Their first track day is always something special for most riders but, throw in solid ice, snow bank safety run-offs and a stunt legend, and it’s euphoria on a whole new level.
Riding on pack ice…
When her rear wheel slid away on a bend, a gentle touch on the throttle kicked in and the spiked tyres did their job as adventure junkie Hanna Johansson glided into the strait.
As if riding the 800km to the north of her native Sweden on ice and slush-laden roads wasn’t challenging enough, what awaited her and her 2019 Street Scrambler at the ice track in Vilhelmina was “totally insane and impossible”. It took the 29-year-old traveller three days to reach south Lapland with studs fitted to her Scrambler and she admits: “It was cold, with pack ice and slush and all the challenges that brings, so by the time I got here I already felt I’d achieved something good.
“When I saw the track, I thought, ‘I’ve bitten off more than I can chew here’.”
Impossible is nothing as every adventure rider knows. So after a briefing with veteran Triumph Rocket stuntman Sune Andersson, who has braved everything from pack ice to napalm, the Stockholm princess was ready for her maiden ride… Frozen-style.
Nothing quite like it
“This was my first time on a track and once Sune had reassured me that the Scrambler and the tyres would give me perfect traction, I trusted him and went for it,” she says.
“I did some slaloms and could feel the control, but the first curve still felt very strange. The rear wheel went and it was scary, but I didn’t let it slide too much, gave the bike a little nudge and we were out of the bend. Every bend I took gave me even more of a euphoric feeling.
“There’s nothing quite like riding on ice. I genuinely think it makes you a better off-road rider when you get back to gravel and dirt because you understand the way the bike works and the science behind it.
“Everyone should try it at least once. If you have a Scrambler, a Bonneville or a Tiger you owe it to yourself and your bike to give it a go. The first thing I wanted to do as I headed back south and home was do it all again… and I will.”
How to ride on ice
• Get the tyres right – you’ll need special screws to stand a chance on the slippery stuff.
• Lean forward on top of the bike when cornering, sitting on the upper edge of the seat with the bike leaned sharply underneath you.
• It will feel strange but that’s in your mind. Be bold.
• Put your weight on the outside peg to maximise traction. Drag your inside foot on the ice as a third contact point. Don’t put too much weight on the foot to avoid hooking it on rough ice or getting it trapped under the rear tyre.
• Steer with the rear: as you get faster, learn to back the bike into the turns. This gets the bike turned with the rear rather than ‘steering’ with the front, which can increase the risk of the front sliding out.
• Going to drop it? Head for the snow banks.
Find out more about the Street Scrambler and its capabilities…