Bike stunt rider Matt Macduff, seven years after the Loop of Doom left him with 13 fractured bones

Originally published at: Bike stunt rider Matt Macduff, seven years after the Loop of Doom left him with 13 fractured bones | Boing Boing


Looks like it was a short journey.


Sure seems like something the maths, and if need be a test dummy bike, could’ve forecast any likelihood of insufficient velocity to overcome gravity (and possibly even modeled the subsequent cost in hospital) [shrug emoji]

So likely an apt place to re-re-visit the loop-de-loop suicide ride, or Euthanasia Coaster, design



I believe the issue was that he wasn’t able to hold the line through the loop, not that the physics weren’t right. He flies out the side of the loop partway around.


Ouch. This is why I never did stunts.


I’ve read that sentence several times and still can’t quite make heads or tails of it.


You are not alone. I’ve tried to read it several times and, like Matt Macduff, I keep loosing my line halfway through.


I don’t understand why they didn’t build a safety harness rig anchored to the apex of the loop.


Reminds me of that stuntman from one of the early Simpsons episodes:



It fractured my brain in 13 places.


Yup. That failure Definitely could have been modeled. Being an engineer, I can just look at it and see the enormous amount of g’s that probably super compressed him to the point of pushing him down SO hard on the bike and pushing his elbows down so far so not having any ability to control steering in any way…

Also? That’s an odd very pointy loop. Lots of fast, differing transitions for G inputs with LOTS of variables. Without ANY sort of steering assist on the bike to dampen, slow, or modify the steering inputs, ALL of the transitions would have done…odd / differing inputs to the through line…

Most OTHER people might have had layers of opened cardboard boxes over mattresses or…something around the possible bail out / fail / hit spots to be able to have absorbed SOME of the impact.

If you haven’t planned for the possible failure points, you haven’t planned at all…

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Is it? Looks very much like a clothoid loop to me, which is what what’s used on most modern roller coasters. You’d never want to use a constant-radius loop for something like this. Clothoids allow for less g-force as you loop around, not more.



Apparently he ended up landing on the track leading into the loop (which was dirt they’d intentionally compressed down), so he’d have needed people chucking mattresses on there as soon as he rode past. Not that he had any form of padding anywhere.
I remember a video of someone building a much smaller loop (for a BMX I think?) which then went to a ramp into a lake, and they covered it in mattresses, with people moving them out of the way as the rider came down, then shoving them back into place. They spent at least a day practising though, whereas it sounds like Matt MacDuff had ended up in a situation where by the time they’d finished building it, he only had about an hour to ride it before they left South Africa. So he ended up just sending it, with no practise or warm-up runs.

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