Photo: Robbie Maddison racing an adapted bike along the canals of The Hague
Freestyle motocross rider Robbie Maddison is well known for his outrageous motorbike stunts - including his work on James Bond film Skyfall - with his latest project taking him to The Netherlands and 2018 Red Bull Knock Out.
- The Australian travelled to The Hague to take his dirt bike for a spin on the water as he made his way to the Red Bull Knock Out start in Scheveningen.
- The 37-year-old's unorthodox commute into the world's biggest beach race saw him zip along canals past a traditional Dutch windmill, a woman putting washing out on a line and some Asian tourists before he emerged out into the sea.
- It is the latest fun project from Maddison, who has broken world records as well as being the motorbike film stunt double for Daniel Craig in James Bond movie Skyfall and Vin Diesel in xXx: Return of Xander Cage.
- Now part of the new World Enduro Super Series (WESS), 2018 Red Bull Knock Out sees a mix of top motocross, enduro, rally raid and hard enduro riders gather on November 10 for the world's toughest beach race.
One of the toughest races in the world for motocross and enduro riders is now also the season finale of the World Enduro Super Series. Here's everything you need to know about Red Bull Knock Out.
The biggest and toughest beach race in the world returns to Scheveningen, in the Hague, Netherlands, on November 10. Red Bull Knock Out pits riders from motocross, enduro, hard enduro, and rally raid against each other on bottomless, constantly shifting sands of the Dutch seaside town.
Scheveningen will be invaded by 1,000 riders pumped up for an event that, this year, has been incorporated into the inaugural World Enduro Super Series (WESS). After five months of competition to find the ultimate enduro champion, it all comes down to Red Bull Knock Out, the series' finale.
The brutal beach race is the eighth and final round of the WESS, and will see riders go head-to-head on the shoreline of the North Sea. It's a popular race and all the entries were snapped up within an hour of going on sale in March.
All racers compete on a motorcycle of their choice, and, like every other event in the WESS, it's 100 percent independent with a uniformed points system applied.
The race, which is back after a year's absence, follows a knock-out style format, with two heats. The qualification round sees 1,000 participants split into two groups, with each racing for one hour. Of those, 250 riders will be eliminated. The finish order determines the starting position for the 750 remaining riders competing in the afternoon's final, which lasts two hours.
Sand-specialist riders will be strong favourites to stamp their authority on the Scheveningen beach front, making the battle to the finish line one of the most dramatic and exciting of the WESS competition.
Red Bull Knock Out has been running since 2006, and is a race with roots in both enduro and motocross. Beach racing circuits are typically more motocross orientated, but longer like enduro special stages – usually between three and five kilometres in length – and run over enduro-like durations of between one and three hours.
The nature of a race like Red Bull Knock Out means that it's tough on the riders and their bikes. The deep, constantly shifting sand surface is very physically to ride on, and sand particles can cause damage to sprockets, wheel bearings and chains, while the soft surface saps power and significantly increases the demand on engines and clutches.
Riders entering this year's competition will need to make sure their bikes are meticulously maintained in the run up to the event.
This year, the course has been moved towards the pier and closer to the fans, meaning more curves and jumps.
It starts with an incredibly fast two kilometre straight, before riders are faced with jumps and various obstacles. One is the Wall of Death, an almost vertical wall with a jump at the front; another is named the Mystery X loop, and will remain a secret to racers until the start of the race.
The course is also 200m shorter compared to the track used in 2016, but three hours of riding through loose sand, over bumps, and through sharp bends will exhaust riders in one of the most intense races around.
A guide to the riders competing in the World Enduro Super Series
Enduro stalwart Paul Bolton runs the rule over Nathan Watson, Cody Webb and the other riders taking part in the inaugural season of the World Enduro Super Series – get the lowdown on the action here.
Who should we expect to see at the front?
Previous winners of Red Bull Knock Out have included Belgian motocross world champion Steve Ramon and Dutch MXGP race winner Marc de Reuver. Newly crowned MXGP world champion Jeffrey Herlings won the race back in 2016, but he'll be giving this year's event a miss after a particularly hard-going season.
This year, there's more to play for, as the inaugural WESS champion will also be crowned. Front runners for the title include the UK's Billy Bolt, Germany's Manuel Lettenbichler, Spain's Josep García, as well as Wade Young, Graham Jarvis, and Paul Bolton.