Saturday, 17 September 2016

Evel Knievel's canyon jump completed after 42 years

Stuntman Eddie Braun has completed a jump over Snake River Canyon in Idaho 42 years after Evel Knievel failed attempting the same stunt.

Done as a tribute to the man he called his hero, Braun leapt over the 1400ft canyon in a rocket almost identical to the one used by the late Knievel in 1974.

Skycycle X-2, used by Knievel in 1974, was a steam-powered rocket that had to be legally registered as an aircraft for the stunt to take place rather than a motorcycle as originally intended.

The rocket used in the stunt this time, dubbed 'Evel Spirit', was built by Scott Truax. Truax's father Robert built the original Skycycle X-2, using original blueprints with modifications only being made to the parachute system.

Months of testing for 'Evel Spirit' paid off as it worked exactly as intended.

Unlike Knievel's doomed attempt, the parachutes on Braun's rocket deployed after the 400mph jump, allowing him to glide to safety. A fault in the system used in 1974 saw it deploy early sending the legendary daredevil plummeting to the ground. However, he escaped with only minor injuries. There was no such issue for Braun this time around.

Prior to the jump, Braun, 54, told local press in Idaho: "I like to say I'm not doing something that Evel Knievel couldn't do."

"I'm simply finishing out his dream. How many people get to finish the dream of their hero?" he added.

However, he was well aware of the risks involved with his daring jump attempt. In the days before the jump, Braun reportedly asked his young son to walk his sisters down the aisle at their weddings if he did not survive the attempt.

Kneivel's failed jump in 1974 was one of the Montana man's most famous stunts, despite the fact is was a failure and it didn't make the front pages of newspapers in the United States after President Gerald Ford's infamous pardon of predecessor Richard Nixon.

Following Kneivel's passing in 2007, his sons Robbie and Kelly expressed an interest in recreating the stunt, however Braun's successful attempt has been the first. Kelly was said to have been involved with the project.

The project initially struggled to attract the necessary corporate backing to make it a reality, leading to Braun investing approximately $1.5 million of his own money. Guns N' Roses legend Slash recorded a cover of Elton John's 'Rocket Man' with his side project band 'Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators' to help raise money for the jump.

Images: Eddie Braun via Twitter (@Crsh4csh), Billings Gazette via

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