There’s downhill and then there’s down hill…
Markus Stoeckl – World Record in Nicaragua >>
A new world speed record for serial mountain bikes on gravel was set by the 36-year-old Austrian Markus Stoeckl on a volcano in Nicaragua when he hit 164.95 km/h and eclipsed the record set nine years ago by Eric Barone of France, who was on hand to witness the feat as the organizer.
LEON (Nicaragua) – Nine years ago Eric Barone of France set the world speed record for serial as well as prototype bicycles with a set of spectacular runs down the Cerro Negro volcano in Nicaragua. But a horrific crash there on the black slope as he was slowing down after setting the record abruptly ended his career.
In the spring of 2011, the 50-year-old Frenchman returned to the scene of what was both his greatest triumph and horrible accident. But this time Barone,! who is still marked by the crash, returned not as an active participant but rather as the organizer for a record-breaking attempt by Markus Stoeckl, who came to Nicaragua already holding the world record on snow. The Austrian is called “Hercules” in the mountain biking community because of his imposing size — he stands 190 cm and weighs 103 kg. He had already set the record on snow of 210.4 km/h in Chile in 2007.
The 550-meter long track for the current record attempt on gravel on the still active volcano Cerro Negro in Nicaragua led directly from the rim of the crater to the base. “The surface is like riding down a 45-degree beach of sand and pebbles. Only once you hit higher speeds is it possible to ride with some stability,” said Stoeckl. He gradually moved up higher towards the rim of the crater with a series of training runs and then broke the record on his first attempt – if only just. He was clocked at 164.95 km/h – just 1 km/h faster! than Barone, who was the first to congratulate him in the finish area . “Riding this fast under these conditions is definitely at the limit,” said the dethroned record holder. The new world record holder would agree with that. “Hercules” Stoeckl, who travels the world as an event manager and leads the “MS Evil Racing Team”, has tasted blood. But he wants to make a run at the record for prototypes somewhere else and not on the black mountain in Nicaragua!