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The Longest Motorcycle Jump on Record

Jul 21, 2008
What do the numbers 102.53, 66, and 346 have in common? Here's a hint - motorcycle jump record. March 29th, 2008 --- Calder Park in Melbourne, Australia was the setting, complete with a rainy atmosphere, when Robbie Madison hopped on his modified Honda CR500 motorcycle and set the world's mark for the longest motorcycle jump on record. It took him a distance of 500 meters before he hit the ramp at 102.53 mph and then went airborne to the tune of 66 feet in elevation.

When he touched down on the dirt landing ramp, he had traveled 346 feet, eclipsing the his own world's record of 322 feet that he set at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas on New Year's just as the clock struck midnight. A crowd of 28,000+ braved the drizzle and early fall temperatures (they were in the Southern Hemisphere so the seasons are the opposite) and watched their hometown hero write another chapter in the motorcycle jump record books.

Robbie's first attempt nearly ended in disaster when he just barely missed slamming into the face of the dirt landing ramp. But undaunted by the near mishap, he tried once again to set the world's mark and succeeded, much to the delight of the rain soaked fans. Fortunately, they found the experience well worth the inconvenience of the inclement weather that they had encountered in the process.

Robbie Madison is a name that has become a household word when people discuss the longest motorcycle jump on record. And he is no stranger to setting and breaking his on world records either. As was mentioned earlier, this world record broke the prior record (that he had set). Oddly enough, one year earlier to the date (New Year's 2007), the record that he set this past New Year's broke that record --- by 45 feet. The former mark of 277 feet was also set at the Rio Hotel.

Of course, when you talk about the longest motorcycle jump on record, you cannot omit the name of the man who put the sport on the map, namely Evel Knieval. This man was the daredevil's daredevil; the epitome of a combination of courage and a lack of fear, Sadly, we lost him on November 30th, 2007 when he lost his fight with diabetes and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, both of which he had been suffering with for years.

Knieval's long-time friend, Billy Rundle, was quoted as saying that Knieval had been suffering for many years and that everyone knew that he would eventually succumb to the conditions. But as Rundle was quoted in an interview shortly after his friend's death, "It's been coming for years, but you just don't expect it. Superman just doesn't die, right?" For many admirers, they had lost their idol and their hero.

But the bottom line is that even though it is considered a sport and enjoyed by millions of fans worldwide, there are still those individuals who feel that is nothing more than a group of foolhardy individuals that have no respect for life or limb. Personally, they have the right to their own opinions, but I think they are off base in their mindset about the issue. And obviously, they don't realize that it takes courage and skill to compete in that particular arena.
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