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Go behind the scenes of Luc Ackermann’s FMX Rhine Transfer video

Inside the Rhine Line: how champion FMX rider Luc Ackermann performed three world firsts in a single run for his spectacular FMX Rhine Transfer video.
Written by Paul Keith
4 min readPublished on
In a display of nerve, athletic verve and perfect control of his motocross bike, reigning FIM FMX World Champion and X Games gold medal winner Luc Ackermann unveiled three world firsts in his stunning new video project, FMX Unloaded.
Luc Ackermann made tracks for Duisburg, the world's largest inland port, and turned the Rhenus logistics stockyard, filled with containers, cranes, forklift trucks and tonnes of aggregates, into his personal FMX playground. The German rider incorporated the never-before-seen tricks with some stunning stunt riding and new takes and on existing FMX tricks.
Triumphant: Luc Ackermann celebrates in front of Cologne Cathedral
Triumphant: Luc Ackermann celebrates in front of Cologne Cathedral
Signature stunts in the video also include a Tsunami backflip, performed in central Cologne in front of the magnificent Gothic cathedral. Ackermann has to jump from one barge to another as they float on the Rhine and a breathtaking drop from a container into the barge’s hold. It all combines to create a jaw-dropping single flowing, and fearless run that raises the bar for FMX.
It took 18 months of hard work and dedication to turn Ackermann's Rhine Transfer dream into a reality. The end result is a stunning sequence of stunts and tricks captured on film by an expert team led by FMX veteran and stunt coordinator Busty Wolter and expert FPV drone pilot Paul Kuhn. Go behind the scenes and see how Ackermann, Busty and Paul pulled off the astonishing Rhine Line video.
Watch the video in the player above, and let’s take a closer look at five of the best tricks on show in the Rhine Line…

Backflip Bonk

A world's first, the Backflip Bonk involves planting the bike's rear-wheel on a container – while flying through the air upside-down! As the name suggests, there are two parts to the move, the backflip involves riding a 100kg bike up a ramp and into a 10m high backflip. While inverted, Ackermann brushes his rear wheel against the underside of a container suspended from a crane – the bonk. The move demands absolute precision: if the impact is too harsh, he might not have enough momentum to complete the backflip, and that means Ackermann would be in for a very rough landing.

The Framed Whip

Tipping the bike on its side as it soars through the air, the Whip is a classic motocross move that is part of any good FMX rider’s repertoire. But Ackermann gives the Whip a twist as he jumps between two containers suspended from a loading crane. In order to clear the distance and land safely, Ackermann has to judge the jump distance perfectly, but the containers block his view of the landing zone. So Ackermann is leaping into the unknown as he executes the trick with astonishing precision.

The sand curtain

Dwarfed by the huge cranes and containers, Ackermann produces another world premiere with the Sand Curtain – a 360 through a cascade of sand with no ramp. A handful of FMX riders worldwide have mastered the 360 – a complete sideways turn with the motorcycle angled parallel to the ground. Ackermann is a master of the trick, but the sand is a new twist. Dropping from an excavator shovel 15m above the ground, Ackermann has to perform the 360 while he and his bike are showered with sand. “The sand got everywhere,” said Ackermann after the shoot. “It even managed to seep down the back of my trouser into my underpants.”

The Drop

FMX pros often have to pull off a landing, but this Drop was especially challenging. Ackermann was launching from inside a container and then dropping down 10m almost vertically into the bottom of a barge. Revving his KTM deep inside the container, Ackermann has a very restricted view and no line of site to his landing spot. It’s a leap of faith. Add to the equation that Ackermann isn’t crazy about heights – you can see the tension etched on his face in the behind-scenes video – and you have another astounding trick.

The transfer

And finally, the signature part of the clip sees Ackermann jump ship, leaping from one massive barge to another as they sail past Gothic Cologne Cathedral. For the jump, Ackermann performs a Tsunami backflip, powering his KTM 25m into the air and dangling from the handlebars of his upside-down bike as it flies through the air. The trick is complicated because the huge barges are far from stable as they bob up and down on the Rhine – and they need to be kept a steady distance apart so that Ackermann lands in the right place.
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