Six Great Jumps on a Harley-Davidson
Since the invention of the motorcycle, daredevils have pushed the limits of what can be done on two wheels. From the early days of the notorious Motordrome aka “Murderdrome,” to the modern day Isle of Man TT, the most fearless adrenaline junkies have turned to the motorcycle to satisfy their need for speed. Then you have riders who decided that motorcycles should fly through the air. The advancement of motorcycle technology has led to the exciting sport of motocross with dirt bikes doing things the founders of Harley Davidson likely never imagined possible. Dirt bikes opened up the door for a variety of stunts that you can’t do with street bikes. However, you have to appreciate the American spirit of seeing a select few stuntmen crazy enough to jump a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
While this is by no means a complete list, here are six influential jumps that have been done on a Harley-Davidson.
1. Evel Knievel
The list must begin with Roger “Evel” Knievel who started it all. Evel Knievel was an American icon who captured hearts around the world with his stunts. Despite numerous broken bones throughout his career, Knievel continued to push forward to go faster and farther with each jump. On October 15, 1975 at Kings Island Theme Park, Evel Knievel set the original Harley-Davidson jump record by jumping 133ft over 14 Greyhound buses. He was riding a Harley-Davidson XR750. Knievel held this record for 24 years.
2. Bubba Blackwell
On Dec 18, 1999 Bubba Blackwell beat Evel Knievel’s record jumping 157ft over 15 Greyhound buses. Blackwell performed the stunt across the street from the Stratosphere Hotel in Las Vegas for a TV show called, “I Dare You.” He was riding a Harley-Davidson XR750.
3. Seth Enslow
Seth Enslow of the Crusty Demons broke Blackwell’s record on March 02, 2010 in Sydney, Australia. Riding a highly modified Harley-Davidson XR1200, Enslow launched 183.7ft. He still currently holds the world record for longest jump on a Harley-Davidson.
4. Doug Danger
On August 06, 2015 Doug “Danger” Senecal beat Evel Knievel’s record for number of cars jumped on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Doug Danger jumped 22 cars at the Buffalo Chip during the 75th Anniversary of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The best part… he was riding Evel Knievel’s original Harley-Davidson XR750.
5. Rusty Butcher
Mark Atkins aka Rusty Butcher hasn’t broken any distance jump records on ramps; he dances to the beat of his own drum. Atkins has one goal in mind, to “Make Sportsters Great Again.” Mark Atkins is an innovator that has shaped the culture of backyard hooligan stunts on Harley-Davidson motorcycles. With his brand (Rusty Butcher) influence on social media, he has inspired a generation of Harley owners to convert their bikes into trackers built for jumping, racing, and stunts. On May 12, 2015 he turned heads around the world when he jumped over a busy freeway on-ramp on his 2001 1200cc Harley-Davidson Sportster. I believe one day people will look back at this as the jump that changed it all. Rusty Butcher continues to progress the sport for Harley-Davidson stunt-style riding. This year, Mark Atkins is hosting the first “Tracker Cross,” a motocross race for Hooligan style bikes. Building off the growing popularity of flat track racing, this course will include jumps and rollers.
6. Cole Freeman
When most people hear the name, “Harley Davidson” they most likely don’t think of a 750cc motorcycle. But, you just don’t see a lot of people doing stunts on the big touring bikes because of their size and weight. They were designed to comfortably cruise across the country, not to fly through the sky. Cole Freeman of the Ill Conduct Stunt Team just changed the game as the first person in documented history to jump a Harley-Davidson Road Glide from ramp to ramp. On January 28, 2017 at Fort Worth Harley-Davidson, Freeman successfully jumped his 2015 Harley-Davidson Road Glide 40ft. He intended to jump 60ft, but a 17mph head wind caused him to shorten the distance. It’s exciting to see what the future holds as Freeman and other stuntmen continue to break records on Harley-Davidson’s.