42 years ago daredevil Evel Knievel attempted to jump over 13 London buses at Wembley Stadium.
If you mention three words, ‘motorbike’ and ‘London busses’, people will invariably automatically say “Evel Knievel’s jump at Wembley Stadium.”
In amongst the excitement of the Football League Play Offs and the culmination of The FA Cup this weekend, we take time to pay homage to arguably the world’s greatest daredevil.
In the week of the 42th anniversary, Knievel’s son Kelly Knievel, made the trip across the Atlantic from his base in Las Vegas to come back, for the first time, to the site where it all happened and there’s no doubting in his mind why it’s still such a well-known event to this day.
“Just walking into the stadium and then going up to the height of the jump and thinking he rode down a ski jump on his bike and hurtled himself out over 13 thirteen busses which is half the length of the field out there. It’s incredible.
“When someone does something that’s never been done before, almost gets killed but gets up and walks back to the top of the ramp to address the crowd, I think that made such an impression on English and American people and I think that’s why it’s so popular.”
Knievel Snr was well known for his outrageous stunts, jumping shark tanks and the Snake River Canyon amongst other things, so when it came to partaking in an English tour he knew he’d need to do something pretty unique to grab people’s imagination ‘across the pond.’
“He wanted to conquer new territories and he was curious about seeing the rest of the world. He wanted to start off at Wembley and knowing my Dad he will have wanted to go to “the biggest, baddest place in the UK.” He wanted to jump over something so quintessentially English and he wanted to make himself known to the people of England and that’s why he started at Wembley as he wanted to start at the top.”
Fast- forward to present day and Kelly firmly believes that if alive his father would have been planning equally fantastic ideas for the new Wembley Stadium.
“As a young man he would have been thinking up new things for sure. As an older guy he would’ve said he was really proud to be here and was glad he got the opportunity to show off his Evel Knievel American self!”