Extreme Rider Paul Thacker Sets Snowmobile Jump Record of 301 Feet on a Polaris 600 IQ
Slednecks Star Breaks His Own Record with Jump at Brainerd, MN
On March 26, Thacker piloted a Polaris 600 IQ ® on a ramp-to-ramp flight of 301 feet, a new world record for snowmobile distance jumping. He accomplished the feat at the Brainerd (MN) International Raceway. The record-breaking jump was arranged by Monster Energy and Slednecks, who, like Polaris, are among Thacker’s sponsors.
Thacker and the Monster crew endured two days of unfavorable wind and weather before he made the record-setting jump late on the afternoon of March 26. He attained the necessary speed, launched his Polaris off the take-off ramp and landed it cleanly and safely a football field away.
“I got up to 87 miles per hour and hit the take-off ramp,” Thacker said. “When I was in the air I just knew it was perfect. Flew over 301 feet. With the amplitude 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 on a Polaris in the midst of a snowstorm on February 17, 2008, in Shakopee, Minnesota. Thacker joined fellow Monster-sponsored rider Ryan Capes as the only extreme athletes to jump their vehicles 300 feet. Capes accomplished the feat on a motorcycle.
“Three-hundred feet has been such a huge goal, [there’s] such a huge sense of accomplishment,” Thacker said after the Brainerd jump. “I’m honored to be the first person to do so” on a snowmobile.
Thacker set the record on a Polaris 600 IQ ® snowmobile with performance tuning by Bikeman Performance of Osceola, Wisconsin, and Fox Shox in the front and rear suspensions. Thacker is an Alaska native who has been featured in several Slednecks extreme riding videos and who has competed in multiple 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.
Bad Weather Threatens Record Attempt
When Thacker and the Monster crew arrived in Brainerd, they were uncertain he would get to attempt the record-breaking jump. It was rainy and windy and temperatures were around 50° F on March 24, when the crew erected the ramps at the race track. The following day’s high temperature was in the 30s, so the snow was refreezing as the crew desired. On jump day, March 26, the high in Brainerd was 24° F and the winds were mild, making conditions ideal for jumping.
Thacker made several jumps that day, each one progressively longer as the crew moved the ramps apart. Having surpassed 250 feet, Thacker knew he had to increase his approach speed to successfully sail 300 feet and still land on the incline of 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 his big jump, he and his crew switched tracks on the Polaris. “We decided to swap the track out for one with smaller lugs. [It was] lighter, better aero [aerodynamics] and, hopefully, more distance,” Thacker said.
Thacker made a few runs on the racing complex’s drag strip to check his speed and felt he and the sled were 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 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 win a backcountry riding trip with Slednecks pros on Polaris 800 Assault RMK snowmobiles. Riders can register for the “Assault Camp – Part Deux” drawing if they attend a 2010 Manufacturers’ Sneak Peek event (visit www.snowsneakpeek.com for a schedule) or by visiting the Polaris 2010 Snowmobile website: www.terraindomination.com/dvd.
With annual 2008 sales of $1.9 billion, Polaris designs, engineers, manufactures and markets off-road vehicles (ORVs), including all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and the Polaris RANGER ™, snowmobiles and Victory Motorcycles for recreational and utility use. Polaris is a recognized leader in the snowmobile industry, and one of the largest manufacturers of ORVs in the world. Victory Motorcycles, established in 1998 and representing the first all-new American-made motorcycle from a major company in nearly 60 years, are rapidly making impressive in-roads into the cruiser and touring motorcycle marketplace.
Polaris also enhances the riding experience with a complete line of Pure Polaris apparel, accessories and parts, available at Polaris dealerships.
Polaris Industries Inc. trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “PII,” and the Company is included in the S&P Small-Cap 600 stock price index.
Information about the complete line of Polaris products, apparel and vehicle accessories, is available from authorized Polaris dealers or anytime from the Polaris homepage at www.polarisindustries.com.