Stunt Junkies: Barge to Barge Backflip: Mike Metzger
TMBA is the New York animation studio that created the "physics behind the stunts" animations for Discovery Channels "Stunt Junkies" TV show. In this stunt Mike Metzger rides his motorcycle down a 100 foot barge- does a back flip off a 20 foot high ramp, flies 75 feet through the air and lands on the second barge landing ramp.
The idea was that two barges, one 100ft and the other 110ft would be anchored in the harbor. One barge with a take-off ramp and the other with a landing ramp. Although the distance is standard, there are several factors which are unpredictable. Because the barges are floating, it is impossible to keep them from moving. So as other boats go by, they cause wakes that cause the barges to go up and down. Another unknown is the amount of weight from Mike, the Bike and all the force going off the ramp causes. It would seem that a few hundred pounds would not make that much of a difference. Although it is un-proven, it is highly likely that the weight and the force of the bike as it is going up the ramp in 2nd gear could cause the barge to move.
However, while filming the jump Mike crashed. Mike hit the ramp as he has done thousands of times. Up until actually going off the ramp, Mike was not nervous one bit. However, as he was going off the ramp, he indicated to me that something did not feel right, almost as if the ramp threw him much higher than normal. So when Mike came around, he was way too high and way to far out. His back tire hit at the bottom of the ramp and his front tire hit the flat bottom.
Mike had surgery on his back. They placed two titanium rods in between L2 and L3. They also took a piece of his hip to fix the L4. A world of pain, some intensive surgery, two titanium rods in his back, and a dash of recovery time later and Mike is lucky to be riding (and ripping) again.