Optional page text here. The Beast's Lair: Setting the Record Straight

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Setting the Record Straight

Ever since I watched my first video of Evel Knievel attempting his famous jump over the Caesar Palace fountains, I have been fascinated with motorcycle jumpers. If I had even an inkling of a daredevil streak in me (which I absolutely do not) I would have gone into motorcycle jumping, no doubt about it. Watching old Evel Knievel videos is still a great thrill for me. (Incidentally, his son, Robbie Knievel, will be attempting a jump at King's Island similar to the one his father made in 1975 over 14 buses - see below).

Motorcycle jumping has certainly changed over the years. The athletes today are incredibly educated about their sport. Whereas Evel would go on feel, jumpers today tend to be more calculating in their jumps. Hey, I don't blame them, use whatever resources you have to ensure a safe jump. Nevertheless, that was one of the things so exciting about Evel, he just came up with crazy ideas and did them.

Anyway, the point of this post is to explain something about jumping records. In motorcycle jumping, keeping track of world records is quite a chore, it seems that every major jumper these days is claiming to be the world record holder of something. But here is my pet peeve for jumping records - THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RAMP TO RAMP JUMPS AND RAMP TO DIRT RAMP JUMPS. Everyone got that? Most people, even commentators who should know better, tend to just blend the two together, but they are very separate and different kinds of jumps. The first video below is Evel jumping 14 buses at King's Island. Notice his landing ramp, it is the conventional ramp style. The second video below is a beautiful jump by professional jumper Ryan Capes (notice the video says he "smashes the world record for longest jump"). But notice the difference between the landing ramps for Evel and Capes. The difference between the traditional ramp and the dirt ramp does make a substantial difference in the kind of jump you can attempt. A cool jumpers website, www.johnnyairtime.com lists the world records for jumping and they correctly have two categories, one for "ramp to ramp" and another for "ramp to dirt ramp." Unfortunately, their numbers are out of date. As best as I can tell, the current distance record holder for a ramp to ramp is Jason Rennie at 253 feet. The current distance record holder for a ramp to dirt ramp is Robbie Maddson at 321 feet.

Now that the record has been set straight concerning the difference between these two kinds of jumps, I hope your days is a little brighter. Enjoy the videos!


Anonymous Anonymous said...


I can say this about your blog - - You never know what is coming next. =)

May 14, 2008 6:01 PM  
Anonymous Andi said...

I was thinking the same thing, and I'm his wife! :)

May 14, 2008 7:00 PM  

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