Andrei Burton did just turn 34 yesterday, and he celebrated himself by releasing a video clip from one of the gnarliest stunts ever done on a (trials) bike.
Many people have the guts to do a high risk gap, but with the added techincal difficulties of a sketchy takeoff (that’s probably going to break off soon), this is just in a league of its own. And not to forget: He did this without any safety harness. Fortunately he wore his helmet, and in a standard Andrei Burton fashion, he took his shirt off. And that’s probably enough for the legend he is.
Bashguardian asked Andrei some questions to get some insightful details of the stunt and how his crazy brain is wired…
First of all, how did you find the place?
I was living in Macau for while, performing a big show called Elekron for a casino called Studio City. While I was there I got into road cycling a little, and I used it to explore the islands, and also tow my trials bike on the back.
I’ve always wanted to find a building like this, and one day I happened to come across it, and it was actually a stones throw away from my apartment. I was staying just the other side of those trees in the background of the shot.
Tell us about the process from looking at the jump to actually doing it.
I’m a professional. When I’m working for a show, whether it’s a bike show or Ninja Warrior, I don’t try anything too crazy. I had found this building weeks before I took my bike there to do it. I waited until after my contract had finished and I knew that I could do what I wanted.
I had been up there and looked at it and decided I was going to do it. Then I actually checked it and tried to pace out the gap, and decide if it was ok to do. It was like 2.6 meters or so, knowing I can do more than three meters, I figured it should be fine. The worst part was setting up on that edge. I think it adds to craziness of it, and the mental challenge.
The jump is very high risk, but it has a sketchy takeoff and landing too. How did you manage to stay calm and do it so perfectly?
You see, this is the thing: For me the challenge isn’t really the gap itself. Many riders have the capability to clear the gap. For me it’s about having the mental presence and capacity to keep yourself relaxed in the situation and be as rational as possible.
I’ve ridden trials for 20 years now, I know what I’m capable of. Of course, I would never ever expect anyone else to put themselves in a situation like this. I like free climbing and high wall bouldering, and this is just the same, Only with a bike, there is way more that can go wrong than when you’re climbing.
The consequences of a snapped chain or any other technical issues with the bike would be quite fatal. Did you think about that before you jumped?
Yes, of course. This is always a possibility. Actually, ten minutes before this, I snapped a spoke on a warm up gap and it locked my back wheel up. If it had happened on that edge I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be here now. But I’m good at weighing things up. If I didn’t want to do it, I wouldn’t have done it.
It needs to be the right time for these things. You need to be in the right mental state. If I’m not in that state, I wouldn’t do it. Often people have said to me “Oh just try this” and I don’t do it, because I know I’m not in the right frame of mind.
Also, this isn’t the only thing I did that day, and I didn’t just do it once, you should ask Pierre Charles Thomas, haha. The one of the roof is probably worse, but I’ll save that for another video.
At last, before you kill yourself doing your next stunt, what’s up at the moment in the life of Andrei Burton?
My plans next are to keep enjoying my life and the opportunities that present themselves. I will continue working with Ninja Warrior and climbing. I have tons of footage from trips over the last few years that I will be putting up on YouTube soon. And I have some ideas for new videos which I will be working on in the summer. I can’t wait for the world to be back to normal!