The brand new Metzeler MC 360 tire, which will be available in April, already boasts three world records.
Last weekend, the tires went through the final stage of the test, which challenged it with extreme trials at the Nevado Ojos del Salado volcano, located at the border between Argentina and Chile. At 22,615 feet, it is the highest volcano in the world. The MC 360 was paired with the Honda Africa Twin and CRF450RX and captured three records:
1) From zero to 5,900 meters (19,357 feet) above sea level in less than 24 hours
2) 5,960 meters (19,554 feet) as maximum height for a twin-cylinder motorcycle
3) 5,977 meters (19,610 feet) as maximum height reached with a motorcycle in less than 24 hours
The team of this record expedition was composed of Salvo Pennisi, Metzeler’s Head of Testing Department, Carlo Fiorani, Honda’s Head of Racing Communications, the industry journalists Francesco Catanese and Karsten Schwers, and Fabio Mossini, the enduro champion now part of the Honda Sud America team.
The first record set was a real team victory: Francesco Catanese, Fabio Mossini, and Karsten Schwers riding Honda Africa Twins, and Salvo Pennisi riding alternately both the Africa Twin and the CRF450RX. The second success was an individual record claimed by Fabio Mossini, who managed to bring his Honda Africa Twin to 19,554 feet above sea level, the highest level ever reached with a twin-cylinder motorcycle. The third record was set by Metzeler’s Head of Testing. Riding the CRF450RX, he set the record for the highest climb above sea level ever reached by a motorcycle, bringing his single-cylinder Honda to 19,610 feet in 22 hours and 40 minutes. This achievement came after a challenging climb to reach the Atacama hut at 17,060 feet when riding the Africa Twin.
The adventure in Chile represented the final and most severe testing of the new MC 360. It was aimed at assessing the tires level of performance, wear, versatility, and resistance to tearing in extreme conditions, with temperatures ranging from +40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) in the desert of Copiapó down to -15 (5 degrees Fahrenheit) in the Andes.
The record climb started on February 24 in Copiapò, the capital of the Atacama region, in Chile. Things were made even tougher by the challenge to reach the extreme height in 24 hours without the support of oxygen.
Following five days of mandatory naturalization at increasing heights, where one of the riders and one of the technicians supporting the team were forced to give up due to increasing symptoms of acute altitude sickness, the team left from the Pacific shore at Bahia Inglesa on March 3. After a challenging 186-mile ride through all kind of asphalts, screes, dirts, endless stretches of sand, and deep mud pits, the team reached the base camp of Laguna Verde at 14,108 feet.
On the morning of March 4, at -5 degrees Celsius (23 degrees Fahrenheit), the team left to climb toward the top of the volcano. From the Murray hut, after an exhausting ride to reach the Atacama hut at 17,060 feet, the four riders went through the toughest step.
Following a dramatic climb to the Tejos hut, 19,150 feet above sea level, and after riding through stretches of sand and ice sheets, the group had to deal with an unpleasant surprise: at 19,357 feet there are some impenetrable icy patterns, also known as “penitentes.” Such patterns, typical in this kind of area with very strong wind, were obstructing the chance of climbing any higher.
This is when Fabio Mossini and Salvo Pennisi decided to accept the challenge posed by the volcano. Luck supports the braves, and Fabio Mossini, on the Africa Twin supported by the MC 360 tires, managed to reach 19,554 feet to set the record for twin-cylinder motorcycles. Salvo Pennisi managed to bring his CRF450RX to 19,610 feet and set the absolute record of height ever reached by a motorcycle in 24 hours.
To learn more about the expedition and the new MC 360, visit www.metzeler.com.
Text and Photography: Metzeler
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