Evel Knievel’s career as the world’s most famous motorcycle daredevil was kicked off on December 31 1967 when he tried to jump the fountain at Caesars Palace.
The jump – but perhaps more the spectacular crash and the cringe-inducing injuries it caused – set the patten for the rest of his career. He became famous overnight.
Travis Pastrana is already famous, and perhaps nearing the end of his jumping career. But now he’s got his sights on replicating the Caesars Palace jump.
What’s more, he wants to do it on a similar bike to the one Knievel used – a Triumph, not the Harley that would later become his trademark – and to undertake two more legendary Evel Knievel jumps the very same evening.
It’s all part of TV channel History’s ‘Evel Live’ event on July 8. A three-hour live-transmission show is set to include all three of Pastrana’s jump attempts. Although that seems to assume that he’ll be successful, at least in the first two.
As well as the Caesars Palace jump, Pastrana is pencilled in to leap over 50 cars. Knievel did the same (the cars were stacked, not all in a row) in 1972 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. And he’ll be attempting to clear 14 buses, replicating Knievel’s successful jump over 14 Greyhound busses in October 1975, which he did as a comeback at Kings Island, Cincinnati, after famously crashing while trying to jump 13 double-deckers at Wembley Stadium in the UK earlier the same year.
Eli Lehrer, Executive Vice President of Programming, History, said: “Death-defying feats have fascinated audiences for centuries and Evel was one of the most iconic daredevils in history whose drive, determination and boldness inspired America.
Fifty years after Evel went head-to-head with danger at Caesar’s Palace, Travis will attempt to catapult his most ambitious stunts to unthinkable heights. This extraordinary live event will certainly be history in the making.”
The event is being organised by Nitro Circus, Pastrana’s extreme sports company. Its president, Andy Edwards, said: “‘Evel Live’ is a passion project we have been working on for a long time now with Travis. We are so excited for viewers to see this thrilling event live on History as the centerpiece of Car Week.”
The three-hour show will also include interviews with Knievel’s family and archive footage of the daredevil in action. And possibly traction, too.