From the sun and warm weather of Southern France to the snow and frost of Finland, the athletes racing in the Ice Cross Downhill World Championship will have to quickly shift gears for the second Red Bull Crashed Ice of the season in Jyväskylä-Laajis.
In Ice Cross Downhill, athletes race down an obstacle-filled ice track four-at-a-time at speeds of up to 80 km/h. The first two advance as the field is whittled down from more than 100 to a final 4. Finland is one of the sport’s most enthusiastic nations, having produced former champion Arttu Pihlainen. Three athletes in this week’s race will be celebrating 10 years of competition at the highest level after joining the sport at the 2007 race in Helsinki.
Never before in the 16-year history of Red Bull Crashed Ice, the signature series in the 9 stop Ice Cross Downhill World Championship, have there been back-to-back races on two weekends. But this year’s crowded calendar with five Riders Cup races, which are worth 25% as many points, along with the four point-rich Red Bull Crashed Ice events means athletes have little time to recover from the race in Marseille, where Cameron Naasz got his title defense off to a flying start with a victory in France’s warmest city. He beat compatriot Maxwell Dunne into second. Austria’s Marco Dallago was third and Canada’s Scott Croxall fourth.