In the world of Xtreme sport, there are many individuals who have performed countless daring feats beyond the pale, but none have been doing ridiculously dangerous things for the very first time, and pulling them off, as long and as consistently as Travis Pastrana. On New Years Eve, Pastrana pulled off the world's longest car jump at the Red Bull: New Year. No Limits Party (where else), in Long Beach California. Not only did he break the existing mark of 171 feet, he set a new world record of 269 feet, extending the world record by 43%. After being the first to attempt a backflip jump on a motorcycle in competition, Pastrana was beaten to achieving the feat but has since been the first to achieve a front flip, the first to achieve a double backflip, not to mention being the first person to jump out of a plane without a parachute, B.A.S.E. jump into the Grand Canyon off a motorcycle and the first (and quite possibly the only) person to ever backflip a kid's tricycle. He's also won national motocross and car rallying titles. Travis, we salute you!
Travis Pastrana seems to have been blessed with a rare combination of acute healing power, extraordinary reflexes and coordination, the ability to overcome rational fear and an almost inhuman tolerance to pain. Now it might be easy to write Pastrana off as a crazy adrenalin junkie, but his victories in several types of national race series validate his extraordinary abilities. In 2000 he won the A.M.A. 125cc National Motocross championship, the most hotly contested motocross championship in the world behind the world championships themselves, and he represented America in the Motocross des Nations. In addition to countless X-Games Gold medals, perhaps his most extraordinary "conventional" feat was achieved when he decided to go car racing. He was immediately competitive at a national level in rallying a Subaru WRX Sti and picked up three consecutive Rally America championships driving the Subaru.
The difference between being a one-stunt-crash-and-burner and a rally champion is about as far as you can get - driving a rally car to a national series win requires the ability to stay close to the edge for hours, even days at a time, without ever making a mistake that could rip a wheel off and put you out of the event.
The world of freestyle motox is too young to have any credibility on the world stage of established sports, but his efforts at the Red Bull: New Year. No Limits Party means he has been shining ever-so-brightly for a full decade now, even though he is remarkably, just 26 years of age.
The best athletes of the decade are now being considered, with names such as Usain Bolt, Roger Federer, Michael Schumacher, Valentino Rossi and Tiger Woods being mentioned - all of them arguably the best ever in their sports. In our book, Travis deserves a place amongst those greats.
A century from now, when television sport has established itself as the only proprietary and scheduled news, and hence amongst the most valuable IP in the world, Xtreme sport will be very popular and Pastrana will be seen as one of its founding fathers, equally as valid as a public sportsperson as the Tiger Woods, Michael Schummachers and Roger Federers of today.
Perhaps our favourite quote about Travis comes from his ex-Marine dad: "He's without doubt the best thing that ever happened to me in my entire life. I'm sure gonna miss him when he kills himself."