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X-Games Honeymoon with Hot Wheels, A Big Orange Loop and My Life at Speed

When I first heard about Hot Wheels’ plan to have Greg and Tanner complete the Double Loop Dare, I was concerned. Now, I wouldn’t claim to be a professional… but in my years of Hot Wheels experience, I don’t recall my big brother, David, or I ever completing the loop successfully. Our entry speed was always off, gravity was never on our side, and the cars never seemed to just stay planted. While the loop was never successful in the Rickli household, there were many other stunts that we found to be plenty lucrative. After watching all the videos about the stunt and reading the articles about it, I became more confident that Greg and Tanner would be able to pull it off, though I was still concerned (Sorry, boys!).

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(L-R) Tanner Foust and Greg Tracy – Hot Wheels Double Dare Loop at X-Games right behind the superstars!

The week before the X Games was really crazy for Valentin and I. Our wedding was originally scheduled to be on June 26th, at the base of Pikes Peak, but with the fires in Colorado Springs, we had to re-plan our ceremony. Once the Waldo Canyon Fire broke out, we knew that we needed to find a Plan B. We finally settled on having the ceremony off Flagstaff Road, overlooking Boulder. I wasn’t too concerned about the wedding being moved… Val and I could get married anywhere, but I was quite concerned about the fate of the 90th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

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Savannah Rickli (only to be Rickli for a few more moments) marries Valentin Ivanitski.

On Wednesday, the day after the wedding, we got the official word that the Pikes Peak Hill Climb would not be happening on July 8th. Val and I had already arranged to take the week off work, and we started throwing around ideas of taking a last minute honeymoon. After a bit of discussion, we ended up booking our flights to Orange County. The beach, the recent opening of Cars Land in Disney’s California Adventure, and the Hot Wheels Stunt at the X Games all were the convincing factors of the trip.

We quickly put a call into our good friend Chris Naz, as we were looking for more information about how to see Greg and Tanner do their work. Before we knew it, we were running around the X Games with Matt G and Eric Gearhart looking for the Hot Wheels VIP Credential Pick Up. After a solid hour of “credential scavenger hunt” where each credential station sent us to the next one, we finally arrived at the Hot Wheels test track. The VIP area was plenty worthy of a honeymoon, thanks CNaz!  It didn’t take us long to find Greg, he was the one surrounded with all the kids taking photos. I was excited to see him, I could only imagine what it was like for the kiddos as they got to meet a real, live Hot Wheels driver!

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Photo by Eric Gearhart. Matt G is on the left with camera!
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Our XGames – Hot Wheels Loop Honeymoon!!!

In chatting with Eric more about Greg’s preparations I learned that Greg had knocked out several of his front teeth during a practice session that didn’t quite go as planned. Oh no! This was getting a little too close to home for me, as I recalled the time that I knocked my front teeth out playing Hot Wheels. I think people seriously underestimate the danger associated with Hot Wheels! I was three years old, and playing with my brother David. As the Hot Wheels pros that we were, we had the car mats spread all across the floor of David’s room. I was wearing socks… the mats were plastic… and the bed frame was too close for comfort. Ouch!! Since Greg was already following in my footsteps (ha!) of my Hot Wheels adventures, I was worried! But when asked if he was scared, Greg just shrugged it off. “It’s not the loop that I’m worried about; it’s the combination of the loop and the jump that stands to be tested”


It was almost time! We wished him luck, gave a few final hugs, and stepped back to watch Greg Tracy go face-to-face with gravity. We were standing in the VIP area, and there were a bunch of cute kiddos in front of us. They weren’t quite sure if they were on Team Green or Team Yellow. After a little while, we had them cheering Green (Sorry, Tanner!).

The boys finally got in their cars at the end of the acceleration ramp, and took off on a speed test where they made it several degrees up the loop and then rolled back down. This was it, they were back at the start line, we readied our cheap camera and iPhone (we weren’t allowed to bring our nice DSLR because that’s how the X-Games control media rights). Suddenly we heard the roar of the engines and then the rev limiters, as both cars screamed down the straight towards the loop. “Argh! This camera is so slow!” I head from Valentin, as I snapped the perfect shot (Woo Hoo!!) of Greg beating Tanner around the loop with my iPhone. It is incredible what kind of shots one can get with a phone,  we published the photos to My Life At Speed instantly.

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I also quickly messaged it to CNaz who had texted me “I think I am going to barf.” a few minutes earlier as she prepared for Greg to “do” the Loop. Months of preparation that only a few were privy to, was about to happen….and would happen in just seconds.

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Photo by Eric Gearhart

It all happened so fast, I couldn’t believe it was already done. The start, the loop, the jump, and then there they were, Greg and Tanner running up the landing ramp with their arms up in the air.

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Photo by Eric Gearhart
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The guys receive their certificates for the Guinness World Record!

We just got to spend our honeymoon watching our very own Greg setting a world record! Wow! As Greg and Tanner were awarded their certificates from the Guiness Book of World Records certificates, I could not have felt any more proud of Greg. He may be crazy, but he has a way of making dreams come true. I’m incredibly lucky to have a role model like him in my life to look up to.  Val and I can’t wait to see Greg in a few weeks at the Peak, after all, Greg still needs to sign our Hot Wheels cars!

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Photo by Eric Gearhart
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Eric Gearhart with Greg Tracy getting his Hot Wheels Double Loop autographed.

Written by Savannah Ivanitski

Savannah Ivanitski

Savannah started karting at the age of 11 but her love for racing began much earlier than that. Being born into a racing family, speed was always in her blood. Spending many of her days at the racetrack, Savannah got tired of just watching and saved up enough money to buy her own kart- what started out a hobby, soon turned into a deep passion and a burning desire to be on the track. Savannah began karting with the SCCA’s Formula Junior Program and participated in SCCA Solo Nationals in 2008 and 2009. Following a childhood dream, in 2010, Savannah became the youngest driver to finish the world famous Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Savannah was awarded the Rookie of the Year award and finished third in the Time Attack 2WD class. Early in the 2011 season, Savannah earned her national competition license. By the time she turned 18, Savannah had two Pikes Peak International Hill Climb finishes. Savannah’s other experiences include ice racing with Colorado’s Our Gang Ice Racing, participation with National Auto Sports Association, and SCCA Rally Cross Nationals. When Savannah isn’t racing, she enjoys traveling, writing, being with friends, and is a major movie buff. Savannah is a very dedicated student. She graduated a semester early from High School in December of 2010, and is a full time student at Arizona State University's WP Carey School of Business. Savannah also works part time at a marketing agency. She works out of a regular basis to keep at her physical best.

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