Ryan Suchanek Wheelie Record on Ice

Location: Lake Koshkonong, WI

Date: 02/05/11

Temp: Cold

When someone sets out to perform a “world record” these days lots of people roll their eyes and think that some whack job has now grown the longest beard, had 44 kids, performed open heart surgery on a roller coaster or something of the insane sort. When Ryan Suchanek decided to set out for a world record for the fastest wheelie it was with a twist.That being, the attempt was to be made on a frozen lake in the heart of the Midwest in the middle of winter. To add to the challenge, Ryan is the only competing amputee stunt rider after losing his left leg in a tragic street bike accident several years ago!

Add 1 part very dedicated stunt rider, 1 part race bike, 1 part Zamboni, and 1 part wood chipper and you have the combination needed to pull off a 95mph rip across a surface that most people can’t walk on without winding up with a pin through their collarbone.

Weather conditions were amazing (but cold), with a slight cloud cover that kept the pounding mid-winter sun from glazing the track and possibly leading to visibility issues often described as “snow glare”. Track conditions were unfortunately not as nice. Mother Nature intended to fight Ryan every step of the way with cracks, ripples, basketball sized craters, due to a violent snowstorm just days earlier that pummeled the lake and threatened to make it not ridable.

Although track conditions and setup issues plagued Ryan during testing, through his ever methodical approach he continued to test, tune and refine a setup that would allow him to not only get into the record books, but keep him from winding up in a stretcher. In the early part  of the track, the rear tire would break loose while balanced at average speeds topping 80+ mph which lead to several near misses for Ryan. Ice ripples at the cool down end of the track would lead to violent headshakes throughout the day as well, making it very important for him to focus all the way through his runs.

Things progressed nicely through the day with speeds climbing closer and closer to Ryan’s goal of 100mph. After several runs with what was thought to be a slipping clutch, a very anxious crowd stood behind Ryan as he very stubbornly marched toward the record for more than an hour after the scheduled end time. Bit by bit, he charged three to four mph at a time, until after clocking a 93mph run he turned at the end of the track and proclaimed that he would give it one more shot before calling it quits. On the last pass of the day, with the sun fading on the horizon, Ryan whipped up into what ended up being the real flyer of the day and burned past the finish line clocking 95mph on radar gun!

Customfighters.com applauds you Ryan.

Words: Craig Kruckenberg | Pics: Neal Shepperd

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