Once of the blog's readers (who signed their name as Brrr) left this astute comment on the recent Travis Pastrana Caesars Palace post, so I thought it would be worth sharing...
I'm very interested to see what kind of ramps Pastrana uses. As much as the bikes Evel used were crazy on their own, what made his jumps truly remarkable was the low wedge ramps he used. Six foot high , no transition/kicker [it looks more like 8 or 9ft, but the whole runway was raised off the floot too, so it is only five or six-feet tall - GI]. Tiny landing ramps too -- half the skill of the jump was hitting the mark on that landing ramp. The reason he crashed was he was often not able to get up enough speed to cover the distance with such a low jump trajectory. Modern jumps with higher angled ramps and curved transition give the jumper far more height, and the ability to cover large distances at much lower speeds. Not to mention they use these giant cushioned platforms to land on. A much bigger margin of error.
During a bit of research I found this Mike Metzger backflip over the fountains footage. The replay of the launch shows the difference in ramp design described above
I interviewed Metzger in Sheffield once. Nice bloke.