On Sunday, July 7th, freestyle motocross athlete Axell Hodges was supposed to attempt to break the world record for the longest motorcycle jump in history, as part of "Evel Live 2," broadcast live on History. Unfortunately, Hodges will no longer be able to attempt the record-breaking jump, after injuring himself in a crash during practice just a few days before the live TV event.
Hodges badly injured both ankles in a crash landing during a practice jump. While the daredevil avoided more severe injury, the crash puts him out of commission for Sunday's show, where he hoped to break the distance jump record of 378 feet and 9 inches, set by Robbie Maddison in 2011.
"Having a crash ahead of something you’ve been working so hard toward just plain sucks," said Hodges. "The team and I were making a lot of progress during testing and the distances we were approaching looked good for Sunday’s event. Unfortunately, I made a mistake in air and wasn’t able to adjust in time for landing. I’m shocked I’m not in worse shape and feel extremely grateful to have been able to get up from this crash."
The distance jump was set to be the grand finale of "Evel Live 2," a huge motorcycle stunt show kicking of History's Car Week by showcasing daredevil attempts to break world records. As part of the show, Hodges also intended to perform an Evel Knievel-style jump over 25 semi trucks.
A revamped version of Evel Live 2 will still air on Sunday, July 7th. Four-time X-Games medalist Vicki Golden will attempt to become the first woman to break the firewall record, crashing her Indian FTR1200S motorcycle through a series of flaming walls on live TV. The show will also feature footage of the crash that injured Hodges.
How do you prepare to break the firewall record? "Unfortunately, there's no good way to practice going through walls except to go through the walls," Golden told Road & Track in the days leading up to Evel Live 2. "If I'm sitting upright, I could just get pulled of the bike. Debris is going to get stuck in my chest and in my lap. And, you know, if it's on fire, that's definitely not going to be good," she said.
She'll be aiming for an average speed of around 30 mph. "The two points of contact are the front of the bike and my forehead," she said. "If I start going any faster, I might literally give myself a concussion." Tucked down behind the handlebars, she'll have a severely constrained view ahead. "When you're flying blind at 30 miles an hour, that's pretty fast," she said.
And did we mention these walls will be on fire? "The heat kind of gets trapped," she said. "The fire stays with you. Once you start going through multiple walls, it's never able to get away from you."
"When pushing the limits of what is possible, risk comes with the territory, and the extraordinary feats which Vicki and Axell have been training so hard for contain so much risk that few riders would even think of taking them on," said Andy Edwards, Nitro Circus CEO. "While Axell is devastated not to be able to ride this Sunday, we know he is excited for Vicki as she aims to make history."
Evel Live 2 will broadcast live from the San Bernardino International Airport on Sunday, July 7th, beginning at 9pm ET on History. Motorsports star Travis Pastrana will co-host alongside Matt Iseman, with live interviews and expert analysis from daredevil Robbie Maddison, ESPN reporter and former Miss USA Kimberly Pressler, Good Morning America's Ginger Zee, action sports analyst Jimmy Coleman, and Road & Track's deputy editor Bob Sorokanich.
A one-hour behind-the-scenes special before the show will highlight last year's "Evel Live," where Pastrana broke two of Evel Knievel's motorcycle jump records and successfully jumped over the fountain at Las Vegas's Caesar's Palace, all in one night.
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