Photo Credit: Dylan Luckey
In 1999, the original monster truck world record was set by Dan Runte in Bigfoot. No one even though about touching such a mark, considering what it would take and the room needed to make it happen.
Three years ago, Joe Sylvester looked at that record and decided to go after it. Many thought he was crazy, didn't have the equipment to go after such a mark. But he was set to go after a record no one even touched for over a decade. His truck was different, the location was different, and in testing his truck was destroyed in a violent roll.
But in a truck with a beat up body, Sylvester put aside the risks and sailed his Bad Habit Cadillac six feet farther than Bigfoot, despite a lot of controversy that followed.
Last fall, Runte took his new truck and set out to get the record back, and did so by sailing his Bigfoot 214 feet. It was only a matter of time till someone decided to go after that record again, and Sylvester was the first name on the list. In the years since his record attempt, his truck has gone under massive improvements, and he declared that he was going for it.
The Cornfield 500 in Columbus, PA, would once again host his attempt, and with sunny skies above, and fans flocked to the track, Sylvester knew the time had come.
Testing before the attempt was key, and it seemed that Sylvester had a lot of speed in his machine. All his runs were above 80 mph, just where he hoped to have them leading into the jump. Conditions were a lot different than they were in 2010, with better weather and no threat of rain.
Sylvester was ready, his Bad Habit truck was tuned and set, and the time had come.
The ramp was built, the conditions were perfect, and Sylvester got set for his attempt. After a small prayer while in the cab, he let off the brakes and planted his right foot. The truck picked up speed as the Firestone tires gripped the dirt. Over 80 mph later and Sylvester took to the skies, sailing the SUV-bodied machine like a rocket. The machine landed on the landing pad, all in one piece.
Then came the hard part...waiting. Waiting for measurements to be taken from the peak of the ramp to the point the truck landed.
At last, the measurement came in, and everyone simply lost it. Sylvester not only broke the record, he put it in a new dimension. Sylvester was shooting for at least 220 feet in his attempt...his distance was 237 feet, a full 24 feet longer than Bigfoot's leap in Indianapolis last September. It has put a new precedent on the long jump record in that if one wants to break it, they have to put it at a distance where no one will touch it.
Sylvester has been known as one of the nicest independent drivers on the circuit, but also one of the hardest running. He may not have the best equipment, but he has proven that he can beat the best in the sport. This is the newest victory in what is still a young career.
Will Bigfoot go after the record, and try to take it back? Chances are yes.
However, on the first day of September in 2013, it can clearly be stated that Joe Sylvester is now the holder of the monster truck long jump record. At least in this instance, a bad habit turned into being a good thing.