Wild man Travis Pastrana is gearing up to recreate three of Evel Knievel's greatest motorcycle jumps in three hours for a live TV special. And as part of the tribute, he's going to be jumping an Indian Scout FTR750, a motorcycle almost as inappropriate for the job as Knievel's old Harleys.
Evel Knievel still probably reigns as the most famous motorcycle stunt man of all time. But if anyone can lay claim to second place, it's got to be Travis Pastrana. Like most of this generation's high flyers, Pastrana credits Knievel as being one of his greatest inspirations. But in terms of sheer achievement, Pastrana has surpassed the old legend many times over.
He's a full-blown adrenaline junkie with an extreme flair and feel for anything with wheels, racking up championships and medals in supercross, motocross, freestyle motocross and rally driving. He's taken pole in a NASCAR, finished fifth in a WRC Class N race, and backflipped monster trucks.
The fact that he's made it to the ripe old age of 34 is a very happy surprise, given that he's been jumping out of planes without parachutes, setting world records for ramp-to-ramp rally car jumping, and backflipping motorcycles on a daily basis for decades now.
Indeed, Pastrana's Nitro Circus calls his "Pastranaland" property in rural Maryland "one of the greatest (if not the greatest) action sports playgrounds in the world." It's a giant compound with skate parks, motocross tracks, RZR tracks, and all the ramps, foam pits and airbags you could possibly need to perfect things like the world's first triple motorcycle backflip. There is arguably no human alive who has spent more time doing crazy, crazy stunts and living to tell the tale.
So, if anyone's fit to put on a full-blown Evel Knievel tribute show, Travis Pastrana is your guy. He's planning to re-enact three of Knievel's most iconic motorcycle jumps in three hours in a live TV event in Las Vegas.
He'll jump the fountains at Caesar's palace like Knievel did in 1967, jump 50 crushed cars like Evel did in 1973, and jump 14 greyhound buses as Knievel did in 1975, setting a record that stood for 24 years before somebody was stupid and/or skilled enough to break it.
Viewed against Pastrana's achievements, these feats would seem a little trivial. Bikes and preparation have come a long way since the bad old days. In order to balance some of that out, Pastrana is planning to use a streetbike that's almost as inappropriate for the job as the 750cc Laverdas and Harleys Knievel used for his jumps.
Pastrana's choice of bike is the Indian Scout FTR750, a flat-track race bike with a 109-hp (81-kW), 750cc v-twin motor that's about as far from a freestyle motocrosser as a WRC car is from a monster truck. No weight figures are available for these puppies, but it's no stretch to suggest it'll be about as heavy as a motocross bike with a passenger on the back.
Nothing in the press materials suggests that Pastrana's team is planning to replace the FTR750's 43-mm conventional forks and rear Ohlins monoshock, either. In our estimation, you'd need to be barking mad to do these long freestyle jumps on stock boingers, but then "barking mad" might as well be Pastrana's middle name, and by any stretch you'd have to call the Indian a ton safer than a 70s-era XR750.
This'll be a fun event. It'll go live on the History Channel on Sunday, July 8th at 8 pm US Eastern/5 pm Pacific time.
Oh, and if the thought of this stunt has got you pumped up on Evel Knievel nostalgia, you might want to take a trip back to 2016, when Eddie Braun and Scott Truax teamed up to complete Knievel's most famous failed endeavor, the Snake River canyon rocket bike jump. New Atlas was there to film the attempt when it happened.
Source: Indian Motorcycles
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