How long do you think it takes to travel from Europe to Asia? Hours? In Aussie stunt rider, Robbie Maddison’s case, just 90 seconds, one way.
The stunt rider has been riding on water for some years now, but this time, he set about snagging a record. That record is becoming the first person to ride his motorbike from Europe to Asia and back again across water.
Of course, this claim comes with a lot of asterisks and fine print. To achieve the feat, Maddison chose the closes point between the continents of Europe and Asia. That’s the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul, Turkey. It separates the European and Asian parts of Turkey’s capital city, Istanbul. In fact you can even see Turkey's iconic Hagia Sophia mosque and landmark in the background.
While the strait is 32 kilometers long, it’s only 730 meters at its narrowest point. It connects the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara.
While it’s less than a kilometer across, it can still be quite dangerous, being one of Europe’s busiest waterways and anywhere from 30 – 120 meters deep. Around 48,000 ships pass through the strait each year, three times as many as the Suez Canal and four times as many as the Panama Canal.
To accomplish the stunt, Maddison’s team had to stop shipping traffic along the straight for the few minutes it took to do the crossing.
To ride on water, Maddison used a specially-prepared KTM fitted with skis and paddle tires. He had to maintain a speed of 70 km/h just to stay afloat. Special ramps were also constructed on both banks to safely enter and exit the water.
Besides the new World Record, the stunt was also performed for an advertisement for the Big Bold line of Algida ice cream. All-in-all it took Maddison 90 seconds to cross from Ortaköy (on the European side of Istanbul) to Beylerbeyi (on the Asian side). The total time for the round trip was 3 minutes. Best of all, since they’re both in the same city, there was no need for passport control or immigration.
If you think the bike looks familiar, that’s because this was not Maddison’s first stunt on water. In 2015, DC shoes and Robbie Maddison released Pipe Dream, a video that shows Maddison riding his modified bike on big waves just like a surfer would.
Maddison was also a stunt rider for the James Bond film, No Time to Die, responsible for that ridiculously high jump over castle walls on a Triumph Scrambler. Before that, he was smashing distance and height jump records on land.
It doesn’t look like Maddison has any plans on stopping soon. Perhaps he should think of making a production version of his bike that can ride on water.