Hot Cold! Merz wins again after six years

Extreme weather characterizes the ATSX Ice Cross World Championship this winter like never before. After arctic temperatures at the start of the season in Austria, two cancellations followed in France and the Czech Republic due to the unusually warm weather, while extreme frost dominated the racing days again in Finland.

Under the iconic water tower, the men's competition was as fierce as ever. Patrick Merz from Switzerland celebrated his first victory since the 2017/18 season. The veteran led the way to the finish curve in Judenburg at the season opener, but crashed and was unable to earn a spot on the podium. Determined to not let this happen twice, Merz won safely ahead of Robin Worling from Canada and Marco Dallago from Austria. Leevi Nakaari from Finland followed in fourth, while his compatriot and reigning World Champion Mirko Lahti was eliminated in the quarterfinals. In the overall standings, Worling (450 points) is now leading, just ahead of Merz (425) and Lukasz Korzestranski from Poland (400).

In the women's event, reigning World Champion Veronika Windisch from Austria had difficulty finding her stride on this track, but managed to overcome the dominant Justine Zonne from Latvia and up-and-coming junior athlete Jordan Sewczak from the USA. Two wins in a row secures Windisch a #1 spot in the World Championship standings.

Following in his fellow Austrian's footsteps, Niklas Begander won the second junior race of the season with a calculated final kick. Arthur Fort from France and Elias Vauhkonen from Finland were narrowly behind, determined by arguably the most intense photo finish yet. Ice cross riders from around the world will now continue their tour in North America, with the final races in Sainte-Angèle-de-Mérici, Quebec, Canada and Lost Valley, Maine, USA.

The results: Men. 1. Patrick Merz (SUI), 2. Rob Worling (CAN), 3. Marco Dallago (AUT), 4. Leevi Nakaari (FIN), 5. Michael Urban (CZE), 6. Lukasz Korzestanski (POL), 7. Martin Nahlovsky (CZE), 8. Maxime Nadeau (CAN), 9. Antti Tolvanen (FIN), 10. Linus Ollikainen (FIN)

Women: 1. Veronika Windisch (AUT), 2. Justine Zonne (LAT), 3. Jordan Sewczak (USA), 4. Virginie Schneider (BEL), 5. Milla Lassila (FIN)

Juniors: 1. Niklas Begander (AUT), 2. Arthur Fort (FRA), 3. Pietu Ponkkonen, 4. Ilari Laitinen, 5. Elias Vaukhonen (all FIN)