Imagine getting on your dirt bike and your friend hands you a blindfold, telling you to put it on. When you ask how the heck you’re supposed to ride when you can’t even see, you’re told not to worry. Your friend says he’ll “talk” you through where you need to go by using a helmet communication system. Would you do it? If you were crazy enough to say “yes”, what would you do if your friend now told you he was going to “talk” you over an 82-foot jump in attempt to break a world record? Would you still be up for the challenge?
Matt Wadsworth has been blind since birth. Born in England, he grew up riding a small dirt bike in a field by his house. Although he was unable to see where he was going, he was able to learn how to do tricks on the bike and give other neighborhood kids rides on the back. He rode this little until he was about 10 years old; at that point he gave up riding to pursue a passion for playing the guitar.
Fast forward about 27 years later. Matt is still a musician…he’s now a world-renown lute player. And Matt still loves motorcycles. About a year ago, he rode a motorcycle in an empy field on a farm just to see if he still “had it”. That led to contacting pro motocross legend Micky Dymond about coaching him how to jump. Not just any jump would do…Matt had a dream to break the world record held by a blindfolded mad who jumped 82 feet.
In effort to make this feat possible, Matt and Micky needed a way to communicate with each other so Micky could be Matt’s “eyes”, per se. They tried several different systems and ultimately chose our scala rider Q2 MultiSet Pro because they felt it was the most reliable and easiest system to use. The Q2 MultiSet Pro enables Micky to give Matt directions every second he’s on the bike.
Matt’s goal was to complete the world-record jump on December 14th at Competitive Edge MX Park in Hesperia, CA. We drove up to meet Matt and watch him do the jump. When we arrived, Matt was practicing with Micky on the flat. You’d hear Micky say, “Straight, straight, straight….left, left, left…hard left! Hard left! Now straight, straight, straight…now stop” as he guided Matt through a series of warm-up drills. What impressed us the most was Matt’s amazing sense of calm. At one point, Matt got a little off-line and headed up a steep embankment. Micky told him to stop and gave him spoken directions on how to back his bike down the embankment to safety. Matt stayed cool and calm the entire time.
After a good warm-up session, Micky guided Matt back into the pits so they could discuss the jump. As luck would have it, recent rains made a real mess of the track. Matt and Micky decided he’d still attempt the jump and see how far he could get given the rough, muddy track conditions and run-up to the jump. Matt pulled his helmet on, got on his bike, and headed over to the staging area. He ended up making several runs up to the jump. Some runs did not result in a jump attempt, but most did. Matt’s very last jump of the day proved to be the longest at nearly 59 feet.
Although Matt did not break the world record that day, the story is far from over as he plans to make another attempt in the spring with the weather will be more consistent. This will also give him more practice time. Stay tuned…we’ll be following Matt’s story and the progess he makes towards his world record jump!