If you’ve ever come to a water-crossing on your dirt bike and thought, hey that’s just to deep for a motorbike, well think again. It seems the impossible has become possible, and a man has set a world record by driving across Italy’s Lake Como, here’s a look at how he pulled it off.
How does one drive across the water you ask?! Well if Jesus could walk it, then I’m sure we must have evolved enough to bike it. Daredevil Luca Colombo of Italy set off from the shores of Gravedona at 9:38 am, whizzing at about 40-knots or somewhere around 45-MPH, crossing 20-meters of water per second on his Suzuki. He hit the other side at 9:43 am, five, never wracking minutes later.
Colombo was interviewed afterward and noted that he had two obstacles to overcome while trying to make it across. The first was hitting the water fast enough to start hydroplaning to avoid being fished off the bottom of the lake. The second was that during his ride some people were water-skiing in the same path he was headed. To deal with the small wake in the water, he had to slow down and stand-up on the bikes paddles. Once he was over the obstacle, he just hit the throttle again and kept going.
A Few Modifications
Just encase you are picturing a ride across Lake Michigan on your KTM 990 over the weekend, there are a few things you might need to do to pull it off. The motorcycle was a Suzuki 450 / 4T that had been modified with the help of Carlo Gelmi, the guy who instrumental in bringing the Yamaha Electric R6E to realization. Also with a hand in the bikes operation was Giorgio Lumini, whose efforts had previously been lent to the motors of a number of world championship races. It’s good to work with the right team.
There were modified skis fit around the front and rear tires to help keep up the buoyancy, I know, I know, I was hoping he just pulled off the highway and kept going too. The rear tire was a rubber paddle style tire, similar to those you see on sand-bike racers. The deep, wide treads with scoops in them provide as much traction as possible on the water. You’d probably want to make sure you had them balanced first. Ohh, and there was even the engineers’ secret weapon around the fuel tank opening, duct tape.
There are some different videos out there, and the first one I watched was a grainy shot from the speed boat, so I was sure it was some fake images someone made in their bathtub. Then I found some quality footage, and personally, I think it looked more like fun then death-defying, though I might feel differently had I been the one on the bike.
*Spoiler alert. Like watching Indy racers on a Sunday afternoon, I secretly hoped for a dramatic failure where I could watch a little motorcycle life-vest spring into action while his Suzuki went flipping across Lake Como. Nope, you can watch it here. It appeared to be flawless.