Shimano test-rider Markus Stoeckl has set a new world speed record for series mountain bikes at La Parva in the Chilean Alps. The 33 year-old reached 210.4 km/h (130mph), destroying the eight-year-old record by 23 km/h (14 mph).
Speedbikes on snow are the world's fastest vehicles without propulsion and in the 1990s Frenchmen Eric Baronè and Christian Taillefer, set a series of world speed records as they sped down the French Alps on futuristic projectiles that had only a
passing resemblance to bicycles.
The only racer who came even close to keeping up with the French duo was Stoeckl who, because he could not afford an expensive prototype at the time, rode in the series bike class. He set a world record of 187.013 km/h in that category at Les Arcs in 1999. Eric Baronè's record in the prototype class of 222 km/h has stood since it was set at the same time. After that, interest in France dropped off, and since then Stoeckl has taken part in "normal" downhill races, founded his own company, and set up his own World Cup team MS Intense Racing. He was on an assignment in Portugal
when he found out that the old speed track in La Parva, Chile was being renovated. Seven days later on Friday, September 14 Stoeckl was standing at the highest-possible starting point on the 2km, 45 degree-angle La Parva track.
The conditions for the record attempt were far from ideal as springtime weather had melted away much of the snow alongside the piste, shrinking it to a narrow strip and thus making it impossible to gradually raise the starting point for test runs.
Additionally, because his helmet visor kept fogging up, Stoeckl was
forced to hold his breath for the 40-second run. "I knew that this would be my only chance," he said. The record run, however, went off without a hitch (watch here) and the Austrian now wants to try to break the other records set by Eric Baronè.