It was just last year that West New York resident Angelo Del Monaco set a world record by having 100 motorcycles ride across his body in seven minutes.
But that was not enough for the daring stuntman, who recently broke his own record by having a total of 128 motorcycles ride across his tummy the same time.
With nothing but a wooden plank and some padding protecting his 5’5″-foot, 144 lb. frame from the wheels of screeching Harleys, Del Monaco staged this event with the sponsorship of his friends at the motorcycle parts shop Pit Stop in North Bergen, owned by Dennis Vargas and Remax Realty.
“I haven’t grown physically, but I have grown mentally and spiritually,” said Del Monaco. “Now I know people are thinking, ‘What is this man talking about when he does these crazy stunts?’ But that day I wanted to give a message, particularly to the presidents of Lebanon and Israel: ‘Life is beautiful. Why kill each other over oil and land?’ To me that’s crazy.”
As an added bonus, Del Monaco will be forever immortalized as part of the Ripley’s Believe It or Not family.
“It’s not every day you get to see someone run over by 128 motorcycles,” said Lon Casey, director of franchise, attractions and operations for Ripley’s museum in Atlantic City. Now, remnants of Del Monaco’s 28-year career will be on permanent display in the museum.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not, which no longer airs its TV show, still publishes daily cartoons for hundreds of newspapers all over the world.
Del Monaco’s stunt career, which began in his native Ecuador, has garnered international acclaim from audiences and recognition in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Not like the last time
Del Monaco felt that this time was more difficult.
“The plank was a lot heavier than the last time, and I also think my friends on the motorcycles got heavier,” Del Monaco joked.
The wooden plank was three feet in width and 18 feet in length, and weighed approximately 150 lbs. In addition, rain from the day before had soaked the plank, which made it feel even heavier.
“When they first placed it over me, I thought – ‘I can’t do this. If I can’t withstand the plank, how can I withstand the pressure of the bikes?” said Del Monaco.
Del Monaco was definitely feeling the pressure of once again having over 100 motorcycles with combined weights of 600 to 800 pounds per bike passing over him.
“By the 52nd bike I wanted to get up,” said Del Monaco. “The motorcycles stalled on top of me, and I felt a pressure like I thought my ribs would fracture and I was gasping for breath.”
However, Del Monaco persevered.
“It was only a few seconds, but it was a very difficult few seconds,” said Del Monaco.
‘Believe It or Not’
But why do this again?
Del Monaco feels this is just his job, and it is what he gets paid to do. There was also the added incentive to become apart of the incredible establishment of Ripley’s Believe It or Not, which highlights individuals from around the world who have displayed unusual and unbelievable talents.
“We’ve known about Angelo for awhile,” said Casey. “We even published a cartoon about him awhile ago.” Casey added, “He has numerous records that he holds, and he was able to give us artifacts [such as his helmet, bicycle, and uniform] from these records that will become a permanent part of the museum.”
“To be a part of the Ripley Family is something incredible,” said Del Monaco. “I am one of the latest individuals to enter the Ripley Museum, and I live to tell the tale.”
As part of his newly established partnership with Ripley, Del Monaco will also be participating in Ripley’s current worldwide competition entitled “Dear Mr. Ripley,” where they will look for the best Believe It or Not stunt in the world.
“We will be giving out awards for the best Believe It or Not,” said Casey.
Del Monaco has secured a future with Ripley, but is nowhere near retirement for now. He is already planning for his next stunt, but the project dear to his heart that he hopes to accomplish is making a movie about his life that he hopes will inspire others to pursue their dreams despite adversities.
“I feel that I can be an example for a lot of people, that when you strive for something you can achieve it and with the help of God,” said Del Monaco. “God has prepared me for all these things in my life.” HERE COMES THE PLANK – In preparation for the stunt and ensure Del Monaco’s safety, he was fitted with waistbands underneath his uniform, as well as some additional padding with t-shirts before laying the 150 lb. wooden plank across his body. Photo credit Mario Valladares