Thursday, April 8, 2010
Motocrosser Maddison jumps over Corinth Canal, near Loutraki
Australian stunt Motocrosser Robbie Maddison not only jumped over the 85-metre wide Corinth Canal at height of nearly 100 metres in Greece on Thursday, but he also had a bigger hurdle to overcome: fear
Motocross Freestyle, with breathtaking tricks such as flips performed at heights of up to three storeys high, is one the world's most dangerous sports. Robbie Maddison is one of the world's best in FMX.
But that is not enough for the 28-year-old Australian. Maddison is always looking for even greater thrills and has completed a number of spectacular jumps that would have made pioneering stuntman Evel Knievel proud. In 2007 and 2008 Maddison set three world records for distance all the way to 107 metres (350 feet). In 2009 he celebrated New Year's Eve in Las Vegas by jumping up 30 metres onto the Arc de Triomph in front of Paris Las Vegas and then descended off the monument to ground level. Last year pictures of him jumping the Tower Bridge over the Thames River with a backflip while the drawbridge was open went around the world.
Many Motocrossers have wanted to jump across the Corinth Canal, which was built in 1893. But the Australian was the first to succeed. He sped his Honda 500 up through a turn-filled approach past a pool, across a soccer pitch and past a chicken coop to a speed of 125 km/h. On Thurday morning he accelerated up a ramp over the canal some 80 metres below and landed safely on a mound set up on the other side of the canal. At his apogee Maddison was 95 metres above the canal's surface.
Maddison said getting the approach right despite the constantly changing surfaces – from grass to concrete to wood to asphalt again and then carpet – was difficult enough but there was greater hurdle to the jump: "Overcoming fear, that's always the hardest part," Maddison said.
"Maddo" will travel straight from Greece to Mexico City for the season opener of the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour. Maddison was second overall last year and aims to win the title this year.