Behold the Wheelie King.
Japanese scooter legend and self-proclaimed Wheelie King, Masaru Abe, 33, has set a new world wheelie record, managing to keep the front wheel of his Yamaha Jog scooter aloft for a wrist-numbing 499 kilometres (310 miles). Abe set the record this week at the Kawaguchi Auto Race circuit, north of Tokyo. The previous record, set 25 years ago, was 330 km (205 miles).
Abe is also known for aviating the front wheel from a dead stop and riding pirouettes until the fuel tank runs dry. Which raises (but doesn’t beg) the question, how did he maintain the record wheelie for such a distance without running out of dino juice? Simple. A support vehicle riding alongside provided him a fuel container that plugged into a quick-release dry coupling on the handlebar.
Abe had been aiming to travel a full 600 km, but had to call it quits after 13 hours in the saddle because the discomfort of maintaining a wheelie had become too much for him to tolerate.
"That was the most pain I’ve ever felt. Both of my arms were numb from the pain and I had lost feeling in them," Abe reportedly said afterward. "My vision was blurred... I was only partially conscious. I was completely dehydrated. I’d never experienced that before."
Mono-wheeling records seem to be increasingly popular. Readers will recall world trials champion Dougie Lampkin riding the 60.67-km Isle of Man circuit on the rear wheel last year. Then there’s the wheelie speed record, set by Dutchman Egbert van Popta last year at 343 kilometres per hour (213 miles per hour). Should you be tempted to try this at home, you didn’t read it here first.