Galion’s ‘Madman’ soars to success at the county fair
By Matt Echelberry
After the dust settled, The Madman emerged from his hot rod wearing a jumpsuit resembling something out of Evel Knievel’s closet and walked toward a grandstand full of cheering fans. He removed his helmet and waved to the crowd, completely unharmed after landing a jump that spanned the distance of seven minivans. For Michael “The Madman” Porter of Galion, his stunt on July 16 was a dream come true.
At the fair on Monday evening, Porter prepared to do something he had never attempted. Before the anticipated stunt, he thanked his brother, Dave, for building him his first ramp. “That’s what got me to this point,” he said.
With his lucky bobble head doll beside him, Porter drove his car around the race track several times, and each pass he made sent the crowd into a roar. They wondered when he would climb the ramp and launch through the air to the ramp on the other side. When he finally had enough speed and the vehicle was lined up just right, he made the jump and landed safely, with plenty of clearance.
A trail of dust spit out behind the car as Porter eased to a stop on the track. He then did a victory lap and coasted back up the ramp, then let the car roll down to a final stop.
Porter walked to the front of the grandstand with his bobble head and, after being checked by paramedics, was greeted by a wave of adoring fans. He signed autographs and posed for pictures amid the hugs and praise.
He announced that he felt great. “I just did what my mechanics told me to do. I had to tuck in my body for the landing and everything went right,” Porter explained.
It is important to note that numerous safety precautions were taken for the event. The angles and distances of the ramps were carefully measured and Porter tested the ramp with the car to calculate the necessary speed for the jump. Fire trucks and EMS crews were standing by in case anything went wrong.
When asked what was going through his head while going up the ramp, he said that before getting there, he was worried about the surface of the track being too slippery. After he passed it and prepared for the jump, he told himself “Let’s do it.”
A grandstand packed with fair goers witnessed Porter’s madness. But for him, the madness was simply living a dream.
Matt Echelberry is a reporter for The Galion Inquirer.