For Ross Mercer, snowmobile jumping is an art.
“It’s creative — he’s come up with his own unique style,” said Red Bull spokesman Lubor Keliar.
Mercer just set a world record for the longest snowmobile ramp jump, soaring 80.3 metres.
The Yukon sled junky performed the jump at a snowmobile terrain park in Colorado on Sunday. He is now heading home, with four wheels on the ground.
“He’s driving and his cellphone’s broken — I’m hoping he’ll call,” said Keliar, who’s wearing out from answering media questions.
Instead of growing up with traditional mainstream sports, Mercer lived on a snowmachine, first in the BC mining town of Cassiar, then in Whitehorse.
“He realized his career early,” said Keliar.
“He had this natural talent.
“He’s very comfy in the air.”
Mercer and his souped-up sled have travelled the world, competing in numerous freestyle sled-X events.
He was just in Slovenia a week ago, said Keliar.
And he’s competed in Moscow’s Red Square.
Keliar was certain Mercer travelled with his own sled.
But he wasn’t sure how he gets it overseas.
“It definitely doesn’t go on a ship,” he said.
“I think he flies with it.”
Several months ago, the hotshot rider started talking about setting a new world record, and began preparing.
Mercer used a smart process, said Keliar.
“It’s not just gun-it-and-go.”
Over the course of a weekend, Mercer began with smaller jumps.
Starting off going roughly 80 kilometres an hour, he’d leave the ramp and soar as far as he could, then he’d pull the ramp back, give his sled a bit more gas and get a little further.
“It’s all math,” said Keliar.
“And he was landing smoothly the whole time.
“But Ross has lots of experience in the air and he was minimizing his risks to the fullest extent.”
But even in the air, there’s still plenty to consider, said Keliar.
Mercer has to manage the weight of his sled, the wind, his speed and the temperature. He used a radar gun to help chart his progress.
“The radar gun was used because we started close up and then moved back 10 feet at a time, keeping careful track of my speed and making sure there was no surprises,” said Mercer in a release.
“It was very systematic, and I didn’t have a bad landing the entire time.”
For his record-setting jump, Mercer left the ramp at more than120 kilometres an hour, and surpassed the previous record by 5.7 metres.
“I just went as fast as my sled would go, and I exceeded my expectations,” he said in the release.
“My goal today was 250 feet, but going into this I really didn’t know what to expect.
“Once you get out here, those numbers get pretty big when you’re trying to do them on a snowmachine.”
Mercer is en route to Whitehorse.
“I’m looking forward to going home, celebrating and resting,” he said.