Albuquerque’s Bennie Martinez takes a flying leap into world record book

Last Updated: 22 August 2014
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Albuquerque’s Bennie Martinez sets the world record for the longest UTV ramp jump earlier this summer. (Courtesy of Peter Gonzales Photography)

Albuquerque’s Bennie Martinez sets the world record for the longest UTV ramp jump earlier this summer. (Courtesy of Peter Gonzales Photography)

Bennie Martinez grew up in Albuquerque with this notion that he could secure a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.

He recently turned 40 and realized he had not made it.

So he looked in his garage, grabbed his utility vehicle (UTV), headed out to a landfill and took care of that little piece of business.

Well, perhaps it was not as simple as that.

There were calculations to conduct – math and physics kind of stuff. The UTV had to be properly designed. There were equipment considerations. There was a wife to placate.

But first, he had to decide what he wanted to do.

“I wanted to do something fun,” Martinez said. “And not something like holding a donut over my head.”

Martinez is president of MCT Industries, an Albuquerque business that manufactures equipment for the federal government: trucks, trailers, etc. So he has dabbled in machines and machinery much of his life.

“I grew up riding dirt bikes,” said Martinez, who went to La Cueva and New Mexico State.

“So that sort of thing comes natural to me. The UTV interested me because that has to do with dirt and ramping something.”

Plus, he already owned one.

The record of 105 feet through the air had been set by Tanner Godfrey competing in the Nitro Circus stunt show. Nitro Circus is a tour that spawned a TV series and film revolving around the world of dirt bike racing, base jumping and stunts.

In November last year, Martinez began designing a ramp, making his calculations.

“I knew I had to jump it perfectly,” Martinez said. “If you’re off, even 2 mph, it can throw you off 15 to 20 feet.”

He figured the jump would have to take place in warmer weather, with no wind, rain or cold. In May, he contacted Guinness, telling it he would make his attempt in June.

To verify an event, Guinness sends official observers – in this case surveyors and recorders.

Martinez would get one official jump to break the record.

On June 26, Martinez headed out to Albuquerque’s Southwest Landfill with his Stock Polaris UTV.

“I was excited,” Martinez said. “Nervous. I knew my calculations were right. I knew the physics were there. I knew I had the proper equipment.”

He had even taken a couple of practice runs and was hitting 115-120 feet.

Still, for the official jump, he did not let his wife, Molly, nor his two boys, Diego, 7, and Dyson, 5, attend. Even while preparing for the event, he never told Molly how far of a jump he was attempting.

“It is very dangerous,” Martinez said. “If you’re off a few miles per hour, you can overshoot the ramp. If you land on a flat surface, you could snap back in half. If you don’t know how to control the vehicle in the air, you could flip. … There’s a very tight margin you’ve got.”

On the official jump, there was a bit of a head wind. But the jump went perfectly.

Guinness recorded it, and finally verified it.

Martinez had set the world record at 106 feet, 8.64 inches.

When he got home that night, he told Molly: “Guess how far I went?”

She punched him.

He figures Nitro Circus will eventually attempt the regain the record.

“I would imagine they’re going back to the drawing board,” Martinez said.

If his record is broken, would he attempt to get it back?

“I don’t know,” Martinez said. “I couldn’t say I would or wouldn’t. A piece of me says my deal is done. I have my certificate.

“I have kids to feed.”

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