We've got two pilots competing in this year's Red Bull X-Alps event; Ferdy van Schelven and Honza Rejmanek. Here's an introduction:
Ferdy van Schelven
Ferdy is dutch by birth, but lives in Belgium. He's 30 years old (will be 31 by the time he rocks up in Salzburg for the Opening Parties) and has competed in 2 X-Alps events already. In 2011 he came 7th, in 2013 he was 6th, and we know that if he's on a roll then there's nothing to stop him from being on the podium in 2015. Ferdy has some serious flying skills PLUS the ability to suffer in good spirits, and that is precisely what it takes to be a succesful X-Alps athlete. Not a rich person by birth, Ferdy is always looking for further sponsorship for his participation, so if you've got any hints or pointers, or are yourself the marketing manager of a large corporation looking to expand your exposure, Ferdy is keen to hear from you!
Honza is another expat - born in the Czech Republic but living in USA as a naturalised citizen, he will be 40 years old by the time the race begins in Salzburg. It'll be his 5th X-Alps, something that makes him into one of the most experienced pilots in the entire field. Honza is a meteorologist by training, and shares his understanding of the skies with the readers of Cross Country Magazine in a regular column.
Honza is the kind of guy who seems to be built out of some particularly hard alloy - he flies hard and charges hard. Expect to see him going for it again this year, as hard as any!
We can't even begin to tell you how excited we are about the whole thing. Both pilots will be flying stock-standard UP Trango XC3's, something that we hope will help underline our new babys suitability for both high-performance flying AND hike-and-fly adventures. Their custom-colour wings are being sewn as this is being written, and we'll be keeping you all up-to-date about the two pilots' experiences with their wings as they start sending their feedback. Finally, don't forget to tune in on the Live Tracking at www.redbullxalps.com on July 5th - it will be the virtual experience of a lifetime!