Monster Energy Drinks-sponsored snowmobiler Paul Thacker made a ramp-to-ramp flight of 301 feet, setting a new world record for snowmobile distance jumping. He accomplished the feat March 26 on a Polaris 600 IQ Race Sled at the Brainerd International Raceway (BIR) in Brainerd, Minnesota.
“When I was in the air I just knew it was perfect,” Thacker said. “[I] flew over 301 feet. With the [flight path] and the way I landed, I knew we got to where we wanted to be. I was already screaming in my helmet on the down run.”
Thacker broke his own snowmobile distance jump record of 271 feet, which he set in the midst of a snowstorm 13 months ago at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minnesota. Thacker joined fellow Monster Energy Drink-sponsored rider Ryan Capes as the only extreme athletes to jump their vehicles at least 300 feet. Capes made his jump on a motorcycle.
Weather Again Threatens Record Attempt
When Thacker and his crew arrived in Brainerd, weather was rainy and windy with temperatures well above freezing. Two days later, conditions were ideal for jumping.
Thacker made several practice jumps, with each one progressively longer. After clearing 250 feet, Thacker realized he had to increase his speed to fly 300 feet to the landing ramp. “I took a couple speed runs and knew I had to hit at least 84 mph,” he said. “Anything less would have basically been the end of me.”
Before making the big jump, Thacker and his crew switched to a track with smaller lugs for less weight and improved aerodynamics. Leading up to the record-breaking leap, Thacker made a few runs on BIR’s drag strip to check his speed and make sure the sled was ready. “I stopped by the trailer one last time and my mechanic, Alex, gave the sled a once-over and sent me on my way,” he said. “I hit it at 87 [mph] and flew just over 301 feet.”
Thacker is an Alaska native who has been featured in several Slednecks extreme snowmobiling videos and competed in the ESPN Winter X Games. Along with Polaris, Monster Energy and Slednecks, his sponsors include Bikeman Performance, Oakley, C&A Pro Skis, Fox Shox, Kicker and HMR.
Record Setter Featured At Polaris Assault Camp
Thacker will be one of the hosts at next winter’s Polaris Assault Camp, an event where riders who are selected through a drawing embark on a backcountry riding trip with Slednecks pros on Polaris 800 RMK Assault snowmobiles. Register for the Assault Camp drawing at a 2010 Manufacturers’ Sneak Peek event (visit www.snowsneakpeek.com for a schedule) or by visiting Polaris’ website.
Video of Paul Thacker’s 2008 attempt at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, MN