The day Markus ‘Mad Max’ Stöckl clocked 167.6kph on a regular MTB
How the Austrian set about breaking a world record he already owned in the barren landscape of Chile’s Atacama Desert.
It was February 2017 when Markus ‘Mad Max’ Stöckl stood at the top a 1,200m descent in the Atacama Desert in Chile.
Already, he boasted the landspeed world record for mountain biking with a seemingly unfathomable top speed of 164.95kph. The ambition was to go faster still.
And bedecked in an aerodynamic helmet and figure-hugging bright-red suit, he did that, clocking a speed of 167.6kph.
The master plan:
Stöckl had already been setting a variety of speed records for more than 20 years, but decided he wanted to go faster still.
And two years before he stepped off his Chilean precipice, he began planning for the latest speed venture.
Everything had to be tested in a wind tunnel to investigate both his best position on the bike and also the best attire for going faster than anyone before.
Wearing an aerodynamic carbon fibre helmet, he also had a built-in airbag under his riding outfit to soften the blow of any potential high-speed accident.
His red suit had rubbers attached to the legs to aid the streamline effect, as well as a second helmet under the aero one for his protection.
Having prepared on snow runs in Austria, he had eight practice runs in Chile before going for the record, during which his heart rate hit in excess of 170 beats as he reached the record mark in just 11 seconds. All the more impressive, it was achieved on a bike with every component possible to buy from a regular bike store.
Is it possible that Stöckl might yet lower his own mark in the future? Of the current mark, he said: “It’s hard to reach top speed. After 160, each kph is a huge effort. If you want to reach a certain goal then you have to put it all in. Every extra kilometre per hour requires an enormous effort.”
But he has not been sitting idle. The following year, he tackled the notorious Die Streif slope in Austria, clocking a speed of 106km/h in the snow on two wheels.
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