Not content with setting insane speed records on snow, Austrian daredevil Max Stöckl has just hit a jaw-dropping 167.6kph on gravel in the Atacama Desert, Chile
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The Red Bull rider, 42, chose a Mondraker Summum Carbon Pro Team for his latest record attempt, fitted with Fox Performance Elite forks with 205mm travel up front and a Fox DHX2 Factory Kashima shock out back with 222x70mm of travel.
While crashing at these kinds of speeds on the harsh gravel of the Atacama Desert is always going to hurt, Stöckl was wearing a specially-made protective suit similar to those worn by downhill skiers, which inflates in the event of a crash like a car airbag, and a self-made helmet in two parts.
He started off at 3,972m of altitude, setting off down a 45-degree slope – equivalent to a 100 percent gradient.
His run lasted 1,200m and it took him took 11 seconds, or 650m, to reach his top speed.
“It was so exhausting, even though the ride only lasted for 20 seconds,” said Stöckl afterwards.
“I just can’t express the feeling in words. Even if you know it is only going to be 10 or 15 km/h quicker than the last training run — standing up on the summit of the mountain, looking down and feeling the adrenaline was a very moving moment!”
It took the rider two years of intensive preparations before he was ready to make the journey to Chile, travelling with a six-person support team.
His previous top speed on gravel of 164.95kph was recorded down the volcanic cone of Cerro Negro in Nicaragua back in 2011.
Both these speeds are dwarfed by his all-time top speed of more than 210kph on snow in the Chilean Andes back in 2007.
So what are his plans now he’s broken his own gravel record? “Now I want to go home to see my family and see my daughter grow up!”