Saturday, May 13, 2017

"The most important thing is the thorns!" Interview with the best ice rider of the world Dmitry Koltakov!

Gleb Kalanov, photographer Anton Malyshev

Dmitry Koltakov is an athlete at Black Monster Energy, a member of the CSKA motor club and the world's top ice rinker. This year he won three major world championships in motorcycle racing on ice: the personal championship of Russia, the world championship team and, finally, FIM Ice Speedway Gladiators - personal world championship and in fact The main competition in the ice speedway.
For several years Koltakov was coached by the most titled racer in the history of motorcycle racing on ice Nikolai Krasnikov. In general, the account of the 26-year-old Koltakov already has six world champion titles (two in personal and four in team competitions), as well as many victories in domestic starts.

How did you become interested in motorcycle races on the ice?

It all started with motocross. In 1998, my father somehow took me and my brothers to Kamensk-Uralsky to look at the motocross. We liked it, and we wanted to do it: he bought us a cross-country motorcycle, one for three - we went on it in turn. Then my father sold the car, bought another motorcycle and went-went - we started to perform, we created our team on motocross. In our team was Nikolai Krasnikov, who at that time was already the champion of Russia in motorcycle racing on the ice. Somewhere in 2002 he called me to try to chase an ice bike. So it all started.

You have worked with Krasnikov for many years, the most titled ice rider in history ...

During joint training he taught me a tight struggle so that I was not afraid of anything. Sometimes we drove so close that his wheel scratched my knee - I was surprised: "We are on training!", And he answered - "This is so that no one can pass between us." He taught me that there should be no fear, well, he taught where you can hold the gas for longer, how to choose the right path ...

The secret of his victories is his skill, his lack of fear, his striving for his goal and his enormous work.

What is most important in the ice speedway?

The most important thing is thorns! Without thorns you will not go far. And as for the skills - it's hardening, courage: there are no brakes on motorcycles, the turns are practically lying, and there are wheels with spikes 28 mm long right next to your arm or leg. The speed at the entrance to the turn at the standard stadium is about 140 km / h, and on the track in Krasnogorsk, for example, it reaches 160-180 km / h. Also, the ice is lost, then the bike starts to "jump" in the corners and it is difficult to hold it.

There are riders who ride fast on flat ice, and on a broken track can not maintain a high pace. Others go well when they are alone on the path, but they are lost in the struggle with rivals. The main thing is not to be afraid of anything, you need to be able to overcome yourself.

Ice speed is a dangerous sport. Is not it scary to go to the start, chasing motorcycles without brakes and with huge thorns?

We are already accustomed to this and just do not think that there are no brakes. This is a technical sport - luck and luck are important here, not just skill. There are rivals who think with their heads in the race, but there are others who can go and have a snack of gas, hang motorcycles "on ears" to each other. Over the years of my career, I have understood how an athlete is going, learned the tactics of other riders - during the races you always remember against whom you are chasing and from some you are eager to leave to avoid contact.

But in any case, fear is gone. There is excitement, a sense of responsibility, but not fear. Yes, in my youth it was, but since then I have experienced both falls and injuries - all this has become a habit.

How often do you have to deal with injuries?

In any sport, you can not do without injuries - I had a lot of them. The most memorable moment is a performance with a trauma on the Ice Speedway Gladiators in 2015, when I became the world champion. I had a fracture of the knee joint, a detachment of the posterior cruciate ligament - in the finale of the personal championship of Russia in Togliatti, we grappled with Krasnikov in the fight for the first place, there was contact, and I fell. There, the stadium was originally built for a speedboat - there were no snowdrifts, and immediately behind the soft bales was a fence, which I hit, and then I was also finished with a motorcycle - as a result of the fracture.

I thought the season was lost. Doctors told me to do the operation, but I would not have time to recover for the World Cup, where I really wanted to perform - eventually I refused it. I spent a month on crutches, only two days before my departure for the World Cup I took off the cast - for the first stage I arrived practically without training. It was painful to ride, I acted on painkillers, but in the end I managed to become the world champion ahead of schedule. With such a trauma! I remember this very much - that victory was given through pain, tears and blood.

How does the family relate to your dangerous profession?

The family has become accustomed to everything. My older brothers have been engaged in motocross for a long time and they also had traumas - my father brought one or the other with broken limbs on his hands. Although my mother has become accustomed to such a thing, we still try not to tell her about such things again until the last moment, until she sees the plaster herself.

On which ice do you like to perform most?

Everywhere has its own nuances. In Russia, everywhere natural ice, and it all depends on the weather - if it's too cold, then the motorcycle freezes, and the ice breaks quickly, if the heat, then the ice melts, and you seem to ride through the snow. Abroad, the ice is mostly artificial, there we perform on tracks for skaters, on it a motorcycle shakes, like on a comb - it is important how the organizers adjust the refrigerators. For me, there is no particular difference - it is important for a professional to be able to drive anywhere, on any ice and on any trajectory.

How to prepare a motorcycle for the season? How expensive is the ice speed?

The preparation of the motorcycle begins in September, although some details begin to be prepared in the summer - for example, motors. Chassis, frame, painting, replacement of all fasteners are already engaged in September, at the same time begin to equip with spiked wheels. In all this my father helps me. And we prepare everything from scratch, three motorcycles on spare parts - two combat and one spare.

My budget for the whole season is 3 million 380 thousand rubles. This amount includes the preparation of motorcycles, the purchase of all consumables and spare parts, trips to competitions, salaries to mechanics, the contents of the team bus, etc. Now we are speaking thanks to the sponsors - Black Monster Energy, Motul and others, who are very helpful - we are recruiting a little and we are surviving. We can not allow ourselves all.

What are the common relations between ice riders?

In an indoor park, we try to communicate in a friendly way - we laugh, help each other. And on the track about it everything is forgotten, we all become rivals, especially when the title is at stake - then everyone for himself. In life we ​​try to remain friends - although, of course, sometimes there are grievances related to the behavior on the track. I try to drive correctly, although of course sometimes it is necessary to close the trajectories severely - some are offended, but I always reply that next time I get a debt on the track. If anything, I myself will return, I will not forget! And so I'm not offended at anyone. Sport is a sport, and all disassembly must remain on the path.

Why do not Europeans manage to compete at a high level, what is their problem?

They struggle, but they lack stability. The problem is that it is harder for them to train. At us in Russia natural ice - it simply to prepare and then to leave and chase. And in Europe, artificial ice, which is expensive to fill. Foreigners are forced to come to the camps in Russia to get a bump.

And of course, motorcycle racing on the ice is a Russian sport, the Russian spirit is important here, our battle hardening. When Europeans fall and get small injuries, they usually refuse to continue playing in the race, and Russian guys try to fight to the last. This also affects a lot - from similar things, results are added.

How old are you going to participate in ice races?

While the beard behind the wheel does not start to grapple! If there is no funding, the ability to maintain a team - then yes, I will not go. But I believe that our sport will develop, we will have the money to prepare and fight for victories. Rushing without striving for high results does not make sense, and traveling with old spare parts is simply dangerous for life and health. It is necessary to give all 100 percent - then the results will come.

In any case, after the end of my career, I would like to go to coaching work - if I have the opportunity to transfer skills to some promising athlete striving for high results, I would help him. Anyway, I will always be near the motorcycle races on the ice, work with machinery, motorcycles. I grew up on this, that's what I live by and this I will continue to do.

I would like to try myself somewhere else, besides motorcycle racing on the ice and motocross?

I tried myself in the cattle speedway, but they need to be engaged from childhood - it was too late for me, and I did not like it there. You can not jump from sports to sports, you can just get lost - you need to find yourself in one thing. I do motocross in order to keep fit. In addition, the speedway usually comes from motocross. I like this sport - 40 people start, come in one turn, jump, fight ...

You have won all the main trophies on motorcycle races on the ice, and not once. Now the main goal - to break the records of Nikolai Krasnikov?

Of course! I have four world championship titles in the team competition and two in my personal - although up to the results of Krasnikov is not yet close. But the goal is set - we will work, I have much to strive for and who to overtake by the number of titles. We must not lose ground and continue to prove to everyone that we are the strongest on the planet. I would also like to make a contribution to the development of motorcycle racing on the ice, to draw attention to it with my victories. I would like to see more riders in the ice speedway, so that more people watch this sport. I hope, all will turn out.

Link to photogallery Photographer Anton Malyshev