The Champion24-year-old Austrian reigning Red Bull Crashed Ice Ice Cross Downhill World Champion Marco Dellago knows he’ll have to fight to keep the crown
THE RED BULLETIN: How would you describe Red Bull Crashed Ice to someone who’s never watched a race?
MARCO DELLAGO: It’s very unusual. Four guys on skates going downhill at up to 70kph, over jumps and obstacles, means a lot of action. Ice skating is difficult at the best of times, now imagine doing that speed over really rough ice, with obstacles, and you get a lot of carnage and chaos. It’s completely unpredictable.
How did you start?
Back in 2010 on a practice track in Austria. I played ice hockey already and wanted to try it. I was terrified of the track when I first saw it, it was so steep. But I immediately loved the pure adrenalin feeling of riding it. Every track is different, and the ice is rough and unpredictable, it’s not like an ice rink. That challenge doesn’t get old.
Did you expect to win last year?
You can never expect to win in this competition, you can only prepare and hope. After the 2013 season I could see there was a lot more possible, so that raised my motivation to improve. But in the end you don’t know how much the other competitors have progressed until you race. There’s always somebody going for it, working out day and night.
What’s the secret to your success?
Me, my brother and a friend created a steep wooden track in the forest near where we live in Austria and we rode it with inline skates. It was the closest to a summertime Red Bull Crashed Ice track you can get, which meant we could practise even more. It started out as a joke idea, but with a lot of experimenting and work, we actually did it. Riding wood on wheels is different to ice on skates of course, but the same movements, balance and timings apply. It definitely helped.
How do you feel about the race line-up in 2015?
I’m really looking forward to heading to Northern Ireland. I’ve never been to Belfast before and a race in a new place is always exciting. The location looks amazing. The only thing I thought to myself when I heard it was there was, ‘Is it cold enough?’ We’re used to heading to snow-covered countries, so Belfast is unusual in that sense. I’m hoping for a big crowd to get behind us.
Will you be walking away with the 2015 crown?
It’s definitely possible, but there are so many factors in play. The sport has progressed every year since it started in 2001 and everyone is raising their game. It’s hard for one person to dominate as it’s so close; tiny mistakes can completely wipe you out of the competition and 10ths of seconds count. It’s as tight for us as it is for a Formula One racer. But I’m ready to fight for it.
The Red Bulletin App
Want to be able to get the latest The Red Bulletin stories any time, and anywhere on your mobile devices for free? Then download The Red Bulletin App here.