Robbie Knievel remembered: Stunt riding star and son of Evel Knievel dies aged 60

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Motorcycle stunt riding icon Robbie Knievel has passed away at the age of 60 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

According to his online biography, the son of the late Evel Knievel took on 350 jumps and achieved 20 world records in his time – including leaping 231ft over the Grand Canyon on 20 May 1999 in honour of his father.

Other death-defying jumps included clearing the Mirage Volcano in Las Vegas on New Year’s Eve 2008, as well as clearing a ramp just seconds before a steam train ploughed through it, some eight years earlier.

According to multiple sources, the news of his passing was confirmed to the American Associated Press by his brother Kelly Knievel on Friday, 13 January.

Robbie Knievel last appeared in MCN in January 2010, when he wrote a guest column about his airborne career, and the jumps that remained on his hit list.

Robbie Knievel jumping a Honda CR500 in front of a crowd

He wrote: “Harleys are the worst kind of bikes to jump, which is why I never jumped them before. They’ve got five inches less suspension travel than my CR500s. That’s why dad’s jumps were typically 80-100ft. Sixteen buses is a lot longer than that.”

“There’s been a lot of jumps where I think ‘What am I doing? I’m too old for this’. Like on New Year’s Eve at the Mirage in Vegas, the ramp was so slippery I couldn’t event hold the bike on it on the brakes without slipping back. But I made enough speed on the run-up I could roll off the gas on the ramp and still make the jump. Nobody sees that shit.

“Back home I have a Harley Road Glide that I love for its cigarette lighter and stereo, but I like old British bikes too. I love the fact so many Brits showed up for my dad’s jumps, and I like spending time here.”

Other stunts performed by Robbie included clearing the fountains at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, on 14 April 1989 – flying over the obstacles on his fifth run-up in front of his father, who later said: “I am not the greatest daredevil in the world, I am the father of the greatest daredevil in the world.”

A life well and truly lived. Everyone at MCN sends their thoughts to Robbie’s family at this difficult time.

Robbie Knievel to jump 16 double decker busses

First published 15 December 2009 by Guy Procter

Robbie Knievel is set to jump 16 double decker buses in London on a Harley-Davidson XR750, on May 22, 2010.

That’s three more than his father Evel Knievel in his failed 1975 Wembley Stadium record attempt when he broke his pelvis in front of 90,000 fans. Evel was 37 at the time – son Robbie is 47. 

Robbie Knievel said, “Daredevils are a dying breed. I’m proud to have been raised by one and to be one myself. I’m looking forward to this and although my dad’s jump ended with broken bones and a lot of pain, I’m confident he’ll be smiling down on this one.”

Knievel jumps five billion dollars

First published 12 June 2007 by Rob Hull

With his world famous father Evel laid up in hospital after suffering a stroke last week, son Robbie kept the Knievel family name close to the skies on Saturday with a jump over a mountain of money – albeit fake.

The stunt, performed at the Frawley Stadium in Wilmington, Delaware, was part of the ING Direct Independence Ride. The 45-year-old stuntman comfortably cleared a 150 foot jump over huge wads of fake cash representing the £2.3 billion that ING Direct customers have earned in interest since 2000.

After landing the jump Robbie said: “I jumped over 150 feet over a pile a cash for ING Direct, the biggest internet bank. It was the first time I wanted to miss on purpose to land in the cash.

“I’ve broken about 20 bones, give or take a few, over the years, but I keep jumping to continue the name and the tradition. Knievel is the most famous name on two wheels, and we’re the last of the last, so I’m keeping up the tradition.” 

The entire event was organised by ING to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the ING Direct Kids Foundation and was made up of Robbie’s jump, live music acts and a 60-mile, 2000-bike rideout from Philadelphia to Wilmington.

Arkadi Kulmann, the President and CEO of ING Direct lead the ridout himself aboard his very own Harley Davidson. He said: “This day combined two of my favourite things – kids and bikes – and will raise money to add more independence to a child’s life.”