RICHARD HUTTON/Niagara This Week
Long before Kyle Croxall crossed the finish line to win the Red Bull Crashed Ice event in Niagara Falls on Saturday night, talks were already underway to bring the event back to the city in 2013.
“We’ve been having those discussions already, even before the races began,” Mayor Jim Diodati said Tuesday as work continued on disassembling the track on Murray Hill. “It’s always been our intention for it to become a yearly event.”
The Niagara Falls event drew an estimated 35,000 people to the nationally televised final Saturday night, where Croxall, a Mississauga native who now calls Calgary home, came from behind to beat American Cameron Naasz in the final. Switzerland’ Kilian Braun was third and Canada’s Adam Horst was fourth.
Fannie Desgorges meanwhile, was the women’s winner.
“There was lots of excitement, lots of energy,” Diodati said. “Now we can relax just a touch.”
Red Bull officials, meanwhile, wouldn’t comment on a possible return to the Niagara Falls next year.
“With the success of the ice cross downhill world championship season opener in Niagara Falls, all our efforts are now focused on the second Canadian stop in Quebec City in March 16, 2013,” said Josée Laperrière, Communications Manager for Red Bull Canada.
Niagara Falls was the first of five stops on the 2012-13 tour. Up next is a stop in Saint Paul, Minn., January 26. The tour then heads to Europe for races in Kazan, Russia, Feb. 16 and Lausanne, Switzerland, March 2 before returning to Quebec for the championship.
“First, we want to do a post mortem,” Diodati said. “Let’s see what we did right and what we could do better.”
The mayor said that he talked to staff from a Buffalo television station which said a story the station had done pre-event had dawn so many hits on its website that they decided to return and cover the final.
“I told them they shouldn’t be surprised,” Diodati said. “Niagara Falls is in a different class in terms of it being famous worldwide.
The fact that the event was a success is a credit to the partnership between the province, the city, the Niagara Parks Commission and tourism groups.
That’s something that Wayne Thomson, chair of Niagara Falls Tourism agreed with.
“I think it was the entire community,” Thomson said. “It was up to every organization to stand up and be counted. Everyone worked together.”
Thomson said that the success of the event bodes well for the future.
“Now we’ve got something positive, a first-year event that was successful, Thomson said.
Diodati, meanwhile, said he took the time to walk the entire length of the course to get a look at the race from a spectator’s perspective.
“I was very pleased,” he said.
So, too, was Niagara Parks Police Chief Doug Kane.
“Actually, we only had a few minor issues with people climbing on structures,” Kane said. “It was a cheerful, happy crowd.”
He said the organizers from Red Bull were willing to cooperate.
“We found them perfect to work with,” Kane said. “It was a very positive experience for us.”
The event was broadcast across Canada on Rogers Sportsnet beginning at 8:30 p.m. The network, citing statistics from the Bureau of Broadcast Management, said 128,000 tuned in to the telecast. The event was also broadcast to a global audience online via Red Bull TV everywhere except the United States. No numbers have been released.