Motorsport

Freestyle stunting: Meet Arunas Gibieza, Red Bull Athlete

Arunas ‘Aras’ Gibieza is a mad man on two wheels. Mostly one wheel. What is it that makes him push the limits? Read on…

Flying by the main straight and finishing with a rolling stoppie, the crowd went wild with his last performance at the BIC. 29-year-old Arunas ‘Aras’ Gibieza is not by any means afraid of putting on a killer show for his spectators, one freestyle move after the other. It is obvious that Aras was not born with stunting superpowers. His first saddle was a Suzuki RG-50 Moped which he was gifted at the age of ten. Countless wheelies and knee drags later, Aras moved on to a Yamaha R6 which he used as a race bike for two years. The next upgrade was a newer model of the Yamaha and then a brand new Suzuki GSX R 600, which meant he juggled between racing and practicing stunt-riding. Until 2008, Aras seemed to have no idea what his career would be, what he did know was that two wheels were what touched his soul.

Freestyle stunting

Realising that freestyle stunt-riding was a better-suited career, he stuck to that. Also because, his home turf, Lithuania did not have a race-track safe for bikes, a very mature choice considering he started professional stunt riding at 16, an age at which kids are glued to phone screens, either gaming or texting their puppy love. As a stunt-rider, Aras has always wanted to improve his skills. He even prepped his race-bike for stunt-riding. It was in 2012 when Aras won the Vertical trix euro competition and the Bulgarian stunt competition which he came back for in 2013, and won again! The graph only went upwards from there, as the stunt-junkie became a part of the Red Bull team in 2013. By the end of 2014, he had added two more titles to his name.

It was Aras’ fifth time around in India with his last visit being last year’s India Bike Week. He seemed delighted with the skill that each of the local stunt teams showcased. Aras spoke highly of our stunt-riders, with a special mention of Coimbatore’s Throttlerz Team. Let’s see what he has to say about stunt-riding as a career path.

A risky affair, isn’t it?

“Stunt-riding is risky, but it’s the passion, the way of my life. I am always trying to make it safer for me, preparing my bike and carrying out the necessary checks. Practice is everything, once you ride everyday it does not seem that dangerous. You would have to know how the bike feels, because with the crowd cheering you cannot rely on engine noise. With a proper setup, mentality and training it is much safer.”

Most challenging stunt?

“The switchback wheelie is one of the most challenging stunts for me. The rider sits backwards, facing the rear of the bike, with hands on the handlebar…backwards! It’s a trick that I’ve been practicing for two years and there are times when it just doesn’t work. One has to spend a lot of time on the bike to know its potential and limits.”

Words by Hari Kudchadkar

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