia’s Dimitry Murlychkin took second and American Jack Schram was third.
In the Junior World Championship, titleholder Mirko Lahti of Finland will be looking to extend his winning streak to six straight races while Richie “Jo Jo” Velasquez is hoping to duplicate his strong showing in his debut race in Saint Paul.