The day one man made the decision to jump 13 buses, even though he was pretty sure he’d never make it.
Womaniser, drunk and massively popular, Evel Knievel was an enigma.
Whatever you may think, the man had a set of nuts as big as your head.
The scene was London’s Wembley Stadium. The date May 25, 1975. Knievel was attempting to jump 13 buses.
Ever the showman, he had the crowd jumping out of its skin as he set off…
All seemed normal as Knievel blasted down the 140-foot ramp at 145km/h, soaring four metres into the air, and miraculously clearing the 13th and lucky-last bus.
But then he had to put the aging Harley back on the deck. Oh dear.
The rudimentary suspension was never going to damp in the manner that would have kept the bike stable and poor old Evel was centre punched into the concrete (clever that, having concrete on the landing).
Rolling and flying for 45 metres the limp daredevil finally stopped, and the bike gave him a big whack just to top things off.
Knievel lay motionless with a broken hand, a re-injury of his pelvis, and a compression fracture of a vertebra.
A stretcher was called for him. He was having none of that, insisting on leaving the arena on foot.
Knievel then demanded the microphone, and dramatically announced to the crowd that they would be “the last people in the world who will ever see me jump. I will never, ever, ever, ever jump again. I am through.”
Organisers pleaded with Knievel to use the stretcher, Knievel refused again, insisting, “I walked in, I want to walk out!”
Bravo Evel. As The Seekers pointed out, we know we’ll never find another you.
Snag’s career in motoring journalism spans 29 years with stints at major bike mags Australian Road Rider, Motorcycle Trader and AMCN along with contributions to just about every other outlet worth a hill of beans. He was editor of Unique Cars magazine and hosts his legendary podcast ‘Snag Says’ when he gets off his date.