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Cameron Naasz, hoping to become the first American to win the #icecrossdownhillworldchampionship, was the fastest man on ice in the Shootout #competition on Friday. The Minnesota native grabbed pole position for Saturday’s #redbullcrashedice season final showdown race while his rival Scott Croxall of Canada finished only 10th place on ice softened by bright sunshine and temperatures well above freezing.
SAINT PAUL, Minnesota (USA) – Cameron Naasz, who is close behind Scott Croxall in the overall championship race, set the pace down the challenging 360-meter long track dropping from the steps of the Saint Paul Cathedral towards the Mississippi River in the heart of Saint Paul, stopping the clock with a time of 30.24 seconds. Canada’s Dean Moriarity was 0.02 of a second behind in 30.26 while France’s Tristan Dugerdil took a strong third in the #competition that sets the rankings for Saturday night’s heats with a time of 30.68. Germany’s Fabian Mels was fourth and Austria’s Luca Dallago fifth. Croxall crashed three times and finished with a time of 33.80 for 10th place in a field of 92 finishers. There were three Americans in the top 10: Naasz, Reed Whiting (8th) and Tommy Mertz (9th).
The impressive victory for Naasz on the difficult track with its giant BF Goodrich Wallride and a tortuous 16-foot high step-up near the finish gave the American an important psychological victory in his battle against Croxall for the overall Ice Cross Downhill Championship on Saturday at the end of the 10-race season.
“It’s always good to do well in the shootout,” said Naasz, who needs to beat Croxall on Saturday to win the title. “It’s going to give me good gate choice all night. I’m still going to have to race everyone. It’s just a little bit of an advantage. I like the track, I feel good out there. I feel confident, I can do better. I’m excited.”
Naasz’s strong time was all the more impressive considering more than 100 riders, including more than two dozen women, carved ruts and divots into the track before he and Croxall went down. “The guys who got to go first had good ice. By the time we got on the ice it was in bad shape.”
Croxall, a powerful racer who digs hard into the ice, was also disappointed by the conditions. “I didn’t know it turned to slush,” he said.
Naasz needs to finish on the podium and ahead of Croxall to become the world champion while Croxall needs to finish ahead of Naasz.
In the women's race, Canada's Myrian Trepanier posted the fastest time of 35.84 with Alexis Jackson (USA) in second and Jacqueline Legere (CAN) taking third. Only 11 of the 28 women made it up and over the challenging 16-foot high step-up near the finish.
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