The Red Bull Crashed Ice competition returned to the St. Paul Cathedral Hill for the 2014 edition of the race. Expectations were high as the event brought over 100,000 fans to the hill in 2013 as part of the Winter Carnival festivities.
This year, however, the promoters decided to move the race back a few weeks after the 2013 preliminaries had to be postponed due to extreme cold, so the race would not coincide with the Winter Carnival. There were speculations that the crowds would be diminished because of this.
Despite a high of 16 degrees F and wind gusts that reached 30 mph, Red Bull estimates over 120,000 people made it to the event, surpassing the 2013 mark and surprising many.
The fans came out to check out the craziness that is Crashed Ice, but many came out because of the local ties that many racers have. In particular, Cameron Naasz, of Lakeville by way of St. Cloud State University, first stepped onto the Crashed Ice track in 2013 when he was given a shot to compete.
After some consideration he decided to give it a try…and, as they say, the rest is history. In Naasz’s case he went on to become the first American to win a race, when he won on March 2, 2013 in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Naasz would place third but the thrill for the home town fans was that, of the final four skaters who sped down the 1,410 at speeds of up to 40 mph while dropping about five stories, all in a matter of less than a minute.
The final four racers included Naasz and another American (and Minnesotan) Andrew Bergeson. Rounding out the racers were current points leader, Marco Dallago, and Ice Cross legend Scott Croxall. Dallago would win with Croxall coming in second after Naasz went down at the end of the race. Naasz took third with Bergeson fourth.
The circuit will head to Moscow, Russia for the third event this year and will finish in Quebec City, Canada on March 22.
Stay tuned to The Minnesota Sports Report for news from the State of Hockey where St. Paul will play host, over the next month, to the High School Boys Hockey Tournament, the Big10 Men’s Hockey Tournament and the NCAA West Division tournament.
Article by Matt Blewett
Photos by Rick Corwine