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Video: BMX cyclist takes on abandoned American football stadium

Tyler Fernengel pulls some stunts at the Silverdome former home of Detroit Lions and FIFA World Cup 1994 venue

A derelict American football stadium in Pontiac, Michigan that once hosted the sport’s flagship event, the Superbowl, and which was also a venue in the 1994 FIFA World Cup has provided a striking backdrop to a video from Red Bull featuring BMX rider Tyler Fernengel.

The 20-year-old comes from Michigan and as a 10-year-old attended Supercross events at the venue, which in the decade since then has fallen into severe disrepair.

What Red Bull term the “holy shit” moment of the video is when Fernengel executes a 360-degree barspin during a jump from the stadium’s club/patio tier down to pitch level. In an interview, he said:

When I went to scope the location in January, I sort of called out all these moves. I really didn’t think much of them. But when I showed up to film, that was a big reality check — there was the whole film crew there and I saw how much work has went into it. I had to step back and think, “Whoa, this is happening and it’s all for me.” There was so much hard work and time put into the whole project. … Obviously, I don’t have to do anything I’m not comfortable doing, but in my own mind I kinda feel obligated to give it a try.

I honestly started doubting myself, but ... I felt I had to at least try it and see what happens.

Speaking about the first time he tried that jump, he added:

I straight-jumped it, my feet blew off [the pedals], my tires went so flat and my bars moved — it was just so much more impact than I expected. I had called out the 360-barspin, but I wasn’t even sure it was possible. ... I honestly started doubting myself, but like I said, I felt I had to at least try it and see what happens.

Once the largest stadium in the NFL, the Silverdome was home to the Detroit Lions from 1975 to 2001, hosted Suberbowl XVI in 1982, four matches at the 1994 FIFA World Cup and concerts by acts including Led Zeppelin and The Who.

Its largest ever attendance was in 1987 when 93,682 people packed the stadium for a mass celebrated by Pope John Paul II in 1987.

The stadium’s fortunes nose-dived after the Detroit Lions moved to a new venue in 2002 and it closed four years later. It reopened in 2010 and staged a variety of events but was closed again in 2013 and the owners started auctioning off its contents last year.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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