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Two South African stuntmen have claimed a new world record at the Tarlton International Raceway near Krugersdorp.
On Monday night Enrico Schoeman and Andre de Kock powered their modified Kawasaki Z1000 motorcycle-sidecar combination through a 67.6m inferno to snatch the record for driving through a tunnel of fire from American stuntman Clint Ewing, who set the previous mark of 60,96m riding solo on a Suzuki superbike in Los Angeles on January 27, 2008.
The spectacular attempt, deemed too dangerous to be held at various public venues by Ekurhuleni health and safety officials, went off without a hitch. Once the diesel and petrol-soaked cardboard and steel structure was ignited by a pyrotechnics expert, there was a small window of opportunity for the pair to make it through. Guiness World Record rules require the entire tunnel to be burning from the time of entry to the time of exit.
With the flames reducing visibility inside the tunnel to almost zero, professional photographer Schoeman had to remain focused on a white line drawn down the middle of the inferno to keep the three-wheeled racing machine from smashing through the flaming walls with devastating consequences.
The crowd held their breath for several seconds while all that could be heard from within the crackling tunnel was the reassuring scream of the Kawasaki’s engine. Then, to a roar of approval, they blasted out the other side in a shower of sparks.
A victory “doughnut” added a last puff of smoke before the relieved pair punched the air in victory. When asked what it was like, motorsport journalist De Kock said it was “hot”. Still limping from a severe burn sustained while preparing for the event, De Kock went on to say he could have “held on a bit longer”.
Did this mean a further attempt was in the offing?
“We’ll wait for the official ratification from Guinness first”, said De Kock, who once also strapped himself to Tarlton Raceway owner Mick van Rensburg’s jet dragster in an attempt to become the world’s fastest passenger.