Throwback Thursday: Clay Porter Talks About Filming Sam Hill's Insane Natural Gap at Sun Peaks in 2007

Jan 6, 2022
by Andrew Neethling  
Views: 25,106    Faves: 33    Comments: 5

Clay Porter explains the gnarliest thing he saw Sam Hill do on a DH bike.

Also available on Apple Podcasts / Spotify

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Member since Jun 21, 2013
49 articles

  • 80 3
 Random natural DH track gaps are the gnarliest things in mtb
  • 30 69
flag rayme FL (Jan 6, 2022 at 1:28) (Below Threshold)
 Would you mind explaining what makes it so gnarly?
Seen today, when you have edits from Jordie Lunn, Brage Vestavik, etc... Sam's gap doesn't look all that crazy, but I'm sure that there's something about it that I cannot see (guessing speed, precision, no manicured feature...)
  • 33 1
 @rayme: no hours of digging to prepare the landing, warp speed.

It's similar to the comments about Rampage being so manicured... Though in both cases it's just a different kind of risk, equally crazy!
  • 6 0
 @rayme: I think the gnarr comes from the natural features that this track is, yes Jordie Lunn hit massive gaps, but many times the landings where quite tame and purpose built, where as this is "naturally" made, meaning the landing or takeoff is not as smooth.
  • 16 0
 @rayme: because it's not made to be jumped, and it might not even work. Imagine just rolling up to a gap like this and not knowing if you will even make it, or if it's even possible
  • 10 0
 @rayme: you answered your own question at the end.
  • 16 0
 Sam Hill on a Iron Horse is the gnarliest thing in mtb !
  • 4 0
 @rayme: in your last sentence you forgot huge, hard to say but it looks around 20-25 m to me. Plus the bit about no one ever doing or probly even considering doing it previously.
  • 12 0
 Look at the clip of the landing at 3:33 in the video. It's not a landing, it's a loose pile of shale rocks. Just the left hand turn out of the gap is gnarly when you watch him ride it. He's going 300 miles per hour into a flat, dry, loose drop away left hand turn with chunks of rock in it. Everything about this clip is horrifying.
  • 3 0
 @Martind-sk: and smooth and Sun Peaks were NEVER in the same sentence in those days. It was rough AF and pretty awesome!
  • 3 0
 @Martind-sk: there is first hand testimony below in this comment section that Jordie Lunn actually did this same gap. Years earlier. The reason it never got into any edits was maybe that only a trained eye can see how hard and dangerous this is? Regardless of who did what when, committing to this jump takes a lot of courage. Landing it and coming out unscathed takes huge skills.
  • 1 0
 @ak-77: ah ok, I never knew that, thanks!
  • 1 0
 @freeinpg: I've never been there, but maybe ill try it out this summer
  • 2 0
 @TEAM-ROBOT: props for "300 miles per hour into flat" it kind of was horrifying!
  • 45 0
 From an era where the like of Sam looked for the crazy, natural gaps, no manicuring, just insane skill and commitment. Plus.... that Sunday is still one of the most beautiful bikes ever made!
  • 9 0
 totally agree. Typical Sam Hill style for what we still love him.
  • 35 0
 Clay we would love to see you do a world cup film again.
  • 31 0
 Not dated, Still gnarly.
  • 2 1
 its a good thing that his pants were that baggy as if it was up to todays standards he would have sent it sooo deep!
  • 20 1
 Random Facts about Sam Hill:

10. Sam Hill defeated the Spanish Armada in 1588 in an inflatable raft.
9. Spelling Sam Hill backwards out loud will reverse the rotation of the Earth.
8. Sam Hill can slam a revolving door.
7. Johannes Kepler's calculations were incorrect until he accounted for Sam Hill.
6. All of Sam Hill's toes are big toes.
5. Sam Hill can rip a phone book in half with one hand.
4. In 1975 Sam Hill won an Oscar for his role in the movie Jaws. He played the ocean.
3. Sam Hill invented Taiwan just to piss off China.
2. When a regular person puts a conch shell to his ear and listens, he hears the ocean. When Sam Hill puts a conch shell to his ear and listens, he hears Slayer.

...and the Number 1 Random Fact about Sam Hill:
1, The only thing that sucks more than being Sam Hill is not being Sam Hill.
  • 3 0
 Chuck Norris has nothing on sam
  • 19 0
 Reminds me of watching the Earthed and seeing all the other riders stood on the side watching Sam's lines
  • 13 0
 Earthed 5 was basically the Sam Hill Special Edition film and it's still my favorite bike film. His section at Champery was pure skill.
  • 17 0
 Can confirm Jord definitely did it, I filmed it from the bottom. Sam is the man as well, burly gap!
  • 15 1
 Burly gap and sniper landing in dry, loose conditions. This clip illustrates the clear lack of need for 29” wheels. And also that sam is the goat.
  • 4 3
 There is nothing that can be done on 29" wheels that is impossible on 26" wheels. That doesn't mean they're not better at certain things. And I've seen mountain goats descend rock walls that even Sam wouldn't dare to ride down - on any wheel size.
  • 6 4
 @ak-77: exactly. 29's are great for covering more ground, faster, but takes away from everything else. Less pop, need longer transitions. I have to stack so much more dirt when building steep lips so 29ers don't get bucked compared to building jumps when everyone was on 26 or 27.5. Not to mention how many more injury's 29's are causing due to people not realizing how fast they are actually going...
  • 3 0
 @luckynugget: This. My 29'er is an overshoot wagonFrown
  • 1 1
 @luckynugget: I found my 29er much less likely to get bucked on a jump or G-out than my 26er, feels a lot more stable in the air too.
  • 3 4
 @luckynugget: Pretty much all of that is aboslutely crazy talk.

So please tell me how absolutely loads of people used and use 26" or 24" wheel bikes at the same trails built for BMX bikes with absolutely no issues what so ever? - These are proper 'trails' / jump lines too with huge / steep tranisitons, not jumps on tracks designed to be ridden by mountainbikes.

You also think 29" wheels make people ride so fast they dont actually know how fast they are going and are injured as a result? wtf?

I am sure timed laps showed up wheel size difference over a 3 min Dh run was in the order of a second or two, have you actually ridden a 29er?
  • 4 1
 @justanotherusername: I own bikes of everywheel size from 24/26 mullet to 29 dh. I've built jumps for decades. I've noticed how different a modern 29 extra long DH bike handles compared to my 26 and 27 dh bikes in the past. I've watched so many people I know including myself get hurt this season since going to bigger wheels. I'm not hating on 29 just saying there's more to it than "bike go faster"
  • 2 1
 @justanotherusername: also had this same discussion with many other trailbuilders and they agree. Trails have to be so slack and wide open to compensate for the ridiculous long bikes everyone rides these days. And yes high speed full focus on a 26 is average, let your focus down trail pace on 29, which makes people get hurt.
  • 2 2
 @luckynugget: well I suppose feeling does seem to trump physics and facts nowadays so maybe you are right after all?
  • 1 2
 @luckynugget: I agree, we are about to enter the group b rally era of DH, the bikes are stupid fast now so mechanics of injury ramp up.
  • 2 1
 @inside-plus: Absolute, complete and utter bullshit.

Less than a second a minute -

And that’s bikes 15 years apart, not slow progression each year.

But yea, just like ‘group B’ - these bikes all of a sudden make people ‘stupid fast’.
  • 2 0
 Sorry, 7 second total over just over 3 mins, so about 2 seconds a minute, point the same, and that’s for someone like Steve.
  • 7 0
 I think Jordie did this gap while filming for Run for Your Life 2 in or around 2002 or 2003. It was during the week between races at Sun Peaks for a BC Cup and Nationals. I didn't witness it in person but remember seeing the raw footage of some ridiculous natural gap on this brothers camera. I've long since lost my copy of the VHS.
  • 7 0
 I don't care about how many world cup wins or championships etc, to me Sam is the GOAT. We all know if every DHer ever was at their peak and put at the top of a gnarly track on the same model bike, not only would Sam win, he'd have the same gap to second as there was between second and tenth.
  • 6 0
 I remember watching Sam and Danny hit the steep hill out on the grassy ski slope by the chair lifts in Windham - they were the only ones throwing it to nearly flat. Insane.
  • 5 0
 Peaty's Plunge
  • 5 0
 @Ridefaster: Yes - further up in the open than the Plunge. Peaty would have won his last WC there if he hadn't thrown it to flat 2 seconds up! That's where the name came.
  • 4 0
 That was the first WC I filmed. Walked 10mins down the hill and shot Danny sending that on his second run. Was/is bonkers. Wish Wimdham still ran wc's.
  • 5 0
 It’s not insanity one. It’s the old top of high Octane. Which is in fact open again as of last season. Can confirm, it’s insane.
  • 3 0
 We used to race Canada cup in early 2000 on that trail and I remember all of us looking at that gap and wondered if it would be possible. When I saw the video I realized that it is possible but only for very talented riders
  • 2 0
 So glad to see this clip get the credit it deserves. I've been riding Sun Peaks for years, seen many pros ride this line and even taken a stab at it myself (my tires never left the dirt and my brakes were engaged more often than not). This is not a groomed, machine built trail, its loose with sharp shale, steep, gnarly, and very unforgiving. I still recall seeing this segment 15 years ago and my reaction then "That's not even possible, this guy has Super Powers!". I still get flash backs to this clip when the topic of great moments or epic sends are brought up. Not sure, but I think the original clip can be found on the extras from "F1RST by Clay Porter" Thanks for the Throw Back, and thank you Sam. Fast and Loose forever!
  • 6 1
 Wizardry… testosterone… confidence…. Swagggg…
  • 4 0
 His brain just operates in a completely different manner to the rest of us. And at a much faster speed too.
  • 3 0
 His brain tends to follow him around. So, yeah, faster than the rest of us.
  • 2 1
 So, I photographed most of the european DH World Cups from 2008 to about 2011. Somewhat historic moments, from Sam wiping out at Val di Sole in 2008 to Danny Hart mastering the gnarly conditions in Champery 2011, I was there. Sometimes mere meters away. I know all (or most) of Clays films, too. And I think it´s fairly safe to say that this gap, albeit quite impressive, is far from the most impressive thing Sam or other riders of that period have done. Actually, looking back to Sams run in 2008, he was visibly faster than everybody else. Not only on on TV, but from behind the tape. During the press conference, I felt for him, having seen his commitment to this one run.
  • 1 0
 The Huck's to flat in that run were insane
  • 4 0
 I like Sam Hill
  • 3 0
 Absurd gap. Proper menace on a downhill bike
  • 3 0
 Remember that clearly, was only talking about it last week. Sam is unreal.
  • 2 0
 Watch it frame by frame on the first angle, really gives you good perspective of how big and fast that gap is.
  • 3 0
 Miss the look of 26"wheels and dual crown forks
  • 1 0
 I remember seing the footage and I couldn‘t believe it. I still think about that gap sometines as one of these things that just blew me mind. Sam for president!
  • 1 0
 Was this trail part of the 2001 Canadian Nationals ? Basically right after the start ?
  • 3 0
 Crazy bugger.... So good
  • 1 2
 Get Better.
  • 5 5
 Maybe 2% of the people reading this have a legit shot at making that gap. The rest of us should be collecting our toys and going home with our anyone can do that now comments
  • 36 1
 Less than 1% can.
  • 13 0
 I'd be surprised if anyone else has hit this since. Would be interested to hear if anyone has at all
  • 22 0
 Reading this? That would be be either none or in fractions of a percentage, no chance 2 in 100 PB readers are this capable.
  • 3 0
 @justanotherusername: after further thought I doubt anyone has done this since. I was thinking we are all as about as good as the guys in the SRAM snippet they play before everything but then I remember the crashing part that I experience regularly that was left out of the SRAM snippet. Sitting on the toilet, it looks easier than it is
  • 23 0
Sam is the only one to have hit it. Some buddies and I went and checked it out. It was completely overgrown on a section of trail that is no longer used.
And yes it is absolutely F*€ked… Basically a high speed shale singletrack run in into a hop off a rock. About 50’ out and 15’ down to make it to the landing that is just another rocky shale section of trail.
  • 5 0
 @brycepiwek: opened it last year. The gap lives
  • 2 0
 @brycepiwek: ya we checked it out this summer. i doubt most elite wc racers would make it over this thing. pretty sure sun peaks has this section of trail back open if any of the 2% of pinkbike readers wants to try it
  • 1 0
 As someone reading this I wouldn’t even be able to hold speed needed to make the gap, let alone have the balls to try to jump it. I’d probably go OTB just rolling it. Actually, definitely OTB.
  • 1 0
 @brycepiwek: Jordie Lunn has hit this gap
  • 2 0
 Love it. Thanks for posting Andrew -
  • 3 0
 All hail Sam Hill
  • 3 0
 "What. The. f*ck."
  • 2 0
 Such an Iconic clip. Blew my mind when it came out
  • 2 0
  • 2 1
 The trail is called "Insanity One" incase anyone is interested.
  • 3 0
 not insanity one, lt does look kinda similar to the first breakover jump but this is not the prior race track to insanity, but the one before that.
  • 1 0
 From which movie is this?
  • 1 0
 "F1RST" by Clay Porter, in the extras if I recall???
  • 1 0
 Did I just miss it or did they not do a top comment article this year

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