Pretty much every extreme sports star owes something to the late Evel Knievel.
While Knievel might not have necessarily been the most successful stunt artist in terms of, uh, completing all his jumps and stunts, he was among the most daring ever and inspired a generation to think bigger.
Travis Pastrana is one of those who has followed the path started by Knievel, and he paid tribute to America’s most legendary stuntman by completing – and heightening – three of his famous jumps in one evening in an event called “Evel Live” on the History channel.
The first jump Pastrana recreated was Knievel’s 50-stacked-car jump, which Knievel landed at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in February of 1973.
Pastrana, dressed in a full Evel Knievel getup, left no doubt in nailing a 52-car jump – complete with red, white and blue pyrotechnics.
“I think the hardest part was getting the whole costume on,” Pastrana joked after landing the jump.
Pastrana’s second jump was a recreation of Knievel’s (ultimately failed) jump of 13 buses at London’s Wembley Stadium in 1975.
Pastrana cleared 16 Greyhound buses – once again with the requisite pyro – firing up the Las Vegas crowd.
“Man, this is just an awesome honor,” Pastrana said of clearing two of three jumps in record fashion.
The finale was a recreation of perhaps Knievel’s most famous (or infamous?) stunt: jumping the fountains at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
Knievel attempted the jump on New Year’s Eve in 1967. It did not go well.
Knievel suffered numerous injuries as a result of the crash; though ironically the wild wipeout raised his profile like nothing had before.
Knievel would obviously recover and go on to become an American icon for his high-flying stunts. He died in 2007 at the age of 69.
Over 50 years after Knievel’s memorable crash, Pastrana cleared the fountains outside the Las Vegas casino.
Pastrana then did some burnouts to celebrate the feat.
“It’s just such an honor to live in Evel’s footsteps,” Pastrana said in wrapping up his incredible evening before thanking the fans.
Capping the night? A dive by Pastrana into the fountains to celebrate.