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World speed record broken

33 year-old Markus Stoeckl set a new world series speed record of 210.4 km/h (130.7 mph) at the La Parva run in Chile's Alps on September 14 at 11:18 am. The old record was 23 km/h (14 mph) slower and recorded eight years ago.

Stoeckl, who is nicknamed "Hercules" for his 100 kg (220 pound), 1.9 m (6 foot, 4 inch) frame races regular downhill races and runs the World Cup team MS Intense Racing. He set his record on a newly renovated 2,000m run with a 45 degree slope despite challenging conditions. South America's spring weather had melted much of the snow on the track until it was just a narrow strip between bare mountain cliffs. He flew to Chile on short notice after hearing of recent renovations to the track.

Unfortunately, Stoeckl's special aerodynamic helmet's visor fogged up easily, so he had to hold his breath for the 40 second run to prevent fogging. "I knew that this would be my only chance," he said of his record run, which went off without a hitch other than forgetting his racing shoes and having to do his record attempt in his street shoes.

"At the end of the run, I had the feeling that I was somehow watching the run myself," said Stoeckl, who said he will try to break other records. Fernando Habash, who is in charge of the La Parva ski resort, has promised he will have a course suitable for records set up.

Baronè and Christian Taillefer were two Frenchmen who competed to set various world speed records in the French Alps in the 1990s. They raced in rubber suits and wore aerodynamic helmets with spoilers attached to their bodies while riding machines barely recognizable as bikes.

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