Jake Burton and his mega truck Wild Child are familiar with big air, but they wanted to see how far they could go this time. Burton’s previous personal best long jump was 175 feet, and he wanted to go further this time.
On May 6th, 2023, Burton set out to push his personal best and, with a 19-foot tall and a 90-foot long jump, sent Wild Child 298.42 feet. We had the chance to catch up with Burton after his record-breaking jump to get all the details.
First, we had to ask Burton how he felt after the jump to see if it beat up his body. The jump put abuse on this body, but the rolling at the end did damage as well.
“I was no more sore than I wake up every morning,” Burton said. “My left eye started to detach the retina, so I had to go have some laser surgery to glue my retina back to my eyeball. I was looking at the Racepak, and on impact, it went to negative five Gs.”
“All four front shocks, one steering ram, one four-link bar, front steering, axle housing, front driveshaft, and the fuel tank all broke after the jump on the truck. Everything in the back looks like we could wash it and do it again.”
Burton and his team wanted to do the jump right and get the measurement as accurate as possible.
“We videoed us measuring the distance out as well as measured the distance via GPS,” Burton explained. “They measured the distance four or five times to ensure everything was accurate.”
The end distance measurement of 298.42 feet is the longest Mega Truck and Monster Truck jump. Joe Sylvester holds the current Guinness World record, but Guinness World Records declined to authenticate this jump because they considered Mega Trucks and Monster Trucks the same.
Burton and his team tried to explain that although they may look similar in construction, they are entirely different and must be scored differently. Despite their efforts, they could not convince Guinness World Records of this.
A lot of science goes into a jump like this, but even more, goes into making sure the vehicle can withstand the abuse. The forces applied when jumping a truck like this aren’t seen in everyday use.
“We never had data before when jumping an 8,000-pound truck, but now we do,” Burton said. “There is a lot that goes into figuring out the suspension and being able to keep parts on the truck after a jump like this. Unlike Monster trucks, where 50 percent of the suspension is in the shocks, and the other 50 percent is in the shocks, Mega Trucks must rely solely on the suspension.”
To get the distance Burton and his team wanted, they changed some things on Wild Child compared to the standard setup.
“We changed the gears and put in an Allen Johnson TFX billet aluminum Hemi,” Burton said. “The truck has a Pro Mod Hemi engine with all the bells and whistles putting out around 2,800 horsepower. We finally got it set up with a Racepak where we can watch and record all the data.”
This jump isn’t the last for Burton, this is just the beginning, and jumps will get even further.
“The engine and setup in the truck, I believe we have 350-foot jumps in it,” Burton said. “We need more real estate for a longer run-up, but we can get bigger jumps soon.”
“We have some work to do on the truck to get more wheel travel out of the shocks and driveshaft. The angles on the shocks will need to change, but we need to find a driveshaft that won’t bind with the extra travel.”
For all the latest that Burton is up to, follow Burton and Wild Child on its Facebook page.