WEST SPRINGFIELD – The man who broke a crucial record set by the late Evel Knievel will appear at this year’s Springfield Motorcycle Show on Jan. 16 and 17 at the Eastern States Exposition grounds.
Doug Danger jumped Knievel’s own 1972 Harley-Davidson XR-750 over 22 cars breaking a key record of the late motorcycle daredevil.
Danger explained to Reminder Publications that Knievel inspired him as child to start jumping motorcycles, something he started in 1979. He became friends with the legendary record holder and now has embarked on an effort to complete the jumps and establish the records that eluded Knievel.
He emphasized that he isn’t doing the jumps, such as the records for jumping buses or tractor-trailers, to “best” Knievel, but rather to help him.
“He had dreams and I’m helping him finish those dreams successfully."
Breaking Knievel’s record of jumping cars last August as part of the annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, ND, on Knievel’s own bike “went beyond the dream.”
Danger said he tested the bike jumping 15 cars at a rally in Texas and realized the vintage Harley was not fast enough. To achieve the life he needed the bike had to go 80 miles an hour, something he believed might be difficult to achieve.
To compensate he changed the angle of the ramp, but he recalled looking at the speedometer as he was racing toward the ramp and realizing he was only going 78 miles an hour.
He recalled he thought, “I’m a dead man if it [the bike] lands on me.”
Danger made the jump, though, and he said the record would be both in his name and Knievel’s.
Although he had made other jumps on Knievel’s bike, the cost of using it is very high – the Harley is valued at $350,000.
Danger is not only planning what he hopes will be record-breaking jumps of buses – he has to jump over 16 of them – or tractor trailers – 15 of those – he is in discussions about attempting to do one more piece of unfinished Knievel business of jumping the Grand Canyon.
Knievel failed in his attempt to jump the Snake River Canyon and Danger is working on that jump.
An inspirational speaker, Danger speaks about drug use. He survived Stage Four cancer and said, “Truly I believe that this was the reason I was saved.”
He said he is looking forward to appearing at the motorcycle show as he has very find memories of appearing at the Big E in several different thrill shows.
“I’ve lived an incredible life,” Danger said. “Evel Knievel gave me a dream.”
Besides exhibits from vendors, the show will also feature a build-off competition, a motorcycle fashion show and a “Rockabilly Bike Babe” contest run by the All American Angels. The audience with vote by applause for their favorite contestant and public participation is invited.
On exhibit will be hundreds of motorcycles including two displays of antique bikes, one from the Springfield Museums and the other from the Antique Motorcycle Club of America. Show dates and times are: Jan. 16, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Jan. 17, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults, $5 for children ages 6 to 12; children 5 and under are free.
For more information and adult discounts, go to www.osegmotorcycle.com.