On July 8 in Las Vegas, motorcycle champion Travis Pastrana paid tribute to the late Evel Knievel and made sports history by surpassing three of Knievel's most famous jumps, including the jump over the Caesars Palace fountains that nearly killed Knievel when he attempted the stunt in 1967. Pastrana's history-making jumps were done in front of approximately 25,000 people in Las Vegas and televised live on the three-hour History special "Evel Live."
First, Pastrana surpassed Knievel’s 1973 jump over 50 crushed cars by soaring more than 143 feet over 52 vehicles. Then, he topped Knievel’s 1975 jump over 14 buses, by flying nearly four stories high and covering 192 feet to jump over 16 modern-day Greyhound buses. These jumps took place behind Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, Paris Las Vegas and Bally’s Las Vegas. For the show's grand finale, Pastrana drove by police escort to Caesars Palace, where he had only a 200-foot run-in to accelerate to the 70-mph speed needed to jump over the fountains. After completing this remarkable achievement, Pastrana celebrated by running to the Caesars Palace fountains and diving into the water.
Pastrana paid tribute to Knievel by riding the same motorcycle for all three jumps: an Indian Scout FTR750, a modern-day evolution of Knievel's flat track motorcycles that are much heavier than the motorcycles that Pastrana usually rides. Wearing a Knievel tribute outfit of a white leather suit and helmet decked out in American stars and stripes, Pastrana also had to deal with stifling heat that reached 102 degrees during the event. “Evel Live” was produced by Nitro Circus Media Productions in partnership with History and Caesars Entertainment.
Pastrana (who was born in 1983) commented in a statement after the event:
“I’m thrilled to have had this opportunity to honor Evel Knievel, whose guts and showmanship created the foundation for action sports. Evel pushed himself and flew further on a motorcycle than anyone thought possible. So with this modern-day tribute, we wanted to bridge generations–from my parents' generation who was inspired by Evel to the generation after me who may not know much about the original stuntmen who paved the way–History and Nitro Circus wanted to show just how incredible his accomplishments were. To be able to do that in Las Vegas and at Caesars Palace, where Evel’s legend was born, is so awesome.”