Diving gung-ho into every extreme, speed-related competitive race, rally and rendezvous on the map, the one-and-only madman on wheels -- Travis Pastrana -- has dominated the spectrum, spanning from supercross, motocross, freestyle and rally racing to kicking even more ass authenticating his on-land terrain skills as a stunt man, X Game master and NASCAR driver.
Setting his sights on a higher mission for a Red Bull promo back in 2009, he aired it out big-time jumping from a plane sans parachute for a skydive mission while decked out in a pair of surfer shorts, socks and shades.
He left Johnny Knoxville from Jackass speechless!
The 36-year-old Maryland-born maestro holds 17 multi-discipline X Game medals, of which 11 are gold. Naturally, when he was the first to land a dirt bike double back-flip in 2006, it was featured by ESPN as one of the greatest moments in Staples Center history in the city of Los Angeles. Why stop there... he also back-flipped his motorcycle into the Grand Canyon before upping the stakes with a repeat between two exceptionally tall rooftops.
Travis is the ringleader for Nitro Circus, the mega-popular "pushing limits and breaking boundaries" television series that exploded into a 3D big-screen movie and multi-continent live tour phenomenon that continues to grow and gain massive support from Australia to South Africa.
Last summer he left the world in awe AGAIN on July 8th when honoring Evel Knievel by recreating three of his famous stunts-- soaring over 52 crushed cars, 16 Greyhound buses and the Caesars Palace fountain in Las Vegas. The cycle of choice for the trio of tricks -- all completed in a three hour timeframe and broadcast live on the History Channel -- was a stiff flat-track Indian Scout FTR 750V-twin similar to Evel's earlier attempts.
"It was cool to live in Evel's shoes for a day. I wanted to pay tribute and show both my dad's generation and the next generation of skateboard kids how much he helped inspire action sports in general," said Travis before adding, "It was over 105 degrees that day and I didn't think many people would show." His theory did not hold true, the Vegas strip was jam packed with everyone out in full support from lunatic Elvis impersonators and Evel admirers to Pastrana patriots.
Travis redefines daredevil daily!
Following his smashing Sin City success, Travis was ready to tick off another box from his extreme bucket list; this time getting his feet (and royal red, white and blue socks) wet making laps on the liquid track. Professional powerboat racing world champion Brit Lilly, who campaigns both the Extreme LSB/Hurricane of Awesomeness and Phantom Tug It just happens to be his childhood buddy, and the guy to thank for making it happen.
Brit reveals how he persuaded Travis to come to the APBA Thunder on the Space Coast Grand Prix in Cocoa Beach, Florida. "Over the past ten years I have been telling him, you haven't lived until you raced a boat, and when he heard about the 2001 Fountain we just finished re-rigging, he told me 'I am only coming if I can drive', and I said okay we will put you in the new boat!"
Jokingly, Brit continued, "As many times as Travis has scared me with his driving, I'm hoping to be lucky enough to return the favor and scare him a bit. But he is a natural driver, and doesn't scare easily."
Travis laughingly added, "We have been friends since we were five years old because my dad and Brit's dad (iconic offshore veteran Art Lilly) were great friends. We grew up together on the water from tubing to Jet-skis to runabout boats but always keeping it under 50 mph, then as we got older he (Brit) went water and I stayed on land. Now its time for me to give it a go on the water."
From the day after Christmas up to the week of the season opener race, Brit along with his dedicated racing crew and Lilly Sport Boats service shop team hammered away 16 hours a day, seven days a week to finish the 40-footer, slated to run in the Extreme class. From the cockpit and driveshaft down to every last wire... it's all fresh.
Certainly the revamping and reincarnation of the former Cintron and Firewater canopied Fountain played no role in enticing Travis to join in. Then testing-tragedy number one struck on Monday prior to the race when the motor blew. Little did anyone suspect that the around-the-clock three-day rebuild by engine builder Joey Griffin would lead to turmoil instead of applause....
Catastrophe continued when engine number two blew on Saturday while Travis and his cockpit cohort on the throttles Kevin Smith, were out in the Cocoa Beach waters testing. But fear not, the offshore racing community was near... and joined forces as they often do in times of nautical needs. On Sunday Travis did make his powerboat racing debut when he plunged into the pilot's seat of the 32' Phantom JRA Boat Sales/Hurricane of Awesomeness but this time in the Super Vee Extreme class.
Jorge Arellano, the business mogul behind JRA High-Performance Boat Sales in Ocala, Florida, stepped up and offered his second boat to Travis. The Phantom needed some attending to in order to make it race-ready, and of course the essential sponsor-sticker swap -- adding the Wienerschnitzel decal on the front of the white boat. I mean what's a race boat without a dog on the deck! Numerous helpers from different teams jumped in immediately to lend a hand, as did Jay Wohltman of Woah Mama who took on the next day's vital throttleman task.
For the May 19th main attraction, Travis and Brit ended up on the course together for the second 12:30 p.m. race but in different classes. With Brit behind the wheel and his partner Kevin Smith on the sticks, the twosome ruled the waters commanding the fleet of Pro Stock Vee class combatants in their Extreme, also running under the name, LSB/Hurricane of Awesomeness.
Heating issue gremlins forced them off plane and to relinquish the first place lead they maintained for four of the six laps. Awesomely enough when all was said and done, Brit and Kevin seized second place honors on the podium, while Travis and Jay went on to finish in 5th place in the #1Phantom JRA Boat Sales/Hurricane of Awesomeness.
Talking with Travis after the race, here is what the driving dynamo had to say first hand.
Dina: You tested in the big boat and ran the small boat, what's your opinion and preference of the two?
Travis: "The Fountain that Brit and Lilly Sport Boats built was like a Cadillac. I fit in the cockpit well and we had time to get it all set up. The Fox suspension on the seat was so nice... then I got in a shifter kart for the race. I was all over the place and felt like we were always a blink away from rolling over."
"I really enjoyed the race and I’m not sure if I felt safer and more in control in the Fountain because we hadn’t gotten up to top speed yet or if the waves weren’t as big or if it was simply a smoother ride.. but I liked both equally for different reasons."
Dina: Taking off from the milling area at the start with a full field of boats on the course in the second race, was it comparable to any of your extreme land adventures?
Travis: "Probably the most comparable would be the big wheel race we had down a huge hill. No brakes, no control, no clue what I was doing but smiling so much that no one could ever take away that moment."
Dina: What was going through your mind during the race?
Travis: " I was probably the most scared on the parade lap. We were pushed pretty far into the beach and the waves were breaking right where we were lined up. I couldn’t see over the dash. Luckily there was a big floatation pad that Jay found and I shoved it underneath. I was freaking out trying to buckle back up, hoping they didn’t start the race until I was sorted."
"This last-second adjustment took care of the vision problem but my head was touching the roof. It didn’t seem like an issue until I hit my first wave and smashed my head. After the green flag dropped and race mode took over I don’t remember anything except laughing and smiling. At one point Jay got punched in the nose and yelled about blood being everywhere.I kept laughing because I’m a bad friend, but he never let off the throttles, so I assumed we were good."
Up, down and around... through, on and over.... tracks, dirt, mud, pavement, air and water, Travis Pastrana has conquered them all! In the eyes of some (or a handful), it can be said that the only thing Travis has ever really lost up to now is his mind, while for the likeminded adrenaline junkies like all of us, each extreme escapade he nails is just another day at the "outdoor" office for him. The hoards of YouTube commentary whizzes from all his radical videos posts repeatedly let us know he has "balls of steel that are bigger than the size of planets". I concur.
In closing, I want to thank Mister Travis "Thumbs-Up" Pastrana for crossing over into offshore powerboat racing and bringing such a wealth of positive attention and fanfare to the 2019 APBA premier event hosted by OPA Racing and Powerboat P1. All weekend long when I bumped into Travis, he was gladly taking a picture, signing a helmet, shaking a hand or answering a question -- always with a genuine smile on his face. Without a doubt his presence has elevated our sport giving it the recognition it so very much deserves!
Story by DinaRella / Photos by DinaRella, Freezeframevideo.net, Tomas Velazquez and LSB Hurricane of Awesomeness Racing Team