|In 1977 I was contracted to build a rocket powered motorcycle
to jump over 27 buses. The jump was to take place in the Montreal
Olympic Stadium the daredevil was Rick Rojatt, known as the Human
Fly. At the time Evil Kneivel had jumped over 13 buses so Rick
wanted to double the distance.
Ricks claim to fame before this jump was that he wing walked on a DC-8. He actually made 2 low flying passes over the Mojave Desert at 250 mph. Nobody really knew who the real Human Fly was because he always wore a red mask and a white cape. He played the real character of the Human Fly comic book and always walked around with his suit on so nobody knew who he was.
After meeting with the Human Fly I was convinced that he was an accident looking for a place to happen, but at the time this was how I made my living, working with Stuntman, Daredeviles and people with death wishes. The last thing that I wanted to see was the Human Fly get swatted by the hand of death.
The Human Fly in action during jump in Canada.
|At first he wanted to jump over 36 buses. In order to do that
he had to hit the ramp at well over 100 mph and continue to burn
the rocket for a couple more seconds. He would have found his
head planted through a concrete pillar if he wanted to do that,
so I convinced him to shorten the jump to 27 buses, that way he
could hit the ramp at 80 mph, but he was still going to crash.
We set up a couple of nets and a huge airbag, hopefully to stop
him before hitting the concrete wall. The big problem was that
there was no room to accelerate the motorcycle up to speed. So
we had to build a rocket power motorcycle that would sit at the
bottom of the ramp. All that the Fly had to do was press the button,
pray and hang on for dear life. It wasnt that there wasnt going
to be a crash, the fact is that there was going to be a crash.
The only question was how bad it was going to be.
The event was a part of a concert that featured Gloria Gaynor and a number of other disco stars of the 70s.
Now this is one Suped up Harley Hawg!
|I bought a brand new 1977 Harley Davidson XL-1000 Sportster. I
put 3 miles on it, yanked out the engine and built 2 1,500 lb.
Thrust hydrogen peroxide rockets. Now mind you, here is a motorcycle with 6,000-horse power. If
you took the motorcycle out to your local drag strip and opened
it wide open, that is if you could hang on and the tires didnt
fly off Im sure the motorcycle was capable of going well over
300 mph in the quarter.
I left the headlights in the cycle, the taillights everything that I could do to make it look stock, except for the 2 polished stainless steel rocket motors hanging on the back. Now, lets get back to the jump. I could not believe my eyes when the Human Fly actually showed up for the jump. I was hoping that he would get up in the morning and look in the mirror and say to himself, "Do I really want to die? Is this really a good idea? Do I really want to break Evils record" Anyways, here comes the Human Fly and his entourage, he jumped on the motorcycle and hit the button. The rocket cycle was off and running! All I can say was that it was a heck of a crash at the other end. The most amazing part of the jump was that he lived. He had a broken ankle and a couple of other minor injuries. Sometime if you ever want to hear the rest of the story buy me a diet coke when you see me.
Anyways, back to the rocket cycle, I received a call a from a stuntman friend of mine named Bubba, a real motorcycle jumper, and a heck of a good one at that. And he said that he had picked up a Trading Times Magazine in Florida and he thought that the motorcycle was the one that I built back in 1977, and sure enough it was the Human Fly cycle. I sent a friend of mine down there to pick it up for me and give John Werner, the present owner $6,500 for it. It is now resting back in my rocket shop where it started out 23 years ago. The motorcycle still is in great shape, they rebuilt it after the crash and it looks as good as new. My plans are someday to open up a museum with my space memorabilia and rocket powered vehicles that I built.
If you ever hear of somebody that wants to jump over 27 buses, I have a motorcycle that will do it, under one condition; the driver first has to see a psychiatrist.