Motorcycle daredevils are looked at in the media as either psycho and off their meds, or as steely-eyed macho men whose only emotion is courage. Perhaps they are both. Here is a closer look at the top eight daredevil motorcycle riders.
In front of a huge audience at Chicago’s Butler Field at Grant Park, Renner launched himself 63.5 feet into the sky and into the record books as the biggest motorcycle jump off a quarter pipe and landed safely. The jump surpassed his own world record, previously set by jumping over 59 feet one year earlier.
Eddie Kidd is a famed daredevil and movie stuntman, best known for undertaking over 3,000 death-defying motorcycle jumps and doing stunt riding for the James Bond movies. Kidd famously jumped 120 feet over a railway span for the movie Hanover Street and once jumped over the Great Wall of China. Proving his toughness, he spent six weeks in a coma after an accident, but returned to the world of bike racing in 2007.
Las Vegas offers all kinds of reckless activities, but none of them compare to what the “Godfather of Freestyle Motocross” did. In front of the Caesars Palace casino, Metzger did a backflip over the Palace’s fountains, setting a world record by landing 125 feet from his point of takeoff. Surprisingly, not the worst odds in Vegas.
Son of the iconic Evel Knievel, Robbie began racing, and crashing, motorcycles at age 7. Like his dad, he has made a famous jump over the Grand Canyon and his other stunts include jumping over a row of 15 trucks, hopping over 21 Hummers, and a televised 200” dirt ramp-to-ramp jump in Las Vegas. Robbie Knievel uses a modified Honda CR-500 for his jumps, unlike his late father’s affinity for heavier Harleys.
As with any sport, there comes a time when the torch from legends of the past passes to the stars of today. Such was the case on New Year’s Eve 2007. Robbie Maddison broke the record for the longest jump on a motorbike on the 40th anniversary of Evel Knievel’s ride at Caesars Palace. Maddison dedicated the jump to Knievel, who had passed away one month earlier, at the age of 69.
The X Games are pretty much the Olympics designed by teenagers on RedBull. Pastrana has won gold medals in tons of X Games events, but none are as memorable as what he pulled off in this clip. The motorsport rider became the first person ever to do a double backflip in competition in 2006 and scored the most points in the history of the competition.
Known just as much for his crashes as his jumps, Seth Enslow is a daredevil in the classic sense. He has made more motorcycle jumps than anyone else and was jumping 200” distances between sand dunes as a teenager. When not infamously crashing, Enslow has jumped over everything, including an airliner, and broke Evel Knievel’s Harley Davidson jump record.
If there was only one daredevil, it would be Knievel. He got his first motorcycle at age 13, immediately crashed it, and went on jumping and crashing motorcycles for years with innumerable broken bones, concussions, and comas. He single-handedly made the Harley-Davidson XR-750 world famous. Like the “Captain America” chopper from Easy Rider, Knievel will be at the top of every list.