Danny MacAskill’s trickery on his bike has taken him around the world, producing a series of amazing video clips. His latest adventure in 2014 took him back to his home on Scotland’s Isle of Skye, where he rode The Ridge in the treacherous Cuillin Range.
In an exclusive interview with Laureus, MacAskill admits: “I would have been happy with, maybe a couple of hundred thousand hits”. But the response has been beyond the 29-year-old Scotsman’s wildest dreams.
So far the spectacular video has been watched by 30 million people and is one of the main reasons why he has been chosen by the world’s media as a Nominee for the 2015 Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year Award. “I never had any expectations of those kinds of figures,” he says.
MacAskill, who was also nominated in 2010, is on the six-strong shortlist for the Award with freefall record holder Alan Eustace, world champion surfers Stephanie Gilmore and Gabriel Medina, skateboard sensation Nyjah Huston and Olympic snowboard champion Sage Kotsenburg.
He says: “It's pretty awesome, the second time I'm nominated. Last year was a good year. It’s cool to have it recognised. I'm up against some pretty incredible athletes. To be honest, it's quite surreal for me because I come from a non competitive background, like [free-faller] Alan Eustace. But to be in a room with all those other athletes, it's very, very cool.”
A glittering collection of the world’s greatest sports stars have been nominated for the 2015 Laureus World Sports Awards. The winners, as voted by the Laureus World Sports Academy, the ultimate sports jury, made up of 50 of the greatest sportsmen and sportswomen of all time, will be unveiled at a globally televised Awards Ceremony staged at the Shanghai Grand Theatre on Wednesday, April 15.
In the exclusive interview, MacAskill reveals his motivation for riding The Ridge. “I’ve wanted to make that film for a number of years. I originally come from the Isle of Skye and I've always looked up at the mountain there. I started making these videos for YouTube over the last few years and I knew that it would make an incredible backdrop for a film. The last time I was up, with [director] Stu Thomson, we put some time aside to make the film.
“We had very little expectations for the film. It was just made by ourselves, over quite a short period, only six days, which for me is a very short amount of time to make a film. We were very lucky with the weather. I can't quite believe how well it's gone down. I didn't really care if it was well received by a global audience. It was more important for me that people in Skye watched it and were proud of it. But to have it go down as well as it has, has been pretty cool,” he adds.
Did he have any scary moments during the making of the video?
“Normally when I'm down at street level, you're able to push a lot harder. You do things that maybe are out of your capabilities or comfort zone. When it's up on The Ridge, you have to have your wits about you. And you couldn't really necessarily take those same risks, because the consequences are obviously a lot more serious. It was just a case of finding the good parts of riding and trying not to fall off.”
He is coy about his next big projects, saying he wants to keep them secret for now, but he has started a team of riders called Drop and Roll who will be touring Europe doing shows. Whatever MacAskill does though, you can be sure it involves a bike.
As he says: “To be honest, if I'm not riding my trials bike in the street, I'm normally riding my mountain bike. I've also got an electric moto-cross bike which I ride a lot, as well. Anything with handlebars is really my kind of thing. I don't do an awful lot, other than just ride bikes.”