Maryland man replicates three of Evel Knievel's iconic motorcycle jumps



Maryland resident Travis Pastrana recently recreated several big stunts of Evel Knievel’s in Las Vegas. (John Locher/AP)

Maryland stuntman Travis Pastrana did what few have done before over the weekend.

He successfully completed three of famous stuntman Evel Knievel’s iconic motorcycle jumps at an event in Las Vegas.

To honor the legendary stuntman, Pastrana — who is 34 and lives outside Annapolis, Md. — wore a costume similar to Knievel’s, including a white jumpsuit with white stars and a blue V, plus high-heeled dress boots.

While riding an Indian Scout FTR750, Pastrana performed in the “Evel Live” event on the History Channel. As part of the show, he drove his motorcycle more than 70 miles per hour, then jumped more than 140 feet in the air and over 52 crushed cars before jumping 192 feet over 16 Greyhound buses. For his final feat, he jumped 149 feet over the fountains at Caesars Palace, according to the Associated Press.

Knievel did a similar series of jumps about 50 years ago but crashed. He died in 2007 at the age of 69.

After his feat, Pastrana called it “definitely the coolest thing I’ve ever done.”

He said that while they weren’t the longest jumps done in the world of stunt sports, they were “definitely the hardest.”

Pastrana popped wheelies while riding his motorcycle along Las Vegas Boulevard with a police escort. He gave handshakes and high-fives to the crowd.


Travis Pastrana shown doing a stunt on a motorcycle. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Locally, Pastrana is known for being an extreme sports enthusiast. He often opened his backyard to friends who needed a place to practice with their BMX, motocross or skateboarding.

He’s also considered to be a major cheerleader for extreme sports and the X Games. A 2005 Washington Post story said his extreme sports work had its costs: He’d suffered 50 broken bones, 11 knee surgeries and 18 concussions.

Tommy Passemante, who is a member of Pastrana’s action sports collective Nitro Circus, said the accomplishment was special for Pastrana because he’s “looked up to [Knievel] his whole entire life.”

“This is the greatest thing to pay homage to the greatest to ever do it,” Passemante told the AP. “There’s not a better showman that’s ever happened in the sports action industry like Evel Knievel.”

Pastrana’s parents bought him his first motorcycle when he was 4, and he started competing nationally at age 7. He won one of his first big competitions at 15 at the 1999 X Games. To celebrate, he jumped on a bike 80 feet into the San Francisco Bay.


Travis Pastrana, right, watches video of a stunt filmed at his home with his friend Mike Jones. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

But he’s had crashes too. He once missed a 130-foot motorcycle jump and crashed into a ramp at 65 miles per hour. He underwent five blood transfusions and spent three months in a wheelchair. Another time, Pastrana took a turn in a car during a competition at 110 mph and rolled it eight times. He suffered a minor concussion but walked away from the crash.

On the days he’s not competing, friends have said he skydives, skateboards, jumps buses 50 feet in the air and climbs a 30-foot rock wall at his property. And he rides a mechanical bull that’s at his home.

“Some stunts and tricks go against everything you’ve ever known,” Pastrana said in an earlier Post article. “You almost have to just stop thinking. That’s when you really make progress.”

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