Stuntman Eddie Braun has recreated Evel Knievel's Snake River Canyon rocket bike stunt in every technical way but one — Braun actually succeeded. He is the first to pull off the jump in the 42 years since Knievel's attempt was mired by a parachute malfunction.
Last week, Braun hopped into a rocket that was built to be as close as possible to the original and launched from a 10-storey ramp. After flying almost 610m at around 644km per hour, he safely touched down on the other side and made history.
It took three years of planning and $US1.5 ($2) million dollars of Braun's own money to achieve what may be a Guinness World Record jump. Among the crew that worked on the rocket was Scott Truax, the son of Robert Truax who was the original engineer for Knievel's team.
According to Popular Mechanics, "Truax followed his father's blueprints down to the last bolt and deviated only by updating the parachute system."
For Braun, the stunt wasn't about some sort of competition with the famous daredevil. "I'm simply finishing out his dream," he told the Idaho Statesman, "How many people get to finish the dream of their hero?"
It would seem that Truax's motivations were less about honouring Knievel than defending his father's honour. "No question!" Truax proclaimed, "Done it! Proved it! So like I said, if Evel didn't pull the shoot and didn't chicken out then my dad's rocket would have worked, so we cured history 42 years later."
While many have expressed interest in completing the jump, including Knievel's son Robbie, it seems that Braun is the only one to have made an attempt. Right before he launched Braun told reporters, "I wouldn't be doing this if I thought it couldn't be done."