Freestyle MXer pays tribute to childhood idol

History was made last July 9 2018 as former Freestyle Motocross champ and rally driver, Travis Pastrana recreated three of motorcycle Hall of Famer and legendary stuntman Robert Craig “Evel” Knievel Jr.’s stunts – all in one night of spectacular performances.

Travis Pastrana replicates 3 of Evel Knievel’s stunts – all in one night

Wearing Evel’s trademark jumpsuit, the 34-year old Pastrana successfully leaped over 52 crushed cars (43.6 meters) and 16 Greyhound buses (58.5 meters) riding an Indian Scout FTR 750. Capping the performance, Pastrana then proceeded to Caesar’s Palace to jump over its world-famous fountain (45.4 meters, same motorcycle). “To be able to get a police escort on the Las Vegas Strip, I mean c’mon,” said Pastrana, after clearing the famous Caesar’s Palace fountains in the opposite direction and with a shorter distance for takeoff, over 50 years after Knievel famously crashed while attempting the same feat.

“It’s just such an honor to live a day in Evel’s footsteps, and literally his boots,” Pastrana added. “To be here in Las Vegas, so much of my history has been here. I proposed to my wife here, I had [the] first Nitro Circus show here. This was definitely the coolest thing I’ve ever done.”

Travis Pastrana replicates 3 of Evel Knievel’s stunts – all in one night

Travis Pastrana, the co-creator of Nitro Circus - an "action sport collective" show featuring his friends and him traveling around the world riding dirtbikes, base jumping, and performing stunts also said that he was nervous during the days leading up to the event and added, “This is all about Evel, and the coolest thing about this whole thing, all of Evel’s family is out here,”

“This is the home of the most iconic jump, one of the most iconic events that has ever gone down. And to end at Caesars Palace, to have a chance to jump the fountain.  It’s not the longest jump but it’s definitely the hardest.” said Pastrana.

Who is Evel Knievel?

Born Robert Craig Knievel Jr.(October 17, 1938 - November 30, 2007), “Evel” was a professional daredevil and promoter. He began his daredevil career to support his family back in the early 60s after a couple of failed business ventures and a stint in the insurance industry. In 1956, Knievel was taken into police custody because of reckless driving. One night, when the night duty officer came in to check the roll, he noted Knievel as “Evel” as it rhymes with Knievel. He used that moniker ever since and chose this misspelling because he didn't want to be considered "evil".

One of his many famous stunts was the 1967 New Year’s eve spectacle, where Knievel attempted to clear the Caesar’s Palace fountain but landed short, suffering from a crushed pelvis and femur, fractures to his hip, wrist, and both ankles, and a concussion that kept him in the hospital. After his crash and recovery, Knievel was more famous than ever. ABC-TV even bought the rights to the film of the jump, paying far more than would have been if they televised it live. In 1973, Knievel jumped over 50 crushed cars at the Los Angeles Coliseum and in 1975, he jumped over 14 Greyhound buses at Kings Island Amusement Park in Ohio where he held this record for 24 years.