Sunday was a historic night for Travis Pastrana, who successfully replicated three of Evel Knievel’s motorcycle stunts.
“Pastrana is very good,” said local world champion Bob Duffey. “I don’t have all the broken bones. I’ve only crashed four times.”
Duffey won the world championship motorcycle jumping contest in 1977. Born and raised in Las Cruces, he knows all the risks of the sport.
“Any jump you do, I don’t care how many times you’ve done it, there’s always that slim possibility,” Duffey said.
He said Pastrana made it look easy.
“That’s the whole key!” Duffey told ABC-7. “The hype and building it up and making it seem like you’re going to kill yourself.”
Duffey said his popularity doesn’t rival Knievel’s because he rarely crashed: Only four times in the 1,217 jumps he’s taken.
“I didn’t crash so much, so I didn’t get the fame,” Duffey said.
Duffey holds several records, including the first person to pop a wheelie backwards. He also has the world record for the longest jump ever done without an engine (106 feet). Duffey has a “quarter mile drag strip record” for riding a motorcycle backwards at 11.71 seconds at 122 miles per hour, he told ABC-7.
After winning the $20,000 world championship check in 1977, he used the money to buy his family motorcycles.
At 68 years old, Duffey’s motorcycles aren’t collecting dusting. He hopes to set the land speed record for riding backwards, even if he crashes.
“You got to set the bar fairly high so it’s not broken the same day,” Duffey said with a smile.