As a boy I was awestruck by Evel Knievel and his stunts he did on his motorcycle and the jumps he made. In comparison, modern freestyle motocross riders and daredevil riders are jumping further and higher than he ever did, however they are using modern machines that are much lighter and more powerful per pound weight…but also the technology for frames and suspension is night and day when comparing like for like.
That’s why Evel Knievel is still held in such high regard because he was able to achieve motorcycle jumps with technology that really wasn’t up to the task.
Fast forward to the modern day and one of my favourite modern daredevil/freestyle riders from the last 15years or so is Travis Pastrana who has been there and seen it all in term of motorcycle acrobatics.
So when Travis set about to recreate three of Evel Knievel’s most notorious jumps in Las Vegas this last Sunday evening…all in one evening and using the same kinds of flat tracker Indian heavy motorcycles that were prepared and designed by notorious ex racer and custom bike designer; Roland Sands…many would think it could not be done.
First up was the 52 crushed car jump at over 120 feet which he completed with a breeze on the Indian weighing in at some 340lbs. Second was the 16 bus jump which he flew a near 400lb Indian bike over 140feet…and finally the Ceasars Palace fountain jump which he only had 200ft of run up to complete the jump.
Travis Pastrana not only emulated Evel’s achievements, he surpassed them by jumping further and higher on the same kind of machine with the same weight disadvantage too. Dressed in similar signature Evel leathers and cape, Travis wowed the Las Vegas crowd and TV audiences around the world. The mere fact that anyone would even try to do this with such a machine is incredible in itself, however attempting all three jumps in one evening, one after the other…is pure testament to the skill and singular focus that Pastrana has.
As an adult I hold such acts of skill and heroism in the highest regard, not only because I know it’s something I could never do but also because of how difficult this is both in term of physical and mental exertion.
Evel may have passed away but his spirit lives on in Travis Pastrana…an amazing achievement by this daredevil rider. Three jumps successfully completed in one night on heavy Indian machines that really have no business flying through the air. The highs and lows with every breath, a hopeful and expectant crowd…a TV audience glued to their TV sets, waiting for the cheers or the jeers.
Travis delivered in spades and he should be proud of his achievements. Only one word to describe this…Amazing!