There was little doubt that Travis Pastrana would successfully recreate three of Evel Knievel's most famous jumps all in one evening (despite History Channel's marketing for the Evel Live event), but there is always the chance that it could go wrong. A crowd of 25,000 spectators gathered at two locations in Las Vegas to witness the feats firsthand, while millions watched globally on History. Most were there to witness the Nitro Circus ringleader soar over 52 crushed cars, 16 buses, and the infamous fountains at Caesars Palace in three well-planned jumps. Some wrung their hands, secretly waiting for a rag-doll crash like those that befell Knievel so many times, crushing his bones and motorcycles into twisted wrecks. Pastrana sailed through the air three times to cheers and gasps from the crowd, nailing the landing to thunderous applause—even from those hoping for disaster.

Clearing the fountains
Travis Pastrana jumps the third and final jump over the fountains at Caesars Palace during Evel Live.Nils Ericson / © A+E Networks, LLC

After a short testing session in Southern California in June, Pastrana stepped of the Roland Sands Design-prepared Indian Scout FTR750 ready for the jumps in Vegas. It was nearly three weeks till he threw a leg back over a trio of Airtrix-painted machines for for a go at the three jumps in the space of three hours on live television. With pressure comes mistakes, and a globally televised event on a major cable network has weight that would cause most to come unraveled. But for Pastrana, he took it all with the ease that he takes most of his feats. With a smile, a thumbs-up, and a cracked joke.

Pastrana clears 52 crushed cars
Pastrana sailed a distance of 143 feet to clear 52 crushed cars in the first jump of Evel Live.Justin Dawes

It goes without saying he stomped each jump with little drama once he set off from the starting area. The first jump over 52 crushed cars was the flattest trajectory, touching down at 143 feet and besting Knievel by 23 feet. Sixteen buses were next and was dispatched with a flight of 192 feet. Couldn’t make it a too-perfect 199, Travis?

Pastrana clears 16 busses
The second jump of Evel Live cleared 16 buses and 193 feet.Chris Tedesco / © A+E Networks, LLC

Nearing the end of the scheduled broadcast, Pastrana sailed over the fountains in the opposite direction that Knievel had attempted and flopped in such spectacular fashion. The original plan was to fly in the very same path, but a couple of trees blocked the original route and Caesars’ management was not keen on Nitro Circus firing up the chain saw. A few more buildings had also been added to the property since 1967. Once again, nothing but success and the Strip exploded in pyrotechnics and applause. One hundred forty-nine feet traveled with a stylish stoppie at the end of the ramp for good measure.

Travis Pastrana
Pastrana is very much a showman, pulling stoppies and wheelies pre- and post-jump.Jeff Allen
Pastrana takes a dip in the fountains
Pastrana took a dip into the fountains at Caesars Palace after successfully landing the last jump of the night.Justin Dawes

The spectacle that was Evel Live lived up to the hype. Although not many questioned that the golden boy of action sports could pull it off. He faithfully recreated the style, the showmanship, and the excitement that was Evel Knievel. And he went bigger. Knievel would have approved. Probably.