20 May: Knievel vs. Canyon

Motorcycling daredevil Evel Knievel had been keen on jumping the Grand Canyon since 1968, but never staged an actual attempt. On May 20th, 1999, however, his son Robbie performed the feat on live television – and lived to tell the tale.

“I’m wiped out in the head a little”, he said, before being examined by paramedics, who applied a neck brace and flew him to the nearest hospital. 

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly consider the extent to which Knievel, Jr had been motivated by his father’s ‘death-defying’ 1970s career; explain how Knievel, Sr became named ‘Evel’; and reveal how the Hualapai Indian Tribe became a footnote in this piece of sporting history…

Further Reading:

• ‘Daredevil Knievel clears Grand Canyon on motorcycle’ (The Guardian, 1999):


• ‘Grand Canyon Stunts Over the Years’ (National Geographic, 2013): https://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/article/130622-grand-canyon-stunts-wallenda

• ‘Robbie Knievel Jumps The Grand Canyon’ (Fox Sports, 1999):