On a summer evening at San Bernardino International Airport, four-time X Games medalist Vicki Golden turned up the heat even higher, breaking the motorcycle firewall record during HISTORY’s epic television event, “Evel Live 2.” Produced in partnership with Nitro Circus, Golden rode through 13 flaming boards during the live broadcast, surpassing the previous mark of 12 that had stood since 2007. In addition to the national TV audience and fans watching from the stands, champion motocross rider Axell Hodges, sidelined following a crash while training for his massive distance jump record attempt, cheered Golden on as she made history with her daring achievement.
“Riding is my passion, so to have the opportunity to set a world record while honoring legends like Evel Knievel is incredible. They have set the standard for decades and I couldn’t be more proud to follow in their footsteps,” Vicki Golden remarked afterwards. “I only wish that Axell could’ve had his own opportunity to make history. He had his jumps dialed and was primed to take two more records tonight. I share this with him, though, and know he’ll be back at it very soon.”
Travis Pastrana, who made global headlines last year with his tribute to Evel Knievel in the debut “Evel Live” event, co-hosted tonight’s sizzling sequel. With Golden now also in the record-breaking club, the action sports icon had high praise for Golden and her death-defying run. “It’s a huge day in two ways: first, Vicki Golden being the first woman to not only attempt but break this record, which had only ever been attempted by male riders before. And second, having so many of the greats out here to be a part of this, to pay tribute to the past and show the future.”
The conditions Golden faced were quite simply death-defying: 13 wooden boards stood before her, stretched down an 850-foot track. Once those wooden walls were ignited, Golden had to battle through 30-foot flames exceeding 2,000 degrees, smashing through them with the front wheel of her motorcycle and the crown of her helmet, all while gusting winds sweeping across the tarmac at 20 miles per hour threatened to engulf her path in a firestorm.
For Golden however, these were not the first challenges she had to face in her trailblazing career. Already the first female athlete to qualify for the prestigious motocross and supercross racing circuits as well as medal at X Games, Golden was the first woman to confront the firewall record. From her big entrance, flying into the airport riding on a helicopter, through a series of speed tests before it was go time in front of a national TV audience, she was determined to achieve her goal. All in all, it was a great day for women, with Golden’s triumph echoing the U.S. Women’s National team’s Women’s World Cup Final victory earlier.
The motorcycle that Golden rode on the historic evening was an Indian FTR1200 S, similar to both the championship-winning FTR750 race bike that Travis Pastrana jumped in “Evel Live” last year and inspired by the v-twin motorcycles that Evel Knievel rode during his legendary stunts. With a 1203cc V-Twin engine, 120 horsepower and 87 ft-lbs of low-end torque, the FTR1200 S withstood the scorching heat, powering Golden through the flames and into the record books.
“Evel Live 2” shifts HISTORY’s third-annual Car Week into high gear and launches a week-long line-up of new programming on the network. Car Week’s full programming slate available here
Following “Evel Live 2,” Vicki Golden will get a well-deserved break, after not only weeks of intensive training for her historic attempt but also coming off of Nitro Circus live tours across Australia, New Zealand and North America.
“Evel Live 2” is produced by Nitro Circus. Trip Taylor, Dave Mateus, and Andy Edwards are executive producers for Nitro Circus Media Productions. Zachary Behr, Mary E. Donahue and Eli Lehrer are executive producers for HISTORY.