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AN OLYMPIAN skater from Solihull has faced the longest, ice cross downhill track ever built to race in the Ice Cross Downhill World Championship.

Tom Iveson visited Valkenburg in the Netherlands last weekend to battle almost 160 competitors from 24 nations in the Ice Cross Downhill World Championship.

Tom Iveson visited Valkenburg in the Netherlands last weekend to battle almost 160 competitors from 24 nations in the Ice Cross Downhill World Championship.

The race sees skaters hurtle down the terrifying 500-metre Red Bull Crashed Ice track, dotted with chicanes, jumps and rollers in groups of four, shoulder to shoulder, reaching speeds of up to 70km/h as they race for victory.

The 28-year-old speed skater said: “It was my first time I’ve raced in the championship and it was by far, the most perilous I’ve ever done.

“It’s like a roller coaster on skates.”

Tom, who came sixth place in the relay at the Winter Olympics 2010, has been skating since the age of ten but said this was one of the hardest challenges he had faced.

“It’s regarded as an extreme sport amongst ice sports,” he added.

“I’m just pleased that I didn’t get injured; there were broken arms and collar bones in the first two hours.

“Previously I was racing for country and was supported. Now it’s a very different risk, I’ve got a day job and a mortgage to pay.”

The 2012 Championship winner was Kyle Croxall, a Canadian firefighter, beating Germany’s rising star Fabian Mels into second while Finland’s Paavo Klintrup got third.

Tom was ranked 92 of 158 competitors, getting knocked out in the elimination round before the finals. He was the second highest of three UK racers, losing out to Adrian Jack from Hull but was already planning to return next year.

He said: “I’d go back in a flash. Now I know what I’m up against I can change my training a bit, focus on more aggressive skating. I’d love to get into the top forty.”

 

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