Vespa bungee jump | FEATURE
Austrian stuntman, Günter Schachermayr aims to ride his Vespa to the troposphere… after conquering his fear of heights.
Many scooter riders like a bit of adrenaline, pushing an ageing scooter beyond its limits for hours on end. Making it do things it shouldn’t and waiting for that inevitable seize. All that is small fry compared to what Austrian scooter stuntman, Günter Schachermayr gets up to. One of his most recent stunts makes Jimmy’s Quadrophenia Beachy Head scene seem tame in comparison. A 315 foot bungee jump strapped to a Vespa…
Mission Troposphere 4150
Even though this bungee stunt seems slightly crazy it’s only small fry compared to what Günter is preparing to do soon. In what Günter says will be “The most crazy motorcycle stunt of all time” he’ll be tackling ‘Mission Troposphere 4150.’
The troposphere is the lowest level of the earths atmosphere, it’s the place where all the clouds hang out and also where the weather happens so things can get a bit hairy up there. Günter plans to ride a Vespa up there along a steel cable, which will be held by a Black Hawk helicopter. Then he’ll parachute back to earth. No biggie.
Günter says “Mission Troposphere 4150 will take place in New Mexico Space Airport in the USA. In this mission, I will ride upright on a steel cable to a height of 4150 metres. After reaching the maximum driving distance, I will parachute from the bike and land safely on the ground”.
Before he tackles the big one Günter Schachermayr needed to tackle his fear of heights so last month he chucked himself and his Vespa off a popular bungee jumping bridge in Austria.
Bungee jump data
Location: Jauntalbrücke, Carinthia, Eis81, 9113 Ruden, Austria
Height: 315 feet
Date: 15th September 2016
- Bungee rope with over 1600 fine rubber bands lined up on a bundle
- Acceleration comparable with Formula 1 of 0-100kmh in just a few tenths of a second
- Vespa body stiffening tubes as well as knot plates welded to stop the Vespa body tearing
- Racing suit with protectors to minimise the impacts of a nearly 100kg bungee ropes rebound
- Highest precision at jump-off necessary since the rope can be strangulated by itself if it gets out of control
To make a Vespa body suitable for bungee took us 11 months of work and testing. I didn’t want my accelerating force to be more than 3.5G, or for me to crash through the Vespa legshield causing me life-threatening injuries. For this reason, all fixings were welded directly to the Vespa body.
My main problem is the same as always during this type of stunt, I hate massive heights and I have to get my head around it. For this Bungee Stunt I also needed to reduce my body weight urgently, the bungee rope was specially made for me and the weight of me and the scooter had to be right. In addition, on the day of the stunt we had a very high air temperature of over 30 degrees C, which meant the still untested bungee cable was thermally at its limits.
I was completely equipped with the technology we needed by the organiser, Graben Gerhard (Jauntal Brücke operator) and everything was set. There were no permits granted for this very dangerous stunt! The bridge was closed for about two hours approximately before they let our party go up there. The time was not as I planned it, which mentally messed things up. I had to take a break and think about the jump again. I didn’t want to jump.
A team of supporters prepared me to try the stunt. Finally I ventured out again on the bridge, they sat me on the Vespa, strapped me in and after that I guessed there was no way back. I had a personal attendant constantly on my side who never let me out of his sight. Now the bungee team from Gerhard Grabner went through all the safety checks.
Then came the countdown “5-4-3-2-1- bungeeeee…”
I accelerated as fast as a Formula 1 car, so hard that my brain pushed into the helmet. I didn’t know what was happening for a few seconds. I was disorientated, I could hardly move, I was just holding myself in fear. Only after I jumped up again during the rebound I knew I did everything right and was still alive. Then I was brought by a rescue boat down to the water in the right position so the Vespa landed safely on two wheels.
Finally there was champagne from the organisers for the very special Vespa Bungee Jump and I’d conquered another part of my fear in preparation for my Mission Troposphere
If you want to follow the progress of Günter Schachermayr his website can be found here: www.guenter-schachermayr.at