The Evel Live broadcast has become a favorite of fans of the motocross world – but for the second round this year, they won’t get the show many of them were counting on.
Just before freestyle motocross athlete Axell Hodges planned to break the world record for the longest motorcycle jump in history (378 feet and 9 inches, set by Robbie Maddison in 2011), he injured himself in a practice crash. With both of his ankles badly injured, there’s no telling exactly when he will be able to drive again. But of course, he’s mostly grateful to have not sustained a more severe injury.
“Having a crash ahead of something you’ve been working so hard toward just plain sucks,” said Hodges. “The team and I were making a lot of progress during testing and the distances we were approaching looked good for Sunday’s event. Unfortunately, I made a mistake in air and wasn’t able to adjust in time for landing. I’m shocked I’m not in worse shape and feel extremely grateful to have been able to get up from this crash.”
But another is ready to take his place.
Four-time X-Games medalist Vicki Golden will attempt to become the first woman to break the firewall record, crashing her Indian FTR1200S motorcycle through a series of flaming walls for the event, all filmed and aired live on television – where they’ll also include footage of Hodges’ crash.
And how does one actually prepare to break the firewall record?
“Unfortunately, there’s no good way to practice going through walls except to go through the walls,” Golden told Road & Track. “If I’m sitting upright, I could just get pulled off the bike. Debris is going to get stuck in my chest and in my lap. And, you know, if it’s on fire…that’s definitely not going to be good,” she said.
Tucked down behind the handlebars, her view ahead of her will also be extremely limited. “When you’re flying blind at 30 miles an hour, that’s pretty fast,” she said.
And in case you don’t already know…these walls are on fire. “The heat kind of gets trapped,” she said. “The fire stays with you. Once you start going through multiple walls, it’s never able to get away from you.”
“When pushing the limits of what is possible, risk comes with the territory, and the extraordinary feats which Vicki and Axell have been training so hard for contain so much risk that few riders would even think of taking them on,” said Andy Edwards, Nitro Circus CEO. “While Axell is devastated not to be able to ride this Sunday, we know he is excited for Vicki as she aims to make history.”