The standard description of Robbie Maddison is ‘Aussie daredevil’, and it’s not hard to understand why.
After all, he has made a name for himself testing his outer limits and those of his motocross bikes in a series of one-off ‘misadventures’, which have propelled him into the pantheon of adventure sport practitioners.
And there’s still a lot more to come, we are told, in a variety of different locations. Antarctica perhaps? Don’t bet against it.
But while two wheels are his passion, Maddo has also developed a real appreciation for four wheels – and not skateboards, so Corbin Harris can rest easy.
It’s car racing, and spectators at this weekend’s 2011 Formula 1 Qantas Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne will bear witness to the latest chapter in his four-wheel immersion process when he lines up in the Red Bull Race Off against some premium stock – former F1 driver David Coulthard and compatriots Rick Kelly and Daniel Ricciardo. The quartet are all driving identical specially-prepared Renault Meganes.
The gulf in class between his last appearance at Albert Park – in 2008 when he dominated the Celebrity Challenge in a Fiat 500 – is enormous, but he’s not one to shy away from a challenge.
“This is a massive challenge for me, and I’m under no illusions that I’m up against some absolute guns,” said Maddo. “But this will certainly fast-track my skills, and I’ve certainly been involved in some more pressure situations than this.”
And he’s not stretching the truth on that score, as his achievements over the past few years include leaping over an American football field (98 metres); extending that record at Calder Park in Melbourne (104 metres); jumping onto and off (30 metres) the Arc de Triomphe replica in Las Vegas; back-flipping over the Tower Bridge in London; and launching himself over the Corinth Canal in Greece.
Those one-off heroics have really captured the public imagination, but it’s also easy to forget he also has a ‘day’ job – competing in the prestigious Red Bull X-Fighters freestyle motocross title.
X-Fighters will be making its first appearance in Australia this year at a location that’s still to be announced.
But it doesn’t concern Maddo, who’s just delighted that he will get to compete in front of a huge Aussie crowd – just like the one at Albert Park this weekend.
And if you see a driver getting some serious air, you won’t have to second-guess who the culprit is…