Six Aussies are among 17 riders in the Ice Run 2015 which is this week tackling the world’s largest frozen lake, Lake Baikal in Siberia, riding old-school vintage Ural outfits.
Challenges include temperatures of minus 22, thin ice, remote forest tracks, open steppes, crevasse fields and deep ice cracks that could swallow the whole outfit!
The adventure has previously held along the zimniks (ice roads) of the Ob River, but has been shifted east so teams can take on the oldest, deepest and biggest frozen lake in the world. The 31,722 square kilometre lake is 636km long and is the deepest lake in the world at 1642m.
They are riding 1980s and ‘90s Urals which were pretty much the same as in 1940 when the Russian army took the German BMW R71, pulled it apart, copied it and slapped a Ural badge on.
There are eight teams of two rider and passenger, and one solo rider, from Australia, USA, UK, India, Ireland, Italy and Spain.
The Aussies are Dennis Malone, 44, Cozy Costello, 27, Ellie Turner, 25, Travis Crozier, 38, Dave Fry, 32, and Pete Dawes , 35.
The latter four are way out of their hot and humid Darwin comfort zone. Known as Team “Bandits on Ice“, naval navigator Travis, award-winning journalist Turner, aircraft mechanic Fry and Dawes, the “good looking one” are riding two outfits.
Dennis regularly participates in endurance events and adventure racing, including long-distance running, mountain biking and ocean kayaking. He’s riding in team “One the Rocks” with former RAF pilot Matt Prior, 30, of the UK.
Cozy is a Melbourne-based vet who grew up working on his family’s farm, herding cattle on bikes and quads. He’s riding with American Hugh Cummings, 33.
Teams are provided with a mapping file for their GPS, the necessary spares and tools to fix and maintain their bike, and snow chains and ice spears for pushing relentlessly forwards once they hit the crevasse fields and cracks on the ice.
A ground crew and 4×4 emergency support vehicle will track teams in case of genuine emergency.
All riders are asked to raise at least $1900 for charity, $950 of which goes to their nominated charity Cool Earth – an environmental charity that works with indigenous communities to halt rainforest destruction. The Ice Run has raised more than $85,000 since it started in 2012.