Fairfax man performs record-breaking wheelie

August 22, 2010|By JULIE E. GREENE
  • Gary Robert Harding set an unofficial Guinness World Record for a nose wheelie on a full-size motocross bike Sunday at the Mason-Dixon Dragway.
Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

Gary Robert Harding was confident he was going to break the Guinness World Record for a nose wheelie on a full-size motocross bike.

He must have been confident his girlfriend would say "yes" to his marriage proposal, too.

Shortly after setting an unofficial Guinness World Record on Sunday at the Mason-Dixon Dragway, Harding thanked the crowd and then turned to his girlfriend of 3 1/2 years, got down on one knee with a ring, and proposed.

"She said 'Yes,'" yelled Harding's father, Gary M. Harding, of Hedgesville, W.Va.

The younger Harding, who grew up in Hedgesville and lives in Fairfax, Va., said he is a creative person, so he thought his girlfriend would expect a creative proposal.

"Everybody knew about it but me," said Brittany Willey, who changed into a new shirt that read, "Soon to be Mrs. Harding."

Harding's attempt to break the nose wheelie record got a late start thanks to rain Sunday morning.


After one failed attempt, Harding appeared to break the 188-foot record by a few yards.

Harding later said the failed attempt was a practice run and he broke the 188-foot record during all six of his official attempts. The shortest one was 201 feet, he said.

His best attempt of the day will be submitted as 282 feet, Harding said.

The men measuring the attempt came up with measurements of 282 and 284 feet.

Harding said they would submit the distance with the lower number, 282 feet, so there's no question about him making that distance.

"I think, under the circumstances, it couldn't have gone much better," Harding said.

The Hagerstown area received 0.12 inch of rain Sunday morning, according to local weather observer Greg Keefer's website at

The dragway is east of Hagerstown.

Around 11 a.m., the original start time for Harding's attempt, the dragway was damp to the touch and had a few small puddles on it.

A couple of vehicles made numerous passes along the dragway with blowers to help dry out a lane for Harding. A man walked along the lane with a rag, appearing to absorb water off the asphalt.

Harding made his attempts around noon, in front of more than 200 people. In addition to friends and family, the dragway was hosting its annual All-Ford event, which can draw 1,200 to 1,800 people depending on the weather, said Elmer Wachter, dragway owner.

Harding said he had to use a stock motorcycle, so he removed some things from the bike he uses for racing, a Kawasaki KXF 250, so he could use it during his record-breaking attempts.

The bike has Nobby tires, which are used for dirt-track racing, he said. The tires aren't meant for asphalt, let alone wet asphalt, he said.

The official Guinness World Record for longest nose wheelie (manual) on a motocross bike is 188 feet, according to an e-mail from Sara Wilcox, spokeswoman for Guinness World Records. That record was set by Andy Bell on Nov. 17, 2008, at Godfrey Trucking/Rocky Mountain Raceway in Salt Lake City for the MTV show "Nitro Circus."

To prove Harding's claim of breaking the record, his team will submit video footage, media accounts and notarized statements from those measuring the attempts and from the track owner, Harding's father said last week.

"If somebody beats it, then I'll try to beat theirs," Harding said Sunday.

Harding said he also expects to attempt to break another Guinness record. He didn't yet know which one, but said it, too, would be motorcycle-related.

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