Many people will remember the rush of standing at the top of their first quarter or half pipe, ready to drop in. Through trial and repeated error that fear can be overcome, but what does it feel like to face your first full pipe?
Only a select few have ever attempted the loop the loop, often with disastrous results, but here for your viewing pleasure are our five favourite riders who conquered both their fear and gravity in upside down style.
Before we begin the list of our top five loop the loops, it’s important to give a nod to the home grown heroes who, without the backing of corporate funded and scientifically designed mega ramps, have just decided to give it a go.
These unsung heroes have performed to tiny audiences on ramps built in their back gardens all, we can only assume, in the interests of humour.
But they have proved that it’s not the quantity of money behind you or the amount of skin left on your face that matters. It’s the spirit of adventure and a can do attitude which makes humanity so darn inspiring and entertaining.
Without these guys there would be no scale to measure success by. Their plucky attempts remind us what is truly at stake when a rider steps up to face the full pipe, and in a sense they are a success in themselves.
Plenty of people wouldn’t have the guts to try some of these crazy stunts in the first place. These have-a-go-heroes are a great reminder that some people won’t put up with the tyranny of gravity – at least once they’ve regained consciousness anyway.
1. Hear The Thunder
As with all of the hits on this list, this loop the loop has to be seen to be believed. Deep in the Wyoming countryside, five insane BMX Riders (Sebastian Keep, Mike “Hucker” Clark, Morgan Wade, Cameron Wood and Matt Beringer) head down to a giant drainage pipe buried in a hillside.
After sessioning the pipe for a while the moment of reckoning is finally at hand. In a scene ripped straight out of an 80s kids’ movie there’s a crack of thunder and Morgan Wade takes this as his cue and starts cranking towards his buddies, all artfully silhouetted against the light at the end of the tunnel.
Taking a picture perfect line our hero loops 16 ft over the other rider’s heads in a show stopping moment that would make ET’s special effects department weep. No wires, no cgi just good old fashioned gumption – take that Spielberg!
2. Double the Fun
“Four wheels are good, but eight wheels are better”, seems to be the Hot Wheels mantra. And after watching this clip it looks like they might be right.
For the 2012 X Games in Los Angeles the crazed toy manufacturers created the Double Loop Dare, a metal loop six stories high with two lead in ramps and only one way out.
Thankfully with the likes of Tanner Foust and Greg Tracy on hand, throwing two cars around the loop at the same time came off without a hitch and the childhood excitement of toy cars defying gravity was replicated in full scale.
However, a quick glance at the behind the scenes documentary shows how differently it could have gone.
During a test run at the El Toro Airbase in Irvine California, the Hot Wheels team decide to try out the loop with a remote controlled drone car.
Climbing the first wall of the ramp everything looks like it’s going well until, with a sickening crunch, the remains of the vehicle come spinning out along the bottom of the loop. What was going through Tanner and Greg’s mind at this point is anyone’s guess but it only makes the Double Loop Dare even more impressive.
3. Slippery Customers
You’ve seen the loop on both two and four wheels so what’s next? Washing up liquid and plastic of course!
Home made heroes Clint Walker and Clive Dixon, took slip and slide to the next level when they built a 12ft loop from the roof of their house. Despite this impressive effort the pair were lacking an essential element of every successful loop the loop – speed.
AFTER A COUPLE OF FAILED ATTEMPTS AND SOME SPILLED BLOOD IT WAS BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD
After a couple of failed attempts and some spilled blood it was back to the drawing board for Clint and Clive who came up with a solution that only sounds like it would make things worse, getting towed in by a pickup truck.
Despite the fragile nature of our heroes’ bodies and the loop’s new found taste for human blood, adding the power of a vehicle designed to move over 1000lbs of weight around worked surprisingly well and Clint and Clive sailed into You Tube stardom in style.
4. The Missing Link
Next up is one of the undisputed legends of the full loop, Bob Burnquist. Having already conquered both the loop the loop and full pipe the Brazilian pro skater decided to take things one step further.
Famous for his innovative style and ground-breaking tricks, the next logical step for Bob involved removing an 8ft section from the roof of the pipe. For most people this would seem like madness but for a man who freely admits to being inspired by computer games (he invented both the Samba flip and Christ air back flip) it made perfect sense.
Having created his masterpiece even Bob thought he had bitten off more than he could chew, but with the support of a home crowd and some truly gutsy commitment he nailed the trick and cemented his place in the history books once again.
5. Danny Mac Goes Big
It had been done on a bike before, but never in such a high profile fashion. Danny MacAskill made the full loop the centre piece of his 2013 magnum opus Imaginate.
Having done it once, he went on to do it again for a recent Microsoft ad campaign. I guess if you’ve got the skills you may as well use them to pay the bills eh?
6. The Human Hamster
Without the aid of an engine, wheels or even washing up liquid, free runner Damien Walters did what was previously thought impossible (though he has been doing that for some time now) and ran the first ever loop the loop on foot.
Having done ‘the science bit’ (complete with unsubtle product placement) Walters discovers that he needs to hit 8.65mph to conquer the 10ft loop and proceeds to pounds out the practice runs.
Even with a top speed of 17mph and his superhuman acrobatic skills the loop takes Damien a fair few attempts, putting it firmly in the ‘do not try this at home’ box.
Thankfully we all know that won’t stop everyone. Somewhere, somehow there are already mad creative geniuses working to push the boundaries and complete their next mind-blowing stunt for our viewing pleasure.