x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Top 5: Strange vehicles that jump

The most famous jumps attempted by a variety of vehicles, some more successful than others.

The 5.5-tonne vehicle sailed into the air, over the motorcycles, and hit the lip of the landing ramp, shearing off the front wheels.
The 5.5-tonne vehicle sailed into the air, over the motorcycles, and hit the lip of the landing ramp, shearing off the front wheels.

School Bus

Sure, it's easy to jump 20 school buses with a motorcycle; try the other way around. In 1980, before a Nascar Busch race in Tennessee, Jimmy "The Flying Greek" Koufos brought his modified yellow school bus up to speed and headed for the ramp. The 5.5-tonne vehicle sailed into the air, over the motorcycles, and hit the lip of the landing ramp, shearing off the front wheels - but Koufos was safe. Just before the jump, Cale Yarborough, the famed Nascar racer, said: "I wouldn't get out of the electric chair to be on that bus."

Rocket-powered motorcycle

The most famous daredevil in the world needed a new challenge. Jumping his Harley in arenas and at casinos was getting dull for Evel Knievel, so, in 1974, he lined up a rocket-powered motorcycle over the lip of the Snake River Canyon in Montana for a jump that was intended to be the biggest stunt ever. The press were there to cover it but, as the rocket fired and Knievel sailed off, his parachute shot out early, and he floated down into the canyon. But he got what he wanted: notoriety.

Hot Wheels truck

Well, not exactly; the truck was purpose-built for an attempt at the world record, but the ramp was made to look like the famous Hot Wheels toys. Just before this year's Indianapolis 500, a mystery driver sent the truck down the orange, 10-storey ramp, gunned the engine and hit another ramp to sail in the air for 101m, making it the longest jump on four wheels ever. After the perfect landing, the driver got out to reveal himself as Tanner Foust, a renowned drift driver and star of the US version of Top Gear.

Monster Truck

Last year, Joe Sylvester's first attempt at the jump record didn't go so well; during practice and with a new 1,200hp engine in the truck, he overshot the landing ramp, tore off a front wheel and cartwheeled five times. But it wasn't enough to deter the American, and he and his crew put the 4,600kg truck back together in time for the main event later the same week, where, on a second attempt of the day, he flew in the air for 63m, a new world record.

Boat

James Bond chases are always spectacular, but this one was even more so - unintentionally. For the 1974 film Live and Let Die, Bond, played by Roger Moore, steals a boat to escape the henchmen of Dr Kananga in the Louisiana Bayou. He jumps the Glastron boat over a breakwater for a distance of 33.5m, which made it a world record at the time. The chase boat was supposed to make the jump too, but the waves from Bond's Glastron sent it crashing into a police car, and the scene was kept for the film.