So would I like to sit alongside American extreme sports star Travis Pastrana in a Skoda Fabia S2000 rally car during the Race of Champions? A no-brainer, and even if I’d been told beforehand that we’d end up crashing into the barriers in front of 34,000 people, I’d still have said yes.
Stunt fiend Pastrana spends most of his time leaping, flipping and spinning motorbikes and cars, and also finds time to squeeze in NASCAR races and rounds of the US rally championship.
He’s got an infectious passion for engine-powered machinery and an inspiring ‘do anything’ attitude to life. For example, I probably would have thought twice about accepting a passenger ride with him for this.Thanks to his success in the X-Games extreme sports competition, he’s a huge star in his home country, and came to the Race of Champions at the Esprit Arena in Düsseldorf, Germany, as part of Team USA with fellow action sports competitor Brian Deegan.
Pastrana, who hails from Maryland, was “pumped” after beating DTM racer Timo Scheider when they battled in Audi R8s, but needed to win our race ensure Team USA progressed to the next round of the knock-out Nations Cup competition.
Unfortunately we were drawn against Finnish rally driver Juho Hänninen, who is a factory Skoda driver and knows the Fabia S2000 intimately. I’ve had a ride alongside Hänninen, and as I tried to settle my pre-race nerves I thought it would be a good idea to tell Pastrana that the Finn “is pretty good”.