Milton man establishes record for fastest wheelie on ice

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Sunday, February 6, 2011
— On Saturday afternoon, Ryan Suchanek, Milton, established the world record for fastest motorcycle wheelie on ice.

Suchanek, 29, rode his Kawasaki ZX-10 sports bike on one wheel while traveling 90 miles per hour for 200 meters down a path of ice on Lake Koshkonong just outside of the Sunset Bar & Grill, Fort Atkinson.

Let’s review: That’s one wheel. High-powered sports bike. 90 mph. On ice.

The feat will put him into the Guinness Book of World Records.

Your first question will probably be, “Why?”

The answer?

Because Suchanek has ridden through his whole adult life vertically—both literally and metaphorically.

Suchanek and his stunt team, Vertical Mischief, take their sports bikes to a variety of venues ranging from racetracks and parking lots to stadiums and hockey rinks.

Even after Suchenak lost part of one of his legs in an accident, he continued to ride. Ironically, he wasn't doing some kind of nutty stunt when the accident happened. He was riding home from work when he collided with a Chevy Lumina. He hit it head on, launching himself through the windshield.

The car was totaled.

In an interview after the accident, he said that although he had lost part of his leg, he did not lose his love of riding and his passion for performing.

Last year, he performed in the X-Games. He has performed overseas as well.

But back to Saturday.

On most winter weekends, the frozen patch of Lake Koshkonong is home to a looping track.

Motocross bikes, four-wheelers and other winterized recreational vehicles race around its slick corners.

For Suchanek’s attempt at the record, however, a wide path of ice had been cleared for several hundred yards straight out from the boat landing.

Suchanek had been out inspecting the ice Friday and early Saturday.

“I’ve been on the ice at hockey rinks,” Suchenak said. “This ice is different.”

No kidding.

Hockey ice is put down in smooth layers. Lake Koshkonong’s ice freezes intermittently, depending on currents and other factors. The result is a surface that is more or less smooth in spots, and knobby and uneven in others.

“You don’t want to hit a bump going that fast,” Suchanek said.

He originally thought he’d try for 100 mph, but on Friday had downgraded to 80 mph.

“I’m getting married in June, and she told me I’m not allowed to die,” he said.

His highly modified bike has specially designed tires with Klod Kutter ice racing screws.

The screws have been used for years in motocross racing, but for sports bikes they’re new and had to be modified.

They look like sheet metal screws, and are angled differently in the front and rear tires to give the bike the right kind of traction.

After taking a few test runs, Suchanek hit 85 mph.

Friends were enlisted to shovel snow farther back from the starting point so Suchanek could get more speed for the required 200-meter wheelie.

That was all it took for Suchenak to hit his mark.

Because he was establishing a record for Guinness in a category that didn’t exist before, Suchanek had to adhere to a rigorous set of standards both for performing the stunt and recording it. The event was filmed, a radar gun was used, and he even had a camera attached to the front of his motorcycle.

Last updated: 4:24 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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