Travis Pastrana always goes big. When the History Channel approached him and the Nitro Circus crew about coming up with an idea for a televised special, it didn’t take long before the action sports star decided to pay homage to the late Evel Knievel by recreating not one, not two, but three of Knievel’s most famous jumps—and do them consecutively, about one hour apart, for a live TV show.
To really do it justice, Pastrana wanted the entire package to take advantage of technological advances yet keep the same flavor Knievel created. That called for using a big V-twin dirt track bike, so it was easy to choose the limited-production Indian Scout FTR750 that’s dominated the American Flat Track scene since its introduction at the end of 2016. To make sure they had spares in case of crashes or other issues, they employed former racer and noted custom bike builder Roland Sands to set up four of the machines identically. (That’s probably more bikes than any of the race teams has, outside of the Indian factory squad.)
In order to practice and get the bikes and ramps set up correctly, Pastrana will spend this week at a private test in Southern California and Nitro Circus invited a few journalists to see what it’s all about. “I even feel like a sissy to start with [for practicing] because I know Evel wouldn’t have done that,” he admitted. But after he finishes dialing everything in this week, Pastrana will be so busy with rally car commitments that he won’t have time to ride until he sees the bike in Las Vegas for the event on July 8, the History Channel show starting at 5:00 p.m. PDT.
When asked how his parents reacted to his decision, Pastrana laughed and replied, “If it wasn’t Evel Knievel [we were paying tribute to], my dad would probably smack me upside the head and be like, ‘Dude! When’s enough, enough?’
“But he’s like, ‘All right, I get this. This is pretty cool.’
“I think that’s what’s cool about this: It’ll bring in my father’s generation and also, my kid’s generation and hopefully cover [everything] across the board.”