Extreme Motorcyclist Travis Pastrana Smashes Evel Knievel's Jump Records

Extreme motorcyclist Travis Pastrana has jumped further than Evel Knievel ever did in a live television event in Las Vegas - recreating three of the legendary stuntman's most famous jumps.

In each of the jumps, all dedicated to a different feat attempted by the daredevil, Pastrana made history by landing each of them successfully.

The History channel broadcast the event under the title 'Evel Live'.

Before the event, Pastrana said: "For me, this is going to be really awesome.

"All my family is coming out and so many of my friends are coming out. I literally get to live a day in Evel Knievel's boots, if you will. I'm pretty nervous. It's keeping me up a little bit at night."

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

He said he was not trying to outshine the notorious stuntman, who died in 2007, but pay homage to his legacy of wanting to go higher, farther and more dangerous than anyone had gone before.

"The only reason we're adding more is in the spirit of Evel Knievel," Pastrana said.

"He never wanted to do the same thing twice. He always wanted to push the boundaries."

Pastrana's first jump broke Knievel's record 50-car jump as he flew 140ft over 52 cars - 23ft further than the original record which was set in 1973.

Evel Knievel in action. Credit: PA
Evel Knievel in action. Credit: PA

Next he recreated the stuntman's famous 1975 jump at Wembley in which he jumped 13 disused single-deck London buses. Knievel managed the jump but failed the landing, telling the 90,000-strong crowd at the time that he would 'never, ever, ever jump again' before walking out, despite having a broken pelvis.

Pastrana took the stunt to another level, jumping 16 buses on his 350-pound (roughly 160kg) bike - flying 192ft in the process.

But it would've been the third and final jump keeping Pastrana up at night - the jump over the fountains at Caesar's Palace that Knievel never landed. In fact, it put him in a coma for nearly a month, crushing his pelvis and femur and fracturing his hip, wrist and both ankles.

Pastrana said: "This is the most iconic jump in stunt lore.

"In the history of stunts, this is the one. It's the one because Evel never landed it."

He only had 200ft of run up to get his bike up to 70mph before he launched off the ramp, soared over the iconic fountains, and landed safely on the other side.

Pastrana, who runs the stunt-based TV show Nitro Circus, said: "It's just such an honour to live a day in Evel's footsteps and, literally, his boots.

"Thank you all for coming out. To be here in Las Vegas, so much of my history is here. Proposed to my wife here. First Nitro Circus show here.

"Thank you for everyone watching, and the Evel Knievel family for coming out and making my dreams come true, and hopefully everyone enjoyed the show."

What a LAD.

Words: Nathan Standley

Featured Image Credit: PA

Mischa Pearlman

Mischa is a freelance journalist usually based in either New York or London. He has written for Kerrang!, Record Collector, NME, the New York Observer and FLOOD magazine, among others. Contact him at [email protected]

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