Austrian Markus Stoeckl has set a new world speed record for serial mountain bikes on gravel. The 36-year-old hit 164.95 km/h on a volcano in Nicaragua.
In doing so, Stoeckl bettered the record of Frenchman Eric Barone set nine years ago down the Cerro Negro volcano in Nicaragua. A horrific crash for Barone as he was slowing down having set the record ended his career abruptly. Barone returned to the scene of both his greatest triumph and his career-ending accident as the organiser of Stockl's record attempt.
Stoeckl, known as “Hercules” in mountain biking circles because of his imposing figure at 190cm tall and weighing 130kg, had already set the record on snow of 210 km/h in Chile in 2007. The 550 metre-long track for his gravel record attempt stretched from the rim of the crater of the active volcano to the base.
“The surface is like riding down a 45-degree beach of sand and pebbles,” said Stockl. “Only once you hit higher speeds is it possible to ride with some stability.”
After a series of practice runs, Stockl broke the record with his first attempt – alebit only 1 km/h faster than Barrone's previous benchmark.
“Riding this fast under these conditions is definitely at the limit,” said Barone, who was the first to congratulate Stoeckl.
Having taken the serial record, Stoeckl now wants to attempt to break the record for prototypes somewhere else.