|Daredevil Wins Chance to Try Jump Knievel Couldn't|
|By ALEXIS SHAW (@ashaw109)||Sep 28, 2013, 3:25 PM|
A Texas motorcycle stuntman will get a chance to make his dreams become a reality after he placed the winning bid of nearly $1 million for the rights to jump a gaping Idaho canyon once attempted by Evel Knievel.
Big Ed Beckley, 63, of Bridgeport, Texas, bid $943,000 to the Idaho Department of Lands for the rights to recreate Knievel's Snake River Canyon jump on the 40th anniversary of his attempt, he told ABCNews.com.
But unlike Knievel, he hopes he will be successful in the death-defying feat.
"What inspired me to get into this auction and do this jump over the canyon is because I was a huge Evel Knievel fan," he said. "I wanted to do the canyon because of a couple of different reasons. One, it hasn't been done. And I want to do it, I feel like it's going to be a huge opportunity."
Beckley said he placed the winning bid to conquer the approximately 1,600-foot-wide canyon made of volcanic rock on Friday. While he didn't plan on bidding so high, he said he couldn't back down once it got down to the wire.
"My cutoff had a one on the front of it," Beckley said. "I wasn't going there, but my girlfriend kept hitting me in the leg and said, 'Don't stop now, we have to win this thing.'"
Known as the "world's largest motorcycle jumper," Beckley's big bid earned him a two-year lease on the state land near Twin Falls, Idaho.
"It takes a year to do one of these things," he said. "We still have lots of hoops to jump through and a lot of government entities that have their hand out."
In addition to paying out the winning bid, Beckley must also pay $25,000 a year to the Idaho Department of Lands for the duration of his lease, have $10 million in commercial liability insurance and fork over a share of the event's revenue to the state, The Associated Press reported.
The daredevil said he and a team of engineers have already started working on the rocket-powered motorcycle stunt and even have a date in mind for the launch. Beckley said he hopes to ride on Sept. 7, 2014 -- just one day before the 40th anniversary of Knievel's unsuccessful attempt.
In order to prepare, Beckley and his team are planning simulations and gravity tests to ensure his super-charged bike is up for the task.
"When Knievel started to do this, he was going to use a rocket-powered motorcycle to go off this dirt mound, but then he got talked out of it when he changed engineers," he said. "I want to be in control. I do not want to be a passing pilot sitting in a rocket that I have no idea what to do with.
"I know how to ride, I've beeng riding since I was 10 years old. That part I got," Beckley said. "What happens when I get off that take-off ramp, that's what happens next."