• Evel Knievel’s Harley-Davidson to Fly Again at Sturgis

The name Evel Knievel usually evokes images of a man who made a living off of death-defying stunts. With his trusty 1972 Harley-Davidson XR-750, Knievel did all sorts of things no rationale human would even attempt to do. The daredevil successfully pulled off some of the most breathtaking stunts in history. He didn’t always nail them, but for the damn sure, Knievel wasn’t afraid to try. One stunt that Knievel failed to accomplish was to jump over a line of 22 cars back in September 1972 at Sturgis. More than 40 years later, daredevil Doug Danger, an appropriate name if there ever was one, will attempt to what Knievel did back in 1972. And guess what, Danger will be riding the same 1972 XR-750 Knievel used over 40 years ago.

Danger’s stunt is scheduled to take place on August 6, 2015 at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip amphitheater as part of the Evel Knievel Thrill Show. In addition to displaying some of the legendary daredevil’s collection of curiosities, the event will also feature Danger will attempt to clear 22 cars using the iconic daredevil’s famed Harley.

Don’t be fooled by the spectacle of the stunt because at it’s core, it’s one of the most dangerous stunts anybody could ever try. Back in 2001, another daredevil tried to perform the same jump and that ended horribly for everyone involved. Danger, though, is unfazed about the difficulty of the jump, or at least he’s not showing it in front of everybody.

“This is the one jump Evel couldn’t make; he failed,” Danger said. “I know it’s dangerous, but death has had me by the throat twice in my life, and I spit in its face. When God’s ready, he’ll take me.”

Speaking like a man who has no problem admitting his lease on life, Danger’s going to attempt the stunt that not even the great Evel Knievel accomplished. Let’s all hope he succeeds because, quite frankly, any other result would be devastating for him.

Click past the jump to read more about Doug Danger’s stunt attempt at Sturgis.

Why it matters

It matters because it’s a world record and Danger would be doing something not even Evel Knievel succeeded in doing. But that’s about the only thing good that could come out of this stunt. Unfortunately, the list of things that could go horribly wrong runs really long, which is why it’s understandable to be a little concerned about the stunt Danger wants to try.

Others apart from Knievel have tried but nobody has succeeded in doing it. There’s a reason for that and even if Danger himself can’t seem to grasp it, those around him are well aware of what could happen if he fails like so many others have in the past.

Buffalo Chip President Rod Woodruff is one of them and he isn’t afraid to let people know his thoughts about the jump, calling it an “incredibly difficult and terrifying jump.”

Like everybody else, Woodruff hopes that Danger pulls the stunt off, even if he is aware that Knievel’s Harley-Davidson bike isn’t built for a jump like this. But if there’s anything we’ve come to learn about daredevils, their understanding of sensibilities and rationale human behavior are quite different from the rest of the human populace. That’s how their brains are wired. Always have been and always will be.

On our end, we can’t tell you how nervous we are for Danger, even if we understand why he’s doing it. So here’s to hoping he clears it and puts the stunt to bed after doing so.

The Evel Knievel Thrill Show will be held from July 31, 2014 to August 8, 2014 at the CrossRoads area in Sturgis, South Dakota.

Kirby Garlitos
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read full bio
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Press Release

The name Evel Knievel is synonymous with daredevil. He was the undisputed king of stunt showmanship–the man who made motorcycles fly. He enthralled audiences with his nonchalance as he faced death-defying exploits that left him with a record-breaking number of fractured or crushed bones, a permanent limp and the adoration of millions.

This August, the spirit of Knievel® will come to life at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip in a spectacular thrill show unlike any organized before. The Evel Knievel Thrill Show will consist of the largest collection of Evel Knievel curiosities ever assembled, including the Skycycle, x-rays of his numerous broken bones, the now famous “Sports Illustrated” leathers and cape, and the Mack truck show-rig he named “Big Red.”

The Thrill Show will also include a dangerous attempt at an unsuccessful Evel Knievel world-record jump on the same bike that failed Evel and ultimately lead to his defeat. On Aug. 6, 2015, daredevil Doug Danger will attempt a 22-car jump on Evel Knievel’s vintage 1972 Harley-Davidson XR-750 in the middle of the Sturgis Buffalo Chip amphitheater.
Knievel attempted a jump over a line of 22 cars on September 1, 1972 in Monroe, Washington. His crew warned that the bike would not attain the speed needed to clear the distance, but because Knievel insisted on doing the jump, they built a safety ramp over the last three cars. Knievel bounce-landed on the safety ramp and left defeated.

More than 40 years later, Doug Danger is set to attempt the same jump on Knievel’s own bike and clear the 22nd car.

Knievel’s bike has not been altered with the exception of moving a foot peg to accommodate Danger’s height. Another daredevil attempted this jump in 2001, and it ended in a horrific crash.

“This is an incredibly difficult and terrifying jump,” said Buffalo Chip President Rod Woodruff. “We are doing all we can to make sure Doug Danger lands safely, but that bike was not built for a jump like this. We really hope he can make it.”

“This is the one jump Evel couldn’t make; he failed. I’m determined to succeed where he fell short,” Danger said. “I know it’s dangerous, but death has had me by the throat twice in my life, and I spit in its face. When God’s ready, he’ll take me.”

The Evel Knievel Thrill Show curiosities will be located in the CrossRoads area at the Buffalo Chip July 31 – Aug. 8, entrance fee, paid in advance, is only $10. Doug Danger will attempt the record-breaking jump on Knievel’s XR-750 in the Buffalo Chip amphitheater on Thursday, Aug. 6. Campground day passes for Thursday will be available beginning Tuesday, Jan. 6 at 5pm at http://www.buffalochip.com.

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