Stop The Presses: Evel Knievel To Jump Grand Canyon! | Last Page

By Jeff Karr, Photography by Motorcyclist Archives

Cape Canaveral, FL, Apr. 20—

What with all the hoo-ha about Motorcyclist’s super-sexy 100th anniversary (making us 10 years hotter than über-cougar Betty White), there’s been a lot of rooting around the offices lately in an effort to locate all things old so that they may be shoveled, willy-nilly, into the vacant pages of the magazine—and onto our surprisingly engaging website—in an effort to win your grudging bemusement with the very latest extremely old news.

So imagine our luck when, in a dream, we received a telegram from the ghost of a deceased Motorcyclist Editor-in-Chief (Bob Greene, you old dog!), still sipping 40-year-old coffee in our abandoned Sunset Boulevard offices! Are we interested in a lost press release he just found behind the toilet tank about Evel Knievel’s Experimental Skycycle? Hell yes!

So what’s the deal with the Skycycle? Isn’t that the one Evel stuck, lawn dart-like, into the near-side shore of the Snake River Gorge long-about 1974? Well, same name, but before that a Triumph-based Skycycle surfaced in the late ’60s when Evel was just starting to romance the National Park Service for permission to jump the real-deal Grand Canyon. With a nearly bone-stock Triumph, seatbelt, parachute and tacked-on delta wings, what could possibly go wrong?

A couple of things: First, the Park Service was concerned that the Triumph would hemorrhage hot Castrol all across the sacred canyon as old-school Britbikes are wont to do. Well, duh. But more troubling, Triumph threatened to void the warranty due to the addition of twin, decidedly non-Whitworth “jet” engines. Evel was a daredevil, but not a fool, and the jump was scrubbed. He made a bad bet on Ceasars Palace, instead. MC

By Jeff Karr
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