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Rider eyes motorcycle jump record before NASCAR race at Talladega

Alex Harvill motorcycle jumper at Dega

Motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel has had a profound impact upon Alex Harvill’s life.

Harvill grew up in Ephrata, Washington, about 20 miles from Moses Lake, Wash., where Knievel began his legendary career of jumping motorcycles in 1965.

“Everyone there knew him as Bob,” the 24-year-old Harvill said of Robert Craig “Evel” Knievel Jr.

From there, Knievel went on to fame and fortune with more than 75 motorcycle jumps – some that ended in crashes and multiple broken bones – and now Harvill is following in his footsteps … uh, make that tire tracks.

On May 7, Harvill will channel his inner Knievel, seeking to break the Guinness World Record for longest ramp-to-ramp motorcycle jump, doing so within Talladega Speedway’s Talladega Boulevard fan zone.

The jump will come during a five-minute window between the national anthem and the command to start engines prior to the Geico 500 NASCAR Cup race.

The current record is 351 feet, set in 2008 by Robbie Maddison.

But Harvill, who is also a motocross rider when he isn’t jumping his bike, isn’t just looking to just break Maddison’s mark – he’s planning on destroying it, hoping to jump more than 426 feet in front of ‘Dega fans.

According to a media release, Harvill plans to “reach a top speed of 105 mph. He’ll ride along an 88-foot long, 14-foot high takeoff flying over a 400-foot gap to touch ground again on a 30-foot high, 30-foot wide and 100-foot long landing.”

“I feel great about going to Talladega to do this jump,” Harvill said. “Talladega is the biggest and fastest, and it’s only fitting that I’m jumping the furthest at that track.”

Harvill knows what he does is dangerous, but having the kind of stage Talladega offers, he’s ready for the unique challenge – and potential world record – it presents.

“If you’re not ready to die, you’re not ready to live,” Harvill said. “I like to think I live my life that way.”

Harvill already owns two motorcycle distance jumping world records: a 425-foot ramp-to-dirt jump in 2012 and a 297.5-foot jump for a Guinness World Record longest dirt-to-dirt jump distance record.

Representatives from Guinness World Records will be on hand to watch Harvill’s jump at Talladega.

Follow @JerryBonkowski