Article By Ministry of Bikes
Posted on 20 Dec 2016
Evel Knievel's Best Motorcycle Stunts
Many of you will remember Robert Craig “Evel” Knievel’s crazy stunt performances which were carried out over the 60-70’s, leading to him being welcomed into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999.
It all started with Knievel’s individually planned stunt show, where he carried out numerous wheelies before progressing to jump a 20-foot box full of rattlesnakes and two mountain lions, which could have ended in disaster, had he landed an inch behind.
We thought we would take you back, by highlighting some of Knievel’s greatest motorcycle stunts, along with those that didn’t quite work out as planned.
The Caesar’s Palace fountain jump was one of Knievel’s biggest attempted motorcycle jumps at 141 feet, and the one which made him more famous than ever. Knievel tricked his way into getting an audience together outside of the casino and even made phone calls pretending to be ABC and Sports Illustrated to attract attention, as well as making an attempt to have the jump featured on live TV.
Unfortunately, the jump was unsuccessful from the moment the Triumph bike left the take off ramp, as Knievel felt the motorcycle lose speed due to a loss of power, leaving him to crash onto the safety ramp. The fall resulted in Evel Knievel suffering a crushed pelvis, fractured wrist, ankles and hip and a concussion which kept him in hospital.
Snake River Canyon
The Snake River Canyon jump also didn’t go as planned. Knievel had a “rocket-powered cycle” built for him for the jump which was called the X-2 Sky Cycle. However, during the launch of the sky cycle, the parachute deployed early, which caused the stunt to fail more or less before it had even started. Luckily, the sky cycle landed a few feet away from the water, otherwise Knievel would have drowned, as a malfunction with his jumpsuit meant he was well strapped into the vehicle.
The Shark jump only actually made it to the rehearsal stage, as Knievel lost control of the bike and crashed into one of the camera men which left the man with a severe eye injury. Knievel was greatly affected by the damage done to the camera man and cancelled the real jump into a tank full of sharks. The footage taken from the rehearsal was not shown to an audience until 19 years later when the documentary about Knievel’s life was broadcast.
Another one of Knievel’s failed stunts was his attempt to jump 13 single-deck buses in front of 90,000 people at Wembley Stadium in London. Of course, Knievel crashed, causing him to cause further injury to his pelvis and finally announced his retirement.
King Island Jump
After Knievel had recovered from his injuries from Wembley, he decided that he did not want to retire and decided that he would attempt the bus jump again, but this time with 14 buses. His landing was surprisingly successful, as he landed safely on top of the 14th bus at Kings Island in Ohio and the stunt was now recorded as his longest successful jump at 133 feet.