Thacker man’s up, braves blizzard conditions and uncorks a 245-footer!
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz., (Feb. 26, 2007) – Monster Energy/Slednecks’ Paul Thacker flew a snowmobile farther than anybody in history on Saturday, setting a new ramp-to-ramp distance record of 245 feet that eclipsed his old record of 238 feet.
And though seven feet doesn’t seem like that big of a margin, Thacker accomplished the feat in a blizzard with travel warnings.
“Actually, he broke three records,” said event promoter John Keegan of Slednecks. “Longest jump in a blizzard and longest jump in front of a crowd.”
Nearly 5,000 Minnesotans braved the “Stay home” warnings from the local media to witness Thacker’s historic jump of a 430-pound Bikeman Performance-powered Polaris IQ snowmobile at Canterbury Park – a horse racing facility just outside Minneapolis.
“It was pretty insane,” said Thacker. “I can’t believe we even pulled off the show, much less break a record.”
With wind gusts in the high 30 mile per hour range and visibility at a minimum, the Slednecks crew got to the facility at 7 a.m. in the morning on Saturday and were able to put in a few practice jumps, work on getting their math straight for the evening jump under the lights. In the days preceding the record jump the team pumped an incredible 3.8 million gallons of water through snow guns to form what would become the largest snow landing ramp ever constructed.
“Once we got the ramp built the storm only allowed us three to four short practice jumps on Friday,” said Keegan. “Saturday was just about as rough, but we were able to get our math right before the wind gusts shut us down.”
Come judgment time on Saturday night, Thacker was amazed to see the sizable crowd that showed up despite the weather. So he, along with ESPN Winter X Games Freestyle Snowmobiling gold medalist Chris Burandt and fellow Slednecks riders Kourtney Hungerford and Nate Haag braved the conditions and went for it.
“With the huge crowd braving the conditions I knew I was going to have to do everything in my ability to take a legitimate crack at breaking the record,” said Thacker. “But I was definitely confident in my abilities and my machinery that we were going to be able to make something happen despite the gale-force winds and white out conditions.”
Thacker continued: “With the crowd coming out in the blizzard like that I knew I had to do it. But I also knew I could do it. The Slednecks crews painstakingly put everything into motion and fortunately we were able to brave the elements, push the envelope and set a new record. Granted, we only broke the record by seven feet, but that in and of itself was a huge accomplishment considering that myself, nor the fans, should have been outside in those conditions.”
In addition to Thacker’s jump and the freestyle show, Monster Energy rolled it's refrigerated rig out (which Thacker jumped over, by the way) and the Monster Energy Sample Rig and handed out Monster Energy drinks & swag throughout the night. The athletes also signed tons of autographs and posed for pictures with the spectators.
The Canterbury Park show also served as a dress rehearsal for the upcoming Monster Energy/Slednecks Invasion Tour. Thacker, Burandt, Hungerford and Haag will all be part of the freestyle snowmobile and FMX tour set to begin this summer. Dates and venues TBA.
Slednecks is for people who push the limits and face their fears. Slednecks supports these like minded individuals with technical outerwear and clothing and highlights these feats in the award winning “Slednecks” film series. Are you a Sledneck? Check out www.slednecks.com.