Robbie Knievel, daredevil son of Evel Knievel, dies at 60

CBS NEWS – Robbie Knievel, son of legendary stuntman Evel Knievel, has died at the age of 60. Knievel died of pancreatic cancer after being in hospice for three days.

“It was expected,” his brother, Kelly Knievel, told CBS News. “He was in Reno with his three daughters by his side.”

Known as “Kaptain Robbie Knievel,” Robbie Knievel had his own daredevil career with 350 jumps and 20 world records. Knievel was married once and divorced, his brother said.

Evel Knievel died in 2007 at the age of 69 after years of battling diabetes and pulmonary fibrosis … read more. 

Robbie Knievel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Born May 7, 1962
Butte, Montana, U.S.[1]
Died January 13, 2023 (aged 60)
Occupation Stunt performer
Known for Motorcycle jumping
Parent(s) Evel and Linda Knievel
Website legendofknievel.com

Robert Edward Knievel II (May 7, 1962 – January 13, 2023) was an American daredevil and son of stunt performer Evel Knievel. He has also used the code name “Kaptain Robbie Knievel”.

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Robbie Knievel was the son of the stuntman Robert “Evel” Knievel and his first wife, Linda. The third of four children (two boys and two girls), Knievel was named after his paternal grandfather. Knievel has two daughters, Krysten and Karmen. He also has a granddaughter and grandson, Analise and Kane.

Knievel began jumping his bicycle at age four and rode motorcycles at age seven. At age eight, he performed his first show with his father at Madison Square Garden.

At age 12, he was on tour with his father, where he would perform in the pre-jump shows. Knievel attended Central Catholic High School in Butte, Montana between 1975 and 1976, but he never graduated. He wanted to lengthen his jumps, but his father disapproved. Knievel then went solo after his dad’s approval.

Comparisons with Evel Knievel

Knievel’s jumping career is markedly different from his father’s, in that Robbie, up until 2009, used high-performance Honda CR500 motocross bikes that have been designed for jumping. Evel made most of his record-breaking jumps using a Harley-Davidson XR-750 motorcycle. The XR-750 is a significantly heavier and less agile motorcycle than the CR500 because the Honda is a motocross bike whereas the Harley is a flat-track racing motorcycle.

Robbie has made and often replicated Evel’s jumps (including Evel’s 1967 Caesars Palace crash) with the exception of two of his father’s major accomplishments: a Harley-Davidson XR-750 jump and the Snake River Canyon jump using the X-2 Skycycle.

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Although never attempted, Robbie stated that he would use a XR-750 to clear a record-breaking 16 buses, three more buses than his father attempted at Wembley Stadium in 1975[5] (the current record for jumping a Harley-Davidson XR-750 is 15 buses, currently held by Bubba Blackwell). Additionally, Robbie stated that he would attempt to re-create his father’s 1974 failed rocket jump over the Snake River Canyon near Twin Falls, Idaho.[6]

Leather jumpsuits

Knievel used red, white, and blue V-shaped jumpsuits, similar to his father’s famous white leather jumpsuit. Throughout his career, Knievel had three notable variances in the jumpsuits:

  • A white jumpsuit with a red V lined with white stars: Used as a teenager touring with his father.
  • A white jumpsuit with a blue V lined with white stars and a removable cape: Used throughout his professional career.
  • A black jumpsuit with a white V lined with blue stars: Used in 2009 for the Las Vegas Mirage jump and promotional photos for the possible XR-750 Wembley jump. A second black jumpsuit with a white V lined with red stars was used in promotional photographs in 2010 and 2011 but not used in a jump.

Daredevil jumps

Robbie completed over 340 jumps, setting 20 world records.

Televised jumps

Knievel had several jumps televised live, including the Caesars Palace jump, the building-to-building jump in Las Vegas, a jump over a moving train, a jump in front of the volcano at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, and the Grand Canyon jump.

Televised jump | Air date | Details

Caesars Palace jump
April 14, 1989
To pay homage to his father, Knievel jumped the Caesars Palace fountains in 1989. The jump took place 22 years after Evel Knievel failed to clear the fountains in 1967. Knievel landed safely and became the first to successfully jump the fountains. Following the jump, Knievel stated, “that was for you, Dad”.

Daredevil Duel jump
July 10, 1993
Knievel challenged British motorcycle stuntman Eddie Kidd to a world title ‘jump off’ competition in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi . Knievel had deemed Kidd to be the only jump rider in the world worthy of challenging him. The event was televised as a $19.95 pay-per-view event titled The Daredevil Duel, Knievel vs. Kidd. The competition required each rider to make three motorbike jumps, with the cumulative distance covered by each rider calculated to determine the winner of the contest. Kidd took the winner’s belt by out-jumping Knievel by 6 feet (1.8 m). Knievel said he had hoped for a ‘rematch’ with Kidd, but three years later, Kidd retired after sustaining serious injuries in a motorbike accident, so the opportunity for Knievel to win the title belt back from Kidd was never to be realized.

30 Limousines jump
February 24, 1998
Knievel attempted a record-breaking jump of 231 feet (70 m) over 30 limousines. The jump took place at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas. Similar to the Caesars Palace jump, Evel Knievel was also present to support the jump.

Building-to-Building jump
February 4, 1999
Knievel jumped the 130-foot (40 m) gap between the two 13-story Jockey Club towers in Las Vegas. To avoid falling off the second tower, Knievel intentionally crashed his motorcycle into hay bales.

The Grand Canyon jump
May 20, 1999
The Grand Canyon jump was one of Knievel’s most famous jumps. The jump was partially based on Robbie’s father’s desire to perform a Grand Canyon jump, yet would end up doing the rocket-propelled Snake River Canyon jump. Robbie jumped his motorcycle for a personal record of 228 feet (69 m). However, Knievel lost control of the bike on landing and broke his leg in the ensuing crash. He was originally scheduled to make this jump on April 29, but bad weather forced him to postpone it for three weeks.

The Train jump
February 23, 2000
Knievel jumped over a moving locomotive at the Palestine Park Depot in Texas. Knievel approached an oncoming Texas State Railroad locomotive No. 400 travelling at 30 mph.[15] Knievel reached the ramp at a speed of 80 mph. While Knievel was in midair, the locomotive destroyed his launch ramp.

The USS Intrepid jump
July 30, 2004
Knievel jumped over five military airplanes on the Deck of the USS Intrepid in New York City. The jump was to promote the TNT TV movie, Evel Knievel.

The Mirage Hotel jump
December 31, 2008
Knievel was scheduled to jump the volcano at the Mirage Hotel. At the actual 200-foot (60 m) jump, Knievel gave the appearance of jumping the volcano, but limited the stunt to a ramp-to-ramp jump in front of the volcano with fireworks behind him.

Performance jumps

In 1996, Knievel jumped over 10 limousines at the Lake Elsinore Storm Stadium celebrating the return of the Elsinore Grand Prix.

In 2003, Knievel jumped 15 Diet Pepsi trucks at the Chinook Winds Casino. In late March 2006, Knievel jumped from one barge to another in Jacksonville, Florida and in late July 2006, he made a triple tribute jump to his father Evel at Evel Knievel Days in Butte, Montana by jumping the Batmobile, four huge flame throwers and a 1959 era Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

On March 18, 2007, Knievel jumped an assortment of military vehicles at the North Carolina Auto Expo in Raleigh, North Carolina. Soon afterwards, he appeared in a nationally broadcast commercial for Holiday Inn Express. On June 9, 2007, he appeared in Wilmington, Delaware and successfully jumped $4.8 billion in bogus money representing the amount of interest paid to the customers of ING Direct. In August 2007, he was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in Sturgis, South Dakota and made a jump at the Buffalo Chip campground.

Knievel successfully jumped over 24 Coca-Cola Zero truck cabs at The Kings Island Amusement Park outside Cincinnati, Ohio on May 24, 2008. The jump took place 33 years after his father, Evel Knievel, made daredevil history by jumping over 14 Greyhound buses at Kings Island. At age 46, Knievel landed a few feet short on his safety deck over the 23rd truck. The jump mirrored his father’s 1975 record-breaking whereas Evel successfully jumped 14 buses on a Harley-Davidson XR-750 and also landed on the safety deck.

Knievel successfully jumped on June 7, 2008, at the Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth, Texas. He cleared 21 Hummers on the front stretch of the speedway. He originally was going to jump 25 Hummers. However, there was a strong sustained headwind the evening of the jump.

While performing pre-jump wheelies at the LCO Casino near Hayward, Wisconsin on August 16, 2008, Knievel fell off the bike and slid into some hay bales, dislocating his shoulder. Despite his injury, he performed the jump clearing four small airplanes and a small helicopter.

On October 31, 2008, Knievel successfully performed two back-to-back jumps in Nashville, Tennessee to promote a glow-in-the-dark paint. Knievel ended 2008 with a New Year’s Eve jump at the newly renovated volcano at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas. The stunt was advertised as jumping over the top of the Mirage’s volcano, however, Knievel limited the stunt to an approximately 200-foot (60 m) ramp to ramp jump in front of the volcano.

Knievel claimed the false promotion of a jump over the volcano was decided by the Mirage Hotel, which did not want to tear down some palm trees or have its valet parking affected. The live Fox television special marked the 8th live special in Knievel’s career.

Knievel’s last jump was held on October 29, 2011, in Coachella, California at the Spotlight 29 Casino. Knievel jumped 150 feet (46 m) over tractor trailer trucks.

Business ventures

In mid-2005, Knievel starred in A&E the TV series Knievel’s Wild Ride. Knievel also was to co-star with Lee Majors in a pilot series called Hollywood Stunts that featured greats such as Spanky Spangler, Matthew Phillips, George Nelson and Ron Nix.

In 2006, Knievel opened a new business called Knievel’s Custom Cycles, based in Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey. Business ventures were conducted through the company, Knievel Motorcycle Manufacturing Inc., which sold different custom motorcycles and various Knievel clothing items.

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