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One of the world's riskiest records has been taken by two South Africans.
On Friday evening (10 August) photographer Enrico Schoeman (55) and motorsport journalist Andre de Kock (58) rode their Kawasaki-powered Australian sidecar through a fire tunnel of 103.9 metres on the main road between Vaalwater and Ellisras in Limpopo, which was closed for the occasion.
The previous record for riding a motorcycle through a fire tunnel was set by Indian Superbike rider Shabir Ahluwalia in Mumbai, India, on 13 March 2011at 68.49 metres.
De Kock said: “We've been obsessed with this fire-tunnel project for the last two years, always saying that we would stop when we reached 100 metres. Now we've done it, and I'm stopping while I'm still walking upright.”
The 104-metre fire tunnel was constructed from square steel tubing, draped in several layers of cardboard. It was doused in diesel and petrol and set on fire by a series of pyrotechnic explosions. Once it was properly alight, Schoeman and De Kock rode through the ensuing inferno.
Both riders and their machine caught fire in the process.
Schoeman said: “Before we were halfway, I could feel I was burning, while the motorcycle was on fire, full scale.
“Ï just kept the throttle open, aiming in the direction where I could last see the white line on the road.
“I could see absolutely nothing but flames, and I hoped like hell we were pointing in the right direction,”
“As we finally exited, the night sky was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen,” he added.
Both riders suffered slight burns, while the plastic trim on their crash helmets melted.
Proof of the record will be submitted to the Guinness Book of World Records in London this week. for official ratification.