Reigning world champion Croxall takes Ice Cross Downhill win in Niagara Falls season opener

 

-Red Bull Crashed Ice kicks off the 2013 Ice Cross Downhill World Championship Series with daring athletes from across the globe bringing the heat on ice on December 1, 2012 -

NIAGARA FALLS, ON, Dec. 1, 2012 /CNW/ - Taking home the glory in the first ever Red Bull Crashed Ice in Niagara Falls, defending world champion Kyle Croxall of Mississauga, ON survived a heavy crash and came from far behind to win the opening round of the 2013 Ice Cross Downhill World Championship. To the delight of a frenzied home crowd on Saturday, December 1, 2012, Croxall outpaced American Cameron Naasz and Switzerland's Kilian Braun down the treacherous 460-metre ice track. Arguably the fastest sport on skates, the thrilling and chilling Red Bull Crashed Ice season opener electrified the crowd of more than 35,000 screaming fans as the top athletes from across Canada and around the globe hurtled down the urban ice track built with massive drops, gaps, steps, hairpin turns, and big-air jumps - all for the chance to win Red Bull Crashed Ice glory.

"It was a lot of pressure but I just tried to maintain my style," a beaming Croxall said at the finish line. "It was awesome. I've got so many friends here and the Canadian crowd is amazing."

Croxall, a firefighter who showed off an uncanny ability to come from behind in almost all his races on Saturday, crashed into Braun shortly after the start and turned his fleet-footed rival into a Swiss sandwich. This unpredictable sport saw many of the stars from last season upset by hard-charging newcomers, with Croxall's closest rivals from the 2012 World Championship including his brother Scott failing to advance to the final race.  Finland's Arttu Pihlainen was injured on during training, and the 2011 champion decided to pull out of the race. Adam Horst of Fort St. John, BC rounded out the top four in Saturday's sensational race to the edge of the falls.

Representing the ladies, fearless female and defending women's division champ Fannie Desforges from Ottawa, ON brought the fire on ice, capturing the title for the second year in a row against 15 mighty women.  "I put a positive spin on the pressure to defend my title because it's really anybody's game, but coming towards the end, we were head-to-head and I sprinted to the final to bring it home," said Desforges. "I brought in my speed when I needed to, and knew it was my time to shine!"

The top finishers in each division skate away with not only bragging rights but take home a share of the prize purse totalling $18,730.

The Course
Once again, Red Bull Crashed Ice rocked and awed with its epic features and proportions. Running 460-metres (1,509 feet) in length, an average width of 4.5 metres (15 feet), the Red Bull Crashed Ice course unfurled into a massive total of 22,000 square feet) of ice! The race started under the gaze of the world's famous 775-feet tall Skylon Tower and concluded at the edge of one of the seven natural wonders of the world - Niagara Falls. The start gates were the first and last chance for skaters to take in the spectacular views of Niagara Falls and Buffalo, New York, as the course sent them storming quickly down Murray Street to the raucous cheers of thousands of screaming fans.

A crew of hundreds spent four weeks constructing this discipline-twisting course, spreading over 40 tons of—you guessed it, crashed ice—across the streets of Niagara Falls. To ensure a smooth ice surface, a cooling system featuring chiller machines helped maintain optimal temperature throughout the structure of the course.  Polymer boards were used to keep competitors on the track and fans from harm's way. Combined, crashed ice and boards alone were not enough to hold the course up to the pounding from fans and skaters alike. Hundreds of adjustable steel legs and a couple thousand large wood screws provided foundational support to the infrastructure.

The Quest to Qualify
In its eighth year in Canada, Red Bull Crashed Ice saw more than 6,000 brazen athletes fight for their spot in the 2013 ice cross downhill series at 12 qualifying events across the country. A random lottery selected 200 men and 20 women per qualifying city to tackle individual speed trials on a challenging flat-surface obstacle course filled with jumps, dives, and turns. Fifty walk-up spots were also available at each event for determined athletes who weren't selected in the lottery. To narrow the crop of athletes down to 100 men and 20 women, top participants from each qualifier who demonstrated the best skating skill, agility, speed, and strength earned a spot at the main event in Niagara Falls.

New Race Format
The format is simple, but the racing is fierce. Each stop of the 2013 Ice Cross Downhill World Championship features qualifiers for national and international athletes. The top 32 athletes from the National Shoot-Out (qualifier for Canadian athletes) advance to the Elimination Round and the Canadians ranked from 33rd to 64th place advance to the International Shoot-Out. The top 16 female athletes move on to the finals. The top 32 athletes from the International Shoot-Out (qualifier for international athletes) automatically advance to the Saturday night finals and athletes ranked from 33rd to 64th place in the International Shoot-Out advance to the Elimination Round. In the shoot-outs, each athlete has two timed single runs and the fastest time counts. The results determine the pairings for the Elimination Round. These ice mavericks are then seeded into brackets of four, as the top 64 competitors battle head-to-head in the Finals.

First Ever Team Challenge Race
The new Red Bull Crashed Ice season got off to a spectacular start on Friday evening with the new team competition that saw up to six of the world's best Ice Cross Downhill racers rocketing against each other down the ice track set up on a steep slope opposite the majestic Niagara Falls. Each of the 30 teams was comprised of three competitors, and teams had a budget of 5,700 draft points - based on the world standings - to pick its athletes.  After a round of qualifiers, the top 16 teams moved forward to the Team Challenge Finals where Switzerland's Swatch Pro Team, led by veteran ace Kilian Braun, came out on top of a heated battle against the International Gladiators, led by reigning world champion Kyle Croxall of Canada. The winning team shares a cash purse of $6,000.

Crashing the Airwaves
The Ice Cross Downhill World Championship is part of the Red Bull Signature Series on NBC, which features the most progressive and innovative snowboarding, mountain biking, freestyle motocross, ice cross downhill, skiing, and BMX events. The Red Bull Crashed Ice Niagara Falls race will air on NBC on January 26, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. ET. For more information, visit www.redbullsignatureseries.com.

"Red Bull Crashed Ice Kinect" Brings the Heat to Xbox Live Arcade
In "Red Bull Crashed Ice Kinect," players join the worldwide winter sports activity and skate through urban-cityscapes-turned-obstacle-courses, bringing 50 km per hour arcade-style fun to their living rooms. Supporting single player or two-player modes, right out of the start gate players must build speed by swinging their arms like an ice cross downhill champion. As the pace picks up, competitors will lean into curves, duck, dodge and jump over obstacles, and earn extra points by pulling off awesome tricks as they race past cheering fans to the finish.

About Red Bull Crashed Ice - Ice Cross Downhill World Championship
Take some of the best and toughest ice-hockey players in the world, place them in a sizzling atmosphere with stunning surroundings, and build a downhill race track with tons of steel and a huge cooling system with thousands of square metres of frozen water, and a Red Bull Crashed Ice "arena" is made. Since the first ever race in 2001, Red Bull Crashed Ice has become the most breathtaking winter sports events in the world. Ice Cross Downhill aces hurtle down courses up to 500 metres in length in groups of four, shoulder to shoulder, as skaters fight it out for victory. The whole race is held on a steep downhill track dotted with chicanes, jumps and rollers. Pushing, sliding, sprinting and wrangling are all on the menu as the athletes race down the course, but the rules are, in fact, very simple: first to the bottom wins.

Ice Cross Downhill World Championship 2013 Ranking: 1. Croxall (1,000 points), 2. Naasz (800 points), 3. Braun (600 points), 4. Horst (500 points), 5. Klintrup (450 points)

Red Bull Crashed Ice Niagara Falls Results: 1. Kyle Croxall (CAN), 2. Cameron Naasz (USA), 3. Kilian Braun (SUI), 4. Adam Horst (CAN), 5. Paavo Klintrup (FIN)

World Championship points are up for grabs at each of the five stops of the Ice Cross Downhill World Championship: 1,000 points all the way down to 0.5 points are collected for athletes who place first to 100th. The competitor who skates through the season with the most points accumulated after the five races will be crowned the 2013 Red Bull Crashed Ice World Champion.

Red Bull Crashed Ice Newsroom
The Red Bull Crashed Ice Newsroom is a free-of-charge media service providing news stories, high-resolution photographs, clips for TV, web and radio as well as race results and background information about the Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championship. For more news and content including media accreditation, please visit the newsroom at www.redbullcrashedicenewsroom.com.

A Video News Cut from tonight's Finals is now available in the Red Bull Crashed Ice Newsroom and on the following FTP site:

http://redbullca.ftpstream.com
UN: guest
PW: FTPguest09
Folder: Red Bull Crashed Ice Niagara Falls

Facebook: www.facebook.com/redbullcrashedice
Twitter: @RedBullCanada | @CrashedIce | #crashedice
Instagram: RedBullCanada
Website: www.redbullcrashedice.com

Red Bull Playgrounds: Your exclusive mobile guide for Red Bull Crashed Ice! Red Bull Playgrounds - the only social discovery app that turns the world into your playground - is now available for the iPhone (http://bit.ly/playgroundsiphone, Android http://bit.ly/playgroundsandroid as well as on the website www.redbull.ca/playgrounds).

Image with caption: "Third place Kilian Braun of Switzerland, first place Kyle Croxall of Mississauga and second place Cameron Naasz of the United States celebrate their well-deserved victory at Red Bull Crashed Ice in Niagara Falls. On December 1, more than 35,000 eager fans cheered these daredevil athletes to glory as they battled down a 460-metre urban ice track finishing at the edge of the falls. (CNW Group/Red Bull Crashed Ice)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20121202_C5432_PHOTO_EN_21455.jpg

Image with caption: "Third place Jacqueline Legere of Paris (ON), first place Fannie Desforge of Ottawa (ON), and second place Danielle Bergen of Drake (SK) grasp victory as the fastest female athletes in Red Bull Crashed Ice 2013's season opener in Niagara Falls, Ontario on December 1. The women's division, now in its fifth season, consistently brings out some of the fiercest, most fearless female athletes from around the world. (CNW Group/Red Bull Crashed Ice)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20121202_C5432_PHOTO_EN_21451.jpg

Image with caption: "SEE YOU AT THE FINISH LINE! Kyle Croxall of Mississauga (ON) speeds toward icy glory at Red Bull Crashed Ice in Niagara Falls on Saturday, December 1. With hairpin turns, 45 degree vertical drops, and a liberal dose of jumps and gaps, the colossal ice cross downhill track that kicked-off the 2013 Ice Cross Downhill World Championship season was not for the faint of heart. (CNW Group/Red Bull Crashed Ice)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20121202_C5432_PHOTO_EN_21457.jpg

Image with caption: "On Saturday, December 1, more than 35,000 spectators flocked to the streets of Niagara Falls to cheer competitors on at the season opener of Red Bull Crashed Ice. A crew of hundreds spent four weeks constructing the one-of-a-kind 460-meter urban ice track, packed with vertical drops, razor-sharp turns, jumps and steps spiraling towards the course's finish line at edge of the magnificent falls. (CNW Group/Red Bull Crashed Ice)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20121202_C5432_PHOTO_EN_21453.jpg

SOURCE: Red Bull Crashed Ice

For further information:

Emily Palley-Samson | Melissa Legaspi
Edelman
416-894-8176 | 416-587-7775
Emily.Palley-Samson@edelman.comMelissa.Legaspi@edelman.com 

Josée Laperrière 
Red Bull
647-680-2855
Josee.Laperriere@ca.redbull.com

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