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Travis Pastrana Will Attempt To Do What Evel Knievel Couldn't

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Next Sunday, live on the History Channel, Travis Pastrana and the rest of the Nitro Circus crew will debut a three-hour broadcast called Evel Live. During the course of three hours, Pastrana will attempt three different Evel Knievel stunts at various locations on the Las Vegas strip.


The first jump is pretty standard Evel fare; the second one-ups America’s greatest stunt man, and the third attempts to accomplish something Knievel never could. Using a specially modified Indian Scout FTR750 for the task, Travis hopes to extend his death-defying stunt legacy.

The first stunt will take place in the parking lot behind Planet Hollywood. There Pastrana will attempt to jump over a line of 50 crushed cars, surpassing Knievel’s old record. A nice warmup, to be sure.

The second stunt cranks things up a notch, just across the parking lot. Evel was well known for his world record jump of 14 Greyhound buses, accomplished in 1975 and never broken. Pastrana will attempt to increase that record to 16 Greyhounds, a taller and wider gap, approximately ten feet off the ground, and encompassing a gap of about 155 feet. If he lands this one, it’ll be a legendary feat.

Finally, the last stunt is a mega jump over the fountains in front of Caesars Palace. Travis will ride his bike through Las Vegas by police escort from the first location to Caesars for the stunt, all live on television. As you may recall if you were around when Evel attempted this jump in 1967, it didn’t end well for him. Pastrana hopes to be the first person to land this jump.


Allegedly, on the morning of the jump, Knievel walked into the the casino to place a $100 dollar blackjack bet, which he lost. He then stopped by the bar and got a shot of Wild Turkey and then walked outside to attempt history. For unknown reasons, the bike slowed slightly on the run up the ramp, causing Knievel to come up just inches short, casing the top of the landing, and tumbling down to the ground. The failed landing resulted in his hospitalization with a broken pelvis and femur, as well as hip, wrist, and ankle fractures. Worst, however, was the severe concussion that kept him in a coma for 29 days.

The Indian motorcycle Pastrana will use is a similar V-twin model to what Knievel used to ride, except it now has about twice as much power. Compared to Pastrana’s usual dirt bike steeds, the Indian carries an extra 100 pounds. He will be using this week to become accustomed to carrying that heft. We’ll see if he’s got what it takes to be the new Evel next weekend. The festivities begin on the History Channel at 8PM Eastern on Sunday, July 8th.

Pastrana is no stranger to performing under pressure. He set a new world record for jumping a car on New Years Eve in 2010, did a backflip from one barge to another on the River Thames last year, won his class at Pikes Peak last weekend, completed the first double-backflip in X-games competition, and he’s also broken essentially every bone in his body.

Can he land all three of these jumps without injury? We’ll see in a week’s time.

Correction: This story originally said Pastrana will attempt to jump 18 cars in the first attempt; he will actually try to jump 50, surpassing an old Knievel record.