Mike Hagan is a long-haul trucker by trade, but something of a stuntman in his spare time.
For more than four years now, Hagan, a 25-year trucking veteran and OOIDA member from Whitehall, MT, has been working toward breaking the Guinness World Record for the longest farm tractor wheelie – a feat he accomplished by going 5.3 miles on his two rear tires at Elk Park, north of Butte, MT, on Thursday, July 24.
However, he said his record may not be recognized by Guinness since receiving a letter that they were resting the longest tractor-wheelie record of 3 miles set in Germany in 1995 because of safety concerns.
“It actually went better than I hoped,” Hagan told Land Line on Thursday, July 24. “I plan to submit my information to the folks at Guinness and if they accept it, that would be gravy, but I topped the record and that’s what I set out to do.”
Hagan said he decided to go for the record as a way to pay tribute to Robert Craig “Evel” Knievel, a famous motorcycle daredevil who set many Guinness World Records before his death in 2007.
Hagan shopped around for the perfect tractor for almost two years before finding the right one to break the record – a 1994 Ford 4630, 55-hp farm utility tractor. He spent another two years working on the tractor, using trial and error to figure out how to go the longest distance possible on two wheels.
“I was looking for something real specific,” Hagan said. “Some of the equipment I thought I would need, like a foot throttle, I didn’t need or use at all. Instead, I steer with my brakes and check my direction with my brakes. I had to learn how to do it with my hand throttle.”
He said his gauge wheel in the back didn’t touch the ground at all.
Hagan’s 9-year-old son, Layne, was crew chief for his dad’s record-breaking feat.
“I think it was pretty cool,” Layne Hagan told Land Line. “I didn’t really know what to think at first, but it was cool.”
Hagan said he drove on two wheels for about 30 minutes, going approximately 6 to 12 mph the entire time. He said witnesses were on-hand and plan to fill out affidavits at the courthouse to document Hagan’s achievement.
He said his next challenge is to learn how to ride on his tractor’s two side wheels, but Hagan admits his wife isn’t too keen on the idea.
“She told me I had to wait 25 years in between doing these kinds of things,” he said.
– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer