Two of South Africa’s longest surviving amateur stuntmen will attempt to break one of the most dangerous Guinness World Records at the Midvaal Raceway near Meyerton this Saturday.
The record in question is the Longest Quadbike Ride Through a Tunnel Of Fire, which has stood at 25 metres since 2012. The Citizen Motoring’s very own Motorsport Editor, Andre de Kock, 65, of Alberton and Enrico Schoeman, 61, from Boksburg will attempt to ride through a 50-metre fire tunnel this Saturday, both on board a 400cc quadbike.
The pairing already collectively hold the Guinness World Record for the Longest Motorcycle Ride Through a Tunnel of Fire at 120m, set during the 2014 Rhino motorcycle rally in Parys in 2014. The quadbike attempt at Midvaal will be the grand finale of this weekend’s Paragon motorcycle rally at the circuit. Schoeman and De Kock have been preparing for the record attempt the last two years.
“The problem is budget, or the lack thereof,” Schoeman said. “We are not wealthy people, and we could certainly not afford to fund the attempt ourselves. “Thus, we are dependent on the goodwill of sponsors and the assistance of friends, who were part of the success story at the motorcycle record setting. “They have all come aboard again when we mooted the idea of the quadbike world record.”
The intrepid record chasers had to find three-layer fire retardant racing overalls, crash helmets, boots, gloves, about a ton of steel square tubing with which to build the tunnel, hundreds of kilograms of paper and cardboard for the sides, plus 200 litres of diesel and 150 litres of petrol to burn.
“The quadbike itself is a very second hand 400cc, single-cylinder machine – that was all we could afford,” Schoeman said. The pairing has fire-proofed the vehicle at home, by wrapping its electric systems in heat-retardant tape. Temperatures inside the tunnel will rise above 9000C, which also means that the two riders dare not breathe during the ride.
“One cannot see much insidethe fire, and we must certainly not ride into one of the sides – if we fall, our chances of survival will be very slim,” Schoeman said. “Once the tunnel burns and you decide to ride into it, the only way to survive is to ride out of the other side,” he added.
The Guinness World Records rules for this record state: “When you enter the tunnel, while you are inside the tunnel and when you exit the tunnel, the tunnel must be structurally intact, and fully on fire”.
To meet that requirement, Schoeman and De Kock will sit on the quadbike with the engine running at the tunnel mouth, while the structure is set alight. They will then wait until observers of both sides indicate the entire tunnel is burning, before riding into it. The two record chasers are hugely grateful for the use of the Midvaal circuit, where they will attempt the record in the pit straight at exactly 7pm on Saturday.
“We did some test runs in the car park of an East Rand casino, but when they saw what we were actually planning, their safety people started suffering huge stress, and we had to part ways,” De Kock said.
“We then approached Nino Venturi at the Midvaal circuit – he is a tough old motorsport warhorse who does not know how to stress. “He immediately said we could come and break the record on his turf – or tarmac, to be more precise,” De Kock added.
Venturi is delighted with the idea of the stunt. “We are planning for the Paragon Motorcycle Rally to end at 7pm on Saturday, and this will be an ideal way to conclude a weekend of adventure for the bikers,” he said.
The e.tv News team have indicated they will film the attempt, and the proceedings will also be live-streamed by legendary South African motorsport commentator Greg Moloney. To share the live stream, People must go on Facebook to Greg Moloney, and follow the prompts to Voice of Choice. For more information call the Midvaal circuit at 016 100 1572.