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Maddison clears canal

4/9/2010

Australian freestyle motocross star Robbie Maddison jumped the
279-foot wide Corinth Canal in Greece on Thursday, at a height of
more than 300 feet above the water.

Maddison rode his Honda 500 through a turn-filled approach past
a pool, across a soccer field and past a chicken coop to a speed of
78 mph on Thursday. He accelerated up a ramp and flew across the
canal and landed safely on a mound set up on the other side.
Maddison was 311 feet above the canal's surface at the height of
his jump, sponsored by Red Bull.

Maddison said it was difficult enough getting the approach right
despite the constantly changing surfaces, from grass to concrete to
wood to asphalt and then carpet.

He also had to deal with nerves.

"Jumping across the Corinth Canal has become in my mind a
challenge I just could not resist," he said. "This jump involved
the highest consequences I have faced so far, so the first obstacle
I had to overcome was my fear. I believe you have to take risks in
life to become wiser, and facing a challenge like this will help
get me ready for the next feat I will face. I am thrilled I managed
to pull it off. As you know, there is only one opportunity to get
it right."

Maddison is best known for two death-defying jumps in Las Vegas
as part of Red Bull's New Year's No Limits series.

On New Year's Eve 2007, Maddison broke the Guinness World Record
with a jump of 322 feet, 7½ inches. A year later, Maddison jumped
his bike up 120 feet and landed atop a 96-foot high scale version
of the Arc de Triomphe at Paris Las Vegas. He then dropped 50 feet
onto a landing ramp and stayed on his bike, although he hit his
hand hard, causing a bloody laceration.

In July, Maddison did a no-handed back flip over the open span
on London's Tower Bridge.