In a world full of publicity stunts, Red Bull absolutely takes the stunt cake. Red Bull has whole teams of athletes, skydivers, motorcycle riders, and race drivers that execute a seemingly endless array of stunts. They race. They climb. They execute stunts on the ground and in the air. And Red Bull teams with athletes and stunt men to stage some pretty off-the-wall, one-off stunts as well. It sponsors every kind of competition you can think of, from rally driving to mountain bike riding.
And money seems to be no object. When Red Bull staged a stratosphere parachute jump a few years back, the cost was said to run around $50 million. Some even claim that Red Bull’s annual marketing budget is in excess of $1 billion. But, as it sells some 5 billion cans of the drink per year, that $1 billion does not seem excessive.
In the energy drink marketing wars, Red Bull is heavily into stunts, while Monster goes for a lovely line-up of buxom, “Monster Girls” draped over car hoods or straddling bikes. It’s simply a matter of taste which you prefer. Guts and glory, or shapely bodies. Here are 15 of Red Bull’s most amazing, sometimes just entertaining stunts.
15. Felix Baumgartner – Stratosphere Jump
Take one Austrian skydiver. Build a quasi space ship. Send it up in the sky about 20 miles above New Mexico, and then have him jump, break the sound barrier, and hold the world record for the highest jump for several years. That was Red Bull Stratos in 2012. To the edge of space said its website.
14. Jeb Corliss – Sky Dagger
Professional athlete and skydiver Jeb Corliss, teamed up with Red Bull in 2012 for the Sky Dagger stunt. He jumped out of a helicopter at 6,000 feet, dressed in a winged sky suit that made the flying BASE jumper resemble a soaring bat. Screaming all the way, he maneuvered himself through a relatively tiny crack in China’s Tianmen Mountain, then deployed a parachute, landing safely among cheering locals.
13. Levi LaVallee – World Record Snowmobile Jump
Snowmobile racer, Levi LaVallee has won some 10 Winter X Game medals, including 7 Gold. At the end of 2010, he was confidently practicing for an attempt to break the jump record by jumping over San Diego Bay when he punctured a lung, broke some bones and was forced to pull out. A year later, he made a triumphant return to San Diego in time for the “Red Bull New Year No Limits” campaign. His breathtaking Bay jump established a world record at 412 feet.
12. Alexey Kolesnikov – Backflip Over Racing Truck
A truck shooting across a gap the size of a 4 story building is no big deal. A motorcyclist doing a back flip in mid-air has been done over and over. But take an 8.5 ton Red Bull truck driven by Russian rally driver Vladimir Chagin, racing at 60 miles an hour towards a ramp constructed from 500 tons of dirt, while motorcycle daredevil, Alexey Kolesnikov revs his engine and shoots up a motorcycle ramp, and you have a daring feat of perfect timing. As the truck sails across the gap at the precise moment, Kolesnikov executes a perfect back-flip over the roof of the truck.
11. Paul Steiner – Mid-Air Link of Two Gliders
A key member of the Red Bull Skydiving team, Austrian Steiner is a veteran of thousands of jumps. A year or so back, he climbed out onto the wing of a glider traveling more than 100 miles per hour and nearly 7,000 feet up over Austria. Above him, another glider was keeping pace. Steiner did a somersault, as the first glider flipped over, giving Steiner an opening standing on the Red Bull bull logo, holding onto the tail of the second gliders. It was all over in a matter of seconds.
10. Steve Fisher and Pat Keller – Beat Hanging Spear Falls
In October of 2014, adventurers Steve Fisher and Pat Keller set out on a 3-day kayak journey, down the Opalescent River in upstate New York, in their quest to conquer Hanging Spear Falls. They hiked, with 90 pound kayaks on their back, and kayaked down smooth and rushing waters, finally making it to Hanging Spear. Fisher compared it to falling off a cliff of rushing water. The river going over the Falls, drops 950 feet in just 3/4 of a mile. At times, it looked as if they were flying, and other times, it looked like they all but disappeared into the water. But, they made it through. The video displayed on the Red Bull website was pretty darn amazing.
9. Sebastian Loeb – Conquers Pike Peak
Sebastian Loeb is a racing legend, a man who is a 9-time rally driving champion. When he set out to beat the 9-minute world record ascent of Pikes Peak in Colorado, he teamed with Total, Red Bull and others, and chose the Peugeor 208 T16. On a June day in 2013, he pretty much obliterated the old record with a dash up the 4301 meter (14,107 feet), in 8 minutes and 13 seconds, or 2.67 miles in just over 8 minutes. That’s an average speed uphill and around killer curves of 87 miles per hour. Just plain crazy.
8. Tom van Steenbergen – World Record Front Flip
In the summer of 2014, professional mountain biker, Tom van Steenbergen was in the wilds of the Dakota Tetons as part of a documentary film project, when he executed a perfect, world-record grabbing, front flip across a rugged canyon. Nobody is perfect, even in the Red Bull universe. A few months later, a second attempt at the Red Bull Rampage mountain bike event fell a foot short of the 73 foot leap. He walked away with only his pride injured. And he’s not even 20 yet.
7. Duncan Zuur – Waterboards Across Venice
There’s a lot of water in Venice. We all know that. But in 2008, when the usually high and dry St. Marks Square flooded, Red Bull and stuntman Duncan Zuur moved fast and, as video cameras whirred and news cameras clicked, Zuur sported Red Bull logos aplenty while hamming it up on his waterboard. The good natured crowd rewarded him with a standing ovation. Red Bull Stratos it wasn’t. Just yet another chance to fly the logo before the world press.
6. Daniel Riccardo versus Jet (No Brainer)
In the run up to the 2014 Formula One season, Red Bull decided to focus attention on its F1 Team by staging what can only be called a silly stunt. Race driver Daniel Riccardo hopped into his racing Renault and revved up his engines, with a view to racing a Royal Air-Force Hornet Jet down a runway. After a fairly slow start for the jet, Riccardo zoomed ahead, engines blazing. But it’s really not that hard to figure out which machine flew past the finish line first. Nice video though. Riccardo was smiling at the end.
5. Mitchell De Jong – Rallycross Champ
So, what’s the big deal? A guy drives a 300 horsepower rally car around a track and wins a championship in his first year of competition. Well, the point is that he is too young to get a drivers’ license, and yet, he is one of the up and coming talents in the rallycross world. His voice probably hasn’t changed yet, and he stars in a Red Bull documentary called Unlicensed, about young Red Bull rally drivers. Now an older and wiser 15 year old, he has been racing since he was 5.
4. Aaron Chase – Mountain Biker
Aaron Chase is a seasoned freestyle mountain biker and part of the Red Bull stunt team. His most famous stunt was a ride down the Nevado De Toluca volcano crater, as cameras whirred. Or maybe it was his mountain bike double back flip. He also rides down sink holes in the desert, and, for a change, zooms down a ramp and over a speeding 9 ton truck with not even a practice run. The Red Bull website calls him a legend in the mountain biking world. His stunts have attracted millions of YouTube views.
3. Danny Burrows – Snowboards Down Active Volcano
It seemed like a good idea at the time. You and some snowboarding friend hike up the 3,ooo meters of an active volcano in Villarica, Chile and snowboard down. Well, to begin with, it was a 40 percent incline for most of the way, and then the volcano did a little mini-eruption spewing shards of molten rock all over the place. Burrow’s verdict? The 3,000 meter ride down on virgin snow was worth it.
2. Travis Pastrana – World Record Car Jump
For the “Red Bull Gives you Wings” campaign, stunt driver and racer Travis Pastrana broke the world record for a ramp to ramp car jump. On January 1, 2010, he flew down a ramp and over Long Beach’s Rainbow Harbor onto a barge anchored at the far end of the harbor. The previous record had been 171 feet. A jubilant, air punching Pastrana smashed that with a 269 foot jump before celebrating by diving into the water.
1. Robbie Maddison – 10 Story Motorcycle Jump
This has got to be the quintessential Red Bull stunt. Red Bull paid Australian, Robbie Maddison $2 million to do it. It’s Las Vegas, New Year’s Eve 2008, and Maddison and his motorcycle sit at the top of a ramp in the midst of the fake Vegas Eiffel Towers and the like. He roars down the ramp and catapults himself to the top of the 10 story Arc de Triomphe. The crowd roared. No, wait. It ain’t over yet. He circles the top of the building, then drops 100 feet back onto the ramp, and with hardly a wobble, glides off the ramp. Other than a cut in his hand, he was no worse for the stunt.
He has since said, he wouldn’t do it again for $10 million. His wife agrees wholeheartedly.