Engineering Insanity: Watch Travis Pastrana One-up Evel Knievel at His Own Game

See 3 of the all-time craziest stunts performed by today’s most methodical motor maniac

He hasn’t done a stunt since March of 1980, but there is a reason that Evel Knievel is internationally known as the most infamous daredevil stuntmen of all-time.

And, it has nothing to do with his scientific approach or preparation.

Evel Knievel was known for his “grip it and rip it” approach to his breathtaking stunts. A friend of his described his attitude toward preparation saying, “he would show up, take a shot of wild turkey and do the stunt.” Evel did more than 140 stunts throughout his career (84 chronicled on his Wikipedia page) and was over 90% successful. It’s the 10% that made him a legend. Evel Knievel was lucky to survive each of his 11 spectacular crashes.

Three of his biggest stunts were just one-upped by today’s #1 international madman, Travis “Wonderboy” Pastrana. Pastrana has a much more scientific and methodical approach to his stunts, albeit with a similar degree of broken bones and concussions.

Travis Pastrana honored legendary daredevil Evel Knievel by attempting three of his most dangerous feats in Las Vegas, Nevada, all while riding a modern-day recreation of the motorcycle Knievel used.

Engineering Insanity: Watch Travis Pastrana One-up Evel KnievelThese include:

  1. Breaking Knievel’s record jump over 52 cars (Pastrana jumped distance of 143 ft.)
  2. Breaking Knievel’s record jump over 16 full size buses (Pastrana jumped distance of 192 ft.)
  3. Becoming the first person to successfully jump the Caesar’s Palace fountain on a bike similar to the one Knievel used 50 years ago – an attempt that ended with a crash that left Knievel grasping for life. (Pastrana jumped distance of 149 feet with only 200 ft. run-up)

The big difference between Evel and Pastrana: Preparation and Engineering.

Pastrana had a team of experts, psychologists, mechanics and scientists to ensure nothing was left to chance. The distances and elevations were carefully calculated to ensure Travis had enough speed to clear the gap. The motorcycle, was specially engineered to have 100hp more than the one Evel used, reducing risk of coming up short. The stunt was meticulously rehearsed and tested to ensure Pastrana walked away unscathed. Mission accomplished.

Check out the videos of all three stunts below!


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Adam Beck

Director of Marketing at CADENAS PARTsolutions | A Marketing graduate from the Miami University, Farmer School of Business in Oxford Ohio, Adam has years of experience in marketing and design for a variety of industries.