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With the IDF schedule half way done, the Street Luge World Series Championship has turned in the most competitive in years.
The competition got into full swing at Arirang Hill, the first event where the three front runners clashed. Will Stephenson, put the stake in the ground, and said he was coming for the championship by winning on a severely sprained ankle. Kolby Parks grabbed second, while front runner Abdil Mahdzan hit the hay in the down pour and finished just off the podium.

With the IDF schedule half way done, the Street Luge World Series Championship has turned in the most competitive in years.
The competition got into full swing at Arirang Hill, the first event where the three front runners clashed. Will Stephenson, put the stake in the ground, and said he was coming for the championship by winning on a severely sprained ankle. Kolby Parks grabbed second, while front runner Abdil Mahdzan hit the hay in the down pour and finished just off the podium.
Kozakov Challenge, the first of two European World Cups would solidify the race. A win by points leader Mahdzan would almost quarantee the former world champion, another series win. But perennial Kozakov Champion, Mikel Echegary Diez was trying to throw a monkey wrench into the works. Echegary Diez decided to race on his classic luge, making it harder for him to repeat as a Champion. Mahdzan led half way down the course, but a small mistake in the Forest Right turn gave Echegary Diez a chance to catch up. Kolby Parks, in last place heading into the final turn, made a last ditch effort and managed to overtake almost everyone in the turn, and ended up losing to Echegary Diez by only a few feet! With Mahdzen taking another fourth place, the series was up for grabs.
Heading into the second European World Cup, Verdicchio, Parks was leaving a mark. His worst finish so far this season was second! But another World Cup win by Mahdzan, almost locks the series up. Mahdzan put his stamp on the course, setting the course record in qualifying. Mahdzan continued to heat up an already hot event, by leading the finals almost all the way. But a mistake in one of the last corners opened the way for Parks first win of the year. Tightening the race even further!
The final race of the European series, Sanki, was the first IDF event in Russia, down the 2014 Winter Olympics bobsled access track in Sochi. Stephenson, by the skin of his teeth, was able to get a visa and race. Stephenson continued his podium streak, but racked up an important win. Unfortunately, with only one WQS win, it leaves him trailing Mahdzan by only a handful of points! With four podiums in four races, Stehpenson picked up the European Series win!
At the half way point, just before the opening of the North American Series, Mahdzan sits on top of the leaderboard, as one of two racers with the required five races. Stehpenson, also with the requisite number of races sits in second, only because Mahdzan has two WQS wins to Stephenson's one. Parks sits in third, with his consistent finishes. Parks still needs one more WQS to gain the maximum number of points. Parks will return to America, and must win a WQS, or win a WC with a second at a WQS to overcome Mahdzan. With a second child due any day now, Stephenson's seasons is most likely over. Luis Mogrovejo, had an outside shot, especially with the South American scene wide open. But a crash in practice left him in the hospital with a several sprained ankle.
Parks needs a win in North America, to have a shot at the world championship, but he will face some stiff competition from Tim Koch, Frank Williams, David Dean, Matt Bartlett, and Joey Yates. Shane MacDougall, who has shown marked improvment over the past year, might have also been a contendor, but in a freak accident in Russia, managed to break his hand.
The winner of the world series is not a given, currently it is within reach of Parks. But with eight races, including three world cups, anyone can still step up and claim the championship!

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