Farrell is Lancaster bomber...

editorial image
  • Speed skier Jan feels Lancastrian
  • World Cup winner loves the adrenaline rush
  • Has eyes on breaking speed records
Have your say

Jan Farrell is not your typical Lancaster sportsman.

Born to a Czech mother and English father in the city, the speed ski star has spent most of his life in Madrid.

Jan Farrell.

Jan Farrell.

But the SDH World Cup winner in 2014 still considers his place of birth home despite being away for most of his 31 years.

“I’ve got quite a few family friends there,” said Farrell, who took up skiing in the Lake District aged just two and left for Spain at five.

“I still consider it home and try to come back as often as I can because it’s a great place.

“I last came back in 2010 or 2011 but I’ve promised my girlfriend we’ll visit and get up to the Lake District or Scotland.

You go down half a vertical metre and get up to speeds of 200kmh or 120mph.

“I could have raced for the Czech Republic or Spain but I chose Britain. My accent might be a bit strange but I’m from Lancaster!”

If Farrell – also an entrepreneur who runs “half a dozen” companies – is not your everyday sportsman, then speed skiing certainly isn’t an every day event.

The fastest non-motorised sport in the world, competitors are measured over a straight line descent of around a kilometre with speeds reaching an eye-watering 200kph or 125mph.

“There’s a big technical side to it because it’s about aerodynamics,” says Farrell, who raced in Winter Olympic favourite ski cross until 2011.

“You ski in a straight line down a very steep slope which is usually around a kilometre in length.

“You go down half a vertical metre and get up to speeds of 200kmh or 120mph.

“It seems like an adrenaline rush but it’s very intense and is over in about 15 or 20 seconds.

“There’s so much going on at the same time. I’m concentrating so much that I don’t think about the adrenaline.”

It’s certainly high-tech. Farrell’s latex race suit is specially made in France to ensure it has no creases, with his helmet hand-made in Switzerland.

The Lancaster ace says he has never crashed but just in case, the helmet has an inside shell that would break on impact with the outer shell acting as a spoiler, similar to on a racing car.

It’s all done with one thing in mind, going as fast as possible, with Farrell having his eye on several Guinness speed records.

“My intention is to try and break (Italian speed skier) Simone Origone’s 252kph record which would be the culmination of my career,” he says.

“It’s ambitious but that’s what I’m aiming for and that’s what I’m going to look to do.

“We’re in the sport to go fast so that’s my aim.”