Videos & Gallery: Travis Pastrana lands three Evel Knievel jumps
Travis Pastrana pays tribute to Evel Knievel, recreating three of his most iconic feats during the spectacular History event “Evel Live” – exceeds two of Knievel’s most famous records and lands Caesars Palace Fountain jump, 50 years after Knievel’s legendary crash, in front of an estimated 25,000 fans watching in-person from Las Vegas and more tuning in live on television across North America and the world.
“I’m thrilled to have had this opportunity to honour Evel Knievel, whose guts and showmanship created the foundation for action sports,” Travis Pastrana said afterwards. “Evel pushed himself and flew further on a motorcycle than anyone thought possible. So with this modern day tribute we wanted to bridge generations – from my parents generation who was inspired by Evel to the generation after me who may not know much about the original stunt men who paved the way – The History Channel and Nitro Circus wanted to show just how incredible his accomplishments were. To be able do that in Las Vegas and at Caesars Palace, where Evel’s legend was born, is so awesome.”
In just three hours and under the pressure of a live TV broadcast, Pastrana first topped Knievel’s 1973 jump over 50 crushed cars by soaring more than 44 metres in the air over 52 vehicles. Then he surpassed Knievel’s 1975 jump over 14 buses, flying nearly four stories high and covering a jaw-dropping 59 metres to clear 16 modern-day Greyhound buses.
In order to make room for the massive setup these jumps required the production teams from History and Nitro Circus to take over the space behind Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, Paris Las Vegas and Bally’s Las Vegas.
Afterwards, Pastrana took to the streets with a police escort to ride to the Caesars Palace jump site. Fans quickly lined Las Vegas Boulevard, exchanging high-fives with Pastrana from taxis and the side of the road as anticipation for the finale built. The motorcade quickly closed The Strip.
Then Pastrana faced the Caesars Palace fountain jump that nearly took Knievel’s life a half century ago after his infamous crash. As if that wasn’t daunting enough, given the expansion of Caesars Palace since Knievel’s ill-fated attempt, Pastrana had only a 60-metre run-up to accelerate to the 115km/h speed necessary to clear the fountain. Pastrana also had to contend with stifling heat reaching 39º C and, just before the event, potential thunderstorms. Even in ideal conditions and if he hit his speed marks perfectly, Pastrana would land with just a few feet to spare. But, after arcing over the fountains, Pastrana touched safely down on the landing ramp to the roaring crowd and a flash of pyrotechnics.
This electrifying event paid tribute to Evel Knievel in every possible detail. From Pastrana riding a Indian Scout FTR750, a modern day evolution of the flat track motorcycles of the past – and very different from the modern-day dirt bikes Pastrana usually rides – to the white leather suit and helmet decked out in American stars and stripes just like Knievel’s classic livery, these specifics illuminate how much Knievel achieved and the impact he has had on generations of fans.