Believe it or not, ice racing is a past-time that evolved out of necessity. It comes from skijoring, or 'ski driving,' when farmers equipped with skis would enlist either horses or dogs to pull them across the ice so they could get around in Scandinavia.
Eventually, what was once a necessity became something that people did for fun. That's how Austria's new winter sport of ice racing at Zell am See was born back in 1937. If you're a Porsche fan, you may recognize the town name as the home of the Porsche family. By 1952, an annual ice race named for the recently deceased Professor Ferdinand Porsche was born.
From the start, racers on two wheels, four wheels, and skis turned up to take part in the annual event. It was a fun event for racers to look forward to during the off season, as well as a challenge unlike just about anything else.
Unfortunately, shortly before the event was scheduled to take place in 1974, a snowplow fell through the ice at Zell am See. The driver died, and the race was immediately cancelled.
In fact, it stayed that way until 2019, when Ferdinand Porsche Jr. and Vinzenz Greger worked to bring this tradition back for the 21st century. The 2021 event took place without spectators, due to the global pandemic, but participants still showed up and they still raced.
The 2024 F.A.T. International GP Ice Race Just Wrapped, And Dani Pedrosa Came Out To Play
The spikes embedded in the tires of Pedrosa's Red Bull Racing KTM RC16 MotoGP bike are 30mm in length, or about 1.18 inches if you don't believe in the metric system. We certainly don't envy anyone who has to check how securely they're mounted prior to a run, because there are a lot of them.
If you want a little bit of sound to go with your video, be sure to scroll back up to the top of this piece to watch the video embedded up there. Although it's regrettably quite short, you do get to hear a bit of the bike as Pedrosa puts it through its paces in conditions that most of the MotoGP field probably doesn't subject their race bikes to.
Can you get your knee down on the ice without lowsiding? Let us know in the comments, and you can also sit in awe of Pedrosa's skill with us if you like. There's room, and we have plenty of hot cocoa to share.
Dani Pedrosa's Red Bull KTM Factory Racing RC16 MotoGP Bike, outfitted with 30mm studs for ice racing in Zell am See, Austria, January 2024