Evel begets Evel as the daredevil son of Knievel outjumps father's record

When, on 30 November last year, Robert Craig (Evel) Knievel died in his bed aged 69, not just America but the whole world lost a legend. He was, after all, the most daring and the most successful stuntman ever to have lived.

It seemed certain the like of Knievel, who earned his sobriquet from local police in Butte, Montana, where in his youth he had been a notorious thief and vandal, would not be seen again.

But on Saturday night, at the scene of one of the daredevil's most famous stunts, a maverick motorcyclist with more than just a sartorial resemblance to the late Knievel broke one of his most cherished records. The usurper even had the same name.

At least he kept it in the family. By jumping over 24 delivery trucks at a theme park in Ohio, Robbie "Kaptain" Knievel, aka Evel Knievel II, broke his father's record and proved himself to be a chip off the old block.

"Hopefully, I'll see you after the jump," Knievel Jnr told an enthralled crowd of several thousand before he lined up his bike and tugged at the accelerator.

He had publicly declared that he would need to be going at 95 miles per hour (153kph) at take-off for the 220ft (67-metre) jump, which began from a three-storey tall ramp at Kings Island theme park near Cincinnati.

In the trademark white overalls, a stars-and-stripes-themed helmet, and sunglasses, he successfully completed the jump, spending around two-and-a-half seconds in the air before landing to shooting flames, booming music and wild cheers of adulation from the crowd.

After his successful landing, Knievel Jnr, 46, gave the crowd a thumbs up, rode back and forth giving high-fives, and conducted a celebratory wheelie.

"He took a really hard shot at the landing," Jeff Lowe, Knievel's business partner, said. "But he's thrilled. We're all thrilled. He was a lot more nervous about this jump than he let on."

Thirty-three years earlier at the same venue, the original Evel Knievel had jumped the much shorter length of 115ft over 14 buses, in an event watched by more than half of the nation's television viewers.

Relatively speaking, it had been a more minor achievement in the extraordinary career of one of America's most beloved public figures, a man who over nearly seven decades lived his very own, leather-clad, adrenaline-fuelled version of the American dream.

Evel Knievel, whose long hair, tight trousers, shoulder cape, white leather and gold-topped cane did much to propel him to stardom, said that he rode bikes because life without them was boring. Even now, he retains a place in Guinness World Records – for the person who broke most limbs (35 in all).

In his poverty-stricken youth Knievel had sold newspapers, worked as a miner, stolen hubcaps, cracked safes, sold insurance, burgled, and run a hockey team, the Butte Bombers, before allegedly absconding with the money from their biggest game.

He turned to stunts in a desperate attemptto raise cash, jumping over boxes of rattlesnakes and mountain lions to establishing his reputation.

His two most-watched jumps were both abject failures, which only added to his appeal. In 1967 he smashed a hip, femur, wrist, and both ankles attempting to clear the fountains at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Seven years later he almost drowned while failing to clear the Snake River Canyon, a quarter-of-a-mile wide, in Idaho, having strapped two rocket engines on to his Harley Davidson.

Robbie Knievel, the third of Evel's four children, has completed more than 250 jumps, setting 20 world records along the way. He doesn't have quite the authenticity of his father, however, preferring to use specially designed Honda moto-cross bikes rather than a Harley.

But his father's patriotic instincts certainly have been passed on. Yesterday, Knievel junior dedicated his latest stunt to his father, US war veterans, and those serving in the military.

Travel
travel
News
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
Sport
sportBesiktas 0 Arsenal 0: Champions League qualifying first-leg match ends in stalemate in Istanbul
News
Jamie and Emily Pharro discovering their friend's prank
video
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Sport
Manchester United are believed to have made a £15m bid for Marcos Rojo
sportWinger Nani returns to Lisbon for a season-long loan as part of deal
News
news
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
O'Toole as Cornelius Gallus in ‘Katherine of Alexandria’
filmSadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Life and Style
fashion
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Junior DBA (SQL Server, T-SQL, SSIS, SSAS) London - Finance

£30000 - £33000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior DBA (SQ...

Business Anaylst

£60000 - £75000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: Business Anal...

Senior Project Manager

£60000 - £90000 per annum + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Global leading Energy Tra...

Associate CXL Consultant

£40000 - £60000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: CXL, Triple Po...

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment