Canadian Kyle Croxall was crowned the Red Bull Crashed Ice World Champion for 2012 during an action-packed final event in Quebec City on Saturday night in front of more than 100,000 spectators.
In a fight that went right down to the final race, Croxall secured the second place he needed following a dramatic slip from his own brother, Scott, during the closing stages of the final race to come in behind the 2011 champion Arttu Pihlainen on the night but in front of his rival overall.
It was the most dramatic Ice Cross Downhill World Championship in Red Bull Crashed Ice history with Pihlainen looking like he was headed for the title. Championship leader Kyle Croxall needed to finish at least second to win the title but the Canadian firefighter was well behind his brother Scott in third place with time running out as the Finn streaked away from the pack. But Scott suddenly crashed into a wall after a tricky jump and fell to the ice, allowing Kyle to leapfrog him into second and give Canada its first world championship. Kyle Croxall, runner-up in 2010 and 2011, finished the year with 3000 points, just 40 ahead of Pihlainen (2960) with Scott Croxall third (2300).
It was a bittersweet victory for Pihlainen, the 2011 world champion. It was the sixth career victory for the soft-spoken sports teacher but Pihlainen came to Canada planning to overtake Croxall and drive home the MINI awarded to the world champion. For much of the race it looked like he had the title in the bag before Scott Croxall’s late tumble.
“It feels amazing,” said Croxall, a muscular athlete with fast feet who won the first two races of 2012 in Saint Paul, Minnesota (USA) and Valkenburg (NED) before stumbling in Are (SWE) with a 13th place that left him in danger of throwing away the championship. He admitted he was delighted to see his brother crash in front of him. “I thought that was really good.” But both he and Scott denied there had been any sort of “team orders”.
Ross Thompson, of Canada, meanwhile, was named the MINI Rookie award as best newcomer at the final race.
The third world championship was dominated by the Canadian team with Finland following. The Swiss and German teams were once again strong in 2012 while the Dutch, Russian and USA teams showed great improvement. Click here for the full Nations Cup standings