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Thread: One Wonderful Wheelie: Robert Hensel sets unofficial record in wheelchair

  1. #1

    One Wonderful Wheelie: Robert Hensel sets unofficial record in wheelchair

    One Wonderful Wheelie
    Robert Hensel sets unofficial record in wheelchair
    October 04, 2002
    By Suzanne M. Ellis Staff writer

    Fueled by a small piece of cheddar cheese, part of a Townhouse cracker and two sips of water, Robert Hensel more than likely set the world record Thursday for the longest wheelie in a wheelchair.

    While the 6.2-mile wheelie won't be an official record until judges with the Guinness Book of Records check the documents and review the submitted information, Hensel's chances are excellent.

    "No one has ever attempted to set a record in this category," said Hensel's wife, Amy. "Nobody has ever even attempted it."

    Technically, if Hensel had gone just a few feet, it would have been a world record.

    To the music of "God Bless the U.S.A." and the cheers of two dozen onlookers," the 33-year-old Minetto resident started his 6.2-mile wheelie at 2:12 p.m. on the track at the Pathfinder Bank Community Sports Complex.

    At 4:16 p.m., after 32 laps around the track, he dropped the front wheels to the asphalt, threw his head back and grinned from ear to ear.

    Friends and family swarmed Hensel, who attempted the feat to bring attention to the need for wheelchair ramps in Oswego County. Tears streamed down the cheeks of his mother, Linda Conzone of Volney.

    "I feel great, but I feel disoriented," said Hensel, who's been training all summer for Thursday's attempt. "I still feel like I'm moving around the track."

    Before that, Hensel's longest wheelie lasted 22 laps, just over four miles. Earlier, he said he wanted to set the record at two miles.

    But as he completed lap after lap, adrenaline and the hoots and hollers of onlookers seemed to provide extra energy to Hensel, who has spina bifida, a congenital abnormality of the spinal column.

    After 27 laps, a distance of a little more than five miles, he passed the finish line and glanced back over his shoulder.

    "Cut the cake and save me a piece. I'm going another mile," he shouted to his wife.

    Joanne Talamo, an employment consultant with ARISE in Oswego, was the official lap counter.

    "This is so great that Bobbie is bringing attention to the fact that people need ramps," Talamo said. "There are people here in Oswego County who are prisoners in their homes because they don't have the wheelchair ramps."

    Surveyors from Advanced Information Systems were on site to provide detailed documentation regarding distances, and volunteers were stationed around the track to make sure no part of the wheelchair, other than the back wheels, touched the track.

    Guinness rules indicated he could stop only to retain his balance, something he didn't need to do during the two-hour trip in his flag-draped wheelchair. The chair could not be modified in any way, and that documentation will be provided to Guinness by pharmacy employees from Wayne's Drugs in Oswego who checked the chair.

    "I'm so proud of Bobbie," said Sabine Ingerson, director of the Oswego ARISE. "I love it when our (clients) take initiative and get involved in the community. Bobbie is giving something back, and it's wonderful to see."

    To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:, 330-908-0367

  2. #2
    This guy has way too much time on his hands.

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