in the wild Jun 19, 2014

Motivation can stem from just about anything. What drives one man to perform may have no effect on another. It's subjective, sometimes perplexing, and can ultimately be very powerful. And as we all know, level of motivation varies from person to person. We've all met those who seem completely depleted of it, while others seem to have it emanating from their pores; so much in fact, that they put themselves in extraordinary situations in order to satisfy their drive. 

For professional skier and rally driver Guerlain Chicherit, his motivation and drive seem to be so deeply seeded, perhaps he can't even quite articulate it. He does, though, succumb to his drive, and it leads him to attempt the outlandish. This time, he attempted to beat the world record for longest ramp car jump. The result was not what he had hoped for, but the footage captured was much more than a crash video.

“When I woke up the morning of jump day, I called my wife and told her that I had a bad feeling. I've traveled the world for motorsports and seen hundreds of crashes; multiple car pile-ups at high speeds, race cars rolling end-over-end, sometimes on fire.” James Kirkham, the 4-Wheel Motorsports Creative Team Leader for GoPro Original Productions, wrote of the experience shooting Chicherit's jump attempt. 

“The life of a professional stunt athlete is rarely without consequences,” James explains. “We see them fall, crash, get hurt and, yes, sometimes they die. But what we captured inside of Guerlain’s car was very different than a crash video – it was a deeply ethereal, intimate human experience.  We captured that moment: a look on a man’s face and a light in his eyes when he realizes, This is it. I am going to die. Three or four seconds that seem like minutes, without time. Where I expected to see fear, panic, contortion, and pain, Guerlain shows us a deep existential calm." 

While it won't be documented as a World Record, it is a record of one man confronting his own mortality, and ultimately experiencing a moment of what we can only describe as grace.