Inspired by the legendary Ramayana, famed Red Bull athlete and 12-time biking FIM Trial World Champion, Dougie Lampkin recently toured Sri Lanka between May 12 and 16, 2016 to relieve the mythical trail of the ancient Sanskrit epic. Set against the backdrop of the island’s captivating landscapes, the heroic tale of action, virtue and adventure sent Lampkin on a journey through some of the toughest terrains he had ever seen.
Trial biking is an extreme sport that incorporates skill, balance and power using a special bike. In quite possibly what is one of the world’s best adventure playgrounds, Sri Lanka is without a doubt a trial biking paradise. The sport thrives in the presence of large natural obstacles where the rider must pass through with as little physical contact with the ground as possible. The unorthodox landscapes of the island exhibited immense potential, which Lampkin himself rated no less than perfect for the sport. “My aim was to ride somewhere completely different, with a terrain that is completely unusual, and I liked how accessible Sri Lanka was for the sport,” he commented. “Despite the weather, the terrain is quite similar to home – wet and muddy!” Over the course of his 4-day tour, Lampkin brought the lore to life from the shores of the Indian Ocean to altitudes over 5,000 feet above sea level. From fighting slips with traction atop the damp and uneven terrain of Rumassala to climbing the rocky red cliffs of Ussangoda, nothing held Lampkin back.
Part treacherous, part thrilling, and completely extraordinary, the trail also took him upcountry where his bike was pitted against the gushing waters of Ravana Falls – one of the widest waterfalls in Sri Lanka. Standing at 82-feet high, Lampkin was wella ware of the risks ahead and said, “This was definitely the most challenging, not only for safety, but if the bike went in there, that’s the end of the trip!” Faced with thick mist and low visibility, Lampkin rode through estates along perilous heights in Hakgala, following the fabled footsteps of the Monkey God Hanuman as he searched for Princess Sita. Likewise, as Lampkin searched for the next challenge Sri Lanka had to offer, he happened upon a lush tea plantation where he recalls, “Riding through here was a first for me.
The views down on the valley when I rode through the estate were very special.” “I love the opportunities to ride in new places in front of new people,” said Lampkin. “When I rode through Ravana Falls, I was humbled by the crowd standing on the bridge and watching me. What’s nice is that those people had no idea what my bike could do, no idea who I am. The only association they could see was Red Bull and extreme sport. And that’s what I love about these projects. You take our small sport and create a big surprise. Things like that are what make trips like these so unique.” The immersion of global sport culture into authentic local.