How A Monster Jam Legend Prepares For A Record-Breaking Truck Jump

How A Monster Jam Legend Prepares For A Record-Breaking Truck Jump

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On Saturday, July 1, ThunderROARus monster truck driver Colton Eichelberger set a brand new world report by leaping 9 monster vans lined up facet by facet — however earlier than Eichelberger may tackle the problem, he wanted steering from a Monster Jam legend: Tom Meents. And two days earlier than the stunt, I had an opportunity to talk with Meents about simply what it takes to information a racer into historical past.

Full disclosure: Monster Jam invited me to hitch the collection at World Finals XXII in Nashville, Tennessee, the place it put me up for a weekend and arranged a large amount of behind-the-scenes entry together with an hour-long round-table interview with icon Tom Meents.

After many years of competitors, Meents was philosophical as he answered our questions throughout a round-table interview. He selected his phrases fastidiously, typically after a wistful look out on the still-drying observe. Every time he spoke, it was with the sort of deliberation you’d count on from a long-time legend and instructor at Monster Jam College.

“I can inform you for a reality we’ve by no means made it but,” Meents advised Jalopnik throughout the round-table after I requested how he and Eichelberger had been getting ready to perform the demanding feat.

“A number of the necessities are going to be traction — which, if [the jump] occurred right this moment, that will be a problem,” he stated, referring to the damp observe.

“We’ve an enormous run in with a brief stopping distance, so we’ve been developing with the appropriate gear, the appropriate perspective to have within the air. Do it’s essential cease the tires within the air so when it lands, it’s already pre-braked? You need to simply think about.”

Whereas the total slate of Monster Jam rivals really feel like one massive household, Meents and Eichelberger are fairly actually that: Eichelberger is Meents’ stepson and has crammed in for Meents prior to now, all whereas carving his personal title into the report books with a seven-truck leap at World Finals 20.

A nine-truck leap can be troublesome for anybody, however Eichelberger can be going through a novel problem: he was compelled to drop out of his scheduled 2022 tour, making his World Finals XXII leap effort his official return to Monster Jam. Returning to competitors simply to face some of the daunting feats in Monster Jam historical past as much as that time wouldn’t be straightforward — however Meents revealed a bit about how his steering aided Eichelberger.

“The cool factor about Colton is that he’s a younger dad […] and I can simply take him out of all that pondering,” Meents stated. “With my stunt expertise, I can take some worries off his plate, so all he has to consider is getting within the truck and hitting the change.”

A extreme thunderstorm postponed the beginning of the World Finals, leaving the observe damp. Simply because the two-wheel expertise problem wrapped up, the vans set to be jumped rolled out into place, spanning a good portion of the stadium. Meents watched on earlier than working to supply a number of closing phrases of recommendation to Eichelberger. The pomp and circumstance was shortly lower quick as a result of rain, and moments later, there was ThunderROARus lining up on the gate. The huge engine screamed, after which he was off.

For almost 4 seconds, Eichelberger soared by way of the air as fireworks skittered throughout the circuit. Then, his wheels have been on the bottom. He had landed it.

Certain, ThunderROARus did slide into the wall and lose a few of its fiberglass bodywork — however it was a small worth to pay for yet one more entry within the report books.

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Alex Lorel

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