Derek Wedge on the ice in Boston
© Mihai Stetcu/Red Bull Content Pool

Boston-born Derek Wedge is heading home for Red Bull Crashed Ice

The 2013 ice cross downhill world champion chats to us about returning to his birthplace for the final Red Bull Crashed Ice race of the season this weekend.
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Derek Wedge is one of the 'Magnificent Seven' of ice cross downhill world champions. He's a Swiss rider with dreadlocks, but was actually born in Boston, USA and is back in his birthplace this week to compete at the final Red Bull Crashed Ice race of the 2018/ 19 season in Fenway.
You can't miss Wedge on any ice cross downhill track. He's always dressed in red and white, the colours of Switzerland, where he's now the president of the Swiss ATSX federation. He's a true veteran of the ice cross circuit, at the venerable age of 36, but still able to mystify his younger rivals on track, as he did last week in Jyväskylä, Finland, when he passed Frenchman Pacôme Schmitt on the inside line at the very last corner in the Round of 32 race.
It was a classic move that Wedge was able to pull off thanks to the experience he's accumulated in the 31 Red Bull Crashed Ice races he's run since 2011. The high point was definitely 2013, where the former hockey player and freestyle skier took the win in Landgraaf (Netherlands), a podium in Québec City (Canada), and ultimately claimed the ice cross downhill world title. A few years later, it's about time to catch up with the son of a Holiday on Ice skater who's back in Boston for the first time in over 30 years.
Derek, how do you like this stadium?
It's the first time in a stadium for Red Bull Crashed Ice and this is just amazing. You feel a lot of emotion when you get into the stadium, when you check the track, and when you do the photo shoot. Once you're at the top of the track, you can see the stadium behind. I just have to say well done, good job.
Derek Wedge has a warmup run down the track at the third Red Bull Crashed Ice stop of the 2018/19 season in Boston, USA.
Derek Wedge (far right) gets to grips with the 350m Fenway track
It's historic what's happening here. It's the perfect place for a track, because you're not blocking the streets of a big city. Everybody can see the whole track, it's easier and more comfortable for the spectators, and really is a big step ahead for the future of the sport. A lot of people have a season pass here for baseball, so now they have a chance to watch another sport. It should bring a huge crowd in on Saturday. I can't wait to hear the people screaming us on.
Does this track look like any other on the Crashed Ice circuit?
It's not possible to compare this track. It looks very nice, and it's a bit special. We have soft ice currently, compared to Russia and Finland, where the temperature was much lower and where the ice was so hard. It's going to be faster on Saturday, and the features are very interesting. With the moguls and the jumps, there'll be a lot of air time. It's very technical, well designed, and not dangerous at all, so I think that the show will be insane.
Derek Wedge sharpens his skates before racing at the third Red Bull Crashed Ice stop of the 2018/19 season in Boston, USA.
Wedge makes sure his skates are sharp before the big race weekend
How emotional is it for you to come back to Boston?
My mother worked for Holiday on Ice until she was 30, and then she met my Dad, who lived in New Bedford. When they separated, I was only three. I moved to Switzerland with my mum and I've never been back since. I'll meet part of my family again this weekend, my cousins, so it will be very emotional to get back to where I was born. I really don't know how I'll handle all this.
Derek Wedge celebrates being crowned ice cross downhill world champion in 2013 in Quebec, Canada.
Wedge was the 2013 Ice Cross Downhill World Champion
Do you think this track will suit your skating style?
You can never say until we see the results of the time trials. It looks nice, but I've not trained enough for this season. If I was more prepared, I'm sure that I could challenge the best guys. Every time I'm in the quarter finals currently I'm very happy, pumped up about the result. You always have to fight as if it was the first time, the first race, though. The first goal is to qualify for the Round of 32 after the time trials. Then, if I reach the semi finals, the other guys will know that I can make it to the final. I'm not far from the podium this year, and I'll come back stronger next year.