Last week, Robbie Maddison announced he's the latest in a seemingly endless string of action sports athletes who are making the jump to rally racing. The reigning X Games Best Trick silver medalist has no intention of hanging up the bike any time soon, but he's joining Red Bull teammate Rhys Millen and Marcus Dodd on the newly formed Hyundai rally program. We caught up with Maddison to talk about why he's making the move and what other goals he has left to achieve at X Games.
Where are we catching you right now?
I've been in meetings all day. I just came out of a meeting about a potential TV show. I'm also talking to some folks about doing stunts in an upcoming Hollywood film. The producer is amped that I can ride street bikes and about what I could bring to a high-speed motorcycle chase.
How did the X Games rally gig come about?
I think the gods just threw some luck my way. After seeing guys like Pastrana and Deegan out there last year, I was like, "I want to get involved in rally." I spoke with Rhys Millen and told him I'd love to get into rally. He has a team for the U.S. Rally Championship and they have two cars, but X is not part of their overall championship. But he called and said he has a second driver for all the stops except X. He said, "How would you like to be a part of it?" I said, "I am head over heels and would love to do it." I want to put that car on the podium. I had a taste of an X Games medal last year and want as many as I can get.
When does your training start?
I sat in the car for the first time this morning, and I had a huge smile on my face. I'm trying to get up to speed and comfortable in the new rally car. I'm going to the [Team O'Neill] rally school over in Vermont and then I'll be logging a lot of seat time. I want to do as much as I can to make sure I am as prepared as possible.
Do you have much experience on four wheels?
My car racing history is pretty short. I raced at a Formula One event, a celebrity challenge in Australia, and won by nine seconds. I got pretty confident after that and was thrown in the actual championship class against real drivers. I had a great battle with the series leader and out-maneuvered him into a mistake and beat him. I finished fourth overall. I know I have the ability and a good base of knowledge of how cars work and how to pinch into corners. I could become a top contender.
Do you see this as a next career?
For sure. This career of riding dirtbikes has an expiration date. Right now, I have a grand scheme in my mind and a five-year plan of how I want my motorcycling career to finish up. After that, I'll chase opportunities to move over into four wheels and I think rally racing would be great for me. I'm not scared to jump or push limits around blind corners and I have that no-fear mindset that will shave a few seconds when it comes down to having the balls to hold it on when you don't know what's around the next corner.
Do you have a summer X plan?
First and foremost, I want to give it my all at X Games and finish what I started. Of all the goals I set for myself at the start of my career, the one I haven't achieved is X Games gold. So I'll keep pushing limits on the bike until I have a gold medal to put in my safe. Freestyle and best trick are the most important on my list, and then rally. Then, whatever else I can fit into my schedule. Best whip and step-up and speed and style... I could do three events in one night and potentially compete in six events this year. But that might be biting off more than I can chew.