Starting out the new year with a motorcycle jump record, Robbie Maddison of Australia made a leap of 322 feet, 7 1/2 inches at the Rio Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas. Although I don’t follow this sort of thing, reports say it’s double what the late Evel Knievel managed in his career. Maddison plans to double even this new record and wants to build a special jump motorcycle powered by a MotoGP engine to do it.
Although this new record is one helluva long jump, jumping for distance isn’t really a competitive sport, it’s a show so unless Maddison builds up more name recognition, Knieval will be better known for a long time to come. Evel Knievel was a showman or performance artist, a motorcycle was incidental. With far more limited television viewing options available in years past and no Internet, his jumps were a big deal and many people watched even though they had no particular interest in it. He built up expectations among viewers who never thought anyone could jump very far on a motorcycle and then among viewers who were waiting for the inevitable crash that was bound to come sooner or later. Today, far longer jumps will attract a far smaller audience because there are other viewing options and more things to do, besides, jumping 300 or even 600 feet doesn’t amaze the masses anymore, they’re on to other things.
I give Maddison a lot of credit for knowing what he wants to do and following through with his plans which is a lot more than many people can say. At 26 he can still heal fast if he has a bad landing, I just hope he ends his career on a winning note.
Link: Robbie Maddison