It's hard to watch Evel Knievel's disastrous and near-fatal 1967 attempt at jumping over the Caesars Palace fountain in Las Vegas. Hopefully, we won't see a repeat of his stomach-churning wipeout Sunday night.
That's when X Games motorsports stuntman Travis Pastrana will attempt three consecutive record motorcycle jumps honoring the notorious Knievel of 1960s and '70s fame. The stunts air live Sunday as part of "Evel Live" beginning at 8 p.m. EST on the History Channel.
Pastrana will attempt to re-create, in order, Knievel's famous car jump, bus jump and the aforementioned Caesars fountain. And to replicate the kind of bikes his predecessor jumped, Pastrana will do it on an Indian Scout FTR750 — not one of the much lighter motorcross dirt bikes typically ridden in the X Games events.
"The bikes that we're jumping now, they're half the weight... they're built to fly. Where, I'm jumping basically a street bike. A V-twin, 750 cc tank," Pastrana told 98 Rock in Baltimore.
The first stunt takes aim at Knievel's 1973 jump over 50 stacked, crushed cars, lined up 18 abreast, for 120 feet at the L.A. Coliseum. Pastrana will go two better by jumping the equivalent of 52 crushed cars.
Next up will be a re-creation of Knievel's 1975 bus jump — only Pastrana will attempt to clear 16 Greyhounds to his predecessor's 14. The History Channel notes that this is the jump that will require the highest speed and longest run-up.
Last is the fountain jump, the one that left Knievel with a crushed pelvis, broken left hip, right ankle, hands and wrists, in a coma for 29 days. It's 141 feet over the 15-foot high fountain at Caesars Palace. And while Pastrana won't attempt to lengthen Knievel's attempt in any way, he'll have less room to operate, with a far shorter approach and run-out, given the development that's taken place on the Caesars Palace property over the ensuing 50 years.
Pastrana, 34, is legendary for having won multiple gold medals at the X Games, and he's also a former rally and NASCAR race driver. At the X Games in 2006, he performed a world-record double backflip on a motorcycle.
It's hard to fathom mustering the cojones to do one of these jumps, let alone three in one outing. Here's hoping he's able to do all three without serious injury.