On this day in history : 10th December 1979 – Eddie Kidd, motorcycle stunt rider, makes a death-defying leap across an 80ft gap, above a 50ft sheer drop over a viaduct….

The jump was made at the River Blackwater in Malden Essex, on a 400cc Yamaha motorbike, as part of the 1981 drama film ‘Riding High’ – in which Eddie plays the part of Dave Munday, a young motorcycle messenger who is bored with his life and job and so starts to train for a major competition….

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Fair use

Born on the 22nd of June 1959, Eddie started his career as a stunt performer at the age of 14; he holds many world records for jumps – of which he made over 12,000 during his career…. He has worked as a stunt double on many films, including for Pierce Brosnan in ‘Golden Eye’, Timothy Dalton in ‘The Living Daylights’ and Val Kilmer in ‘Top Secret’….

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Jumping over cars at the Royal Oak Football ground, Harwich in 1984 – John Wray, published by Harwich & Dovercourt CC BY-SA 2.0

In 1993 American daredevil (and son of Evel Knievel), Robbie Knievel, challenged Eddie to a world title ‘jump off’ competition – which took place in Mississippi, USA…. Each rider had to make three jumps, with the length of each totalled together to make the overall winner…. The competition was televised as ‘The Daredevil Duel; Knievel vs Kidd’…. Eddie won by 6 feet and the title still stands with him today…. It was also in 1993 that Eddie jumped over the Great Wall of China…. Despite all this, he didn’t obtain his UK motorcycle licence until 1995….

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Eddie Kidd and Robbie Knievel, Daredevil Duel (via YouTube) – Fair use

It was on the 6th of August 1996 that tragedy was to strike…. Eddie attended the ‘Bulldog Bash’ at Long Marston Airfield, Stratford-upon-Avon ~ one of the largest motorcycle festivals in Europe….and during which he performed a 49ft jump…. In comparison to some of his previous stunts this was relatively tame; all went according to plan….he completed the jump and landed on two wheels…. However, as he landed his chin struck the petrol tank of the bike and he was knocked unconscious….and therefore, was unable to stop the bike from crashing…. Eddie sustained serious head and pelvic injuries….he was in a coma for 3 months – and was left paralysed with brain damage….

Eddie’s career took bravery and determination….qualities obviously ingrained deeply within his character…. On the 29th of June 2007 he opened the Beyond Boundaries Live 2007 Exhibition at Sandown Park, Esther; once again he was riding upon a motorbike…. On the 17th of April 2011, leaving his wheelchair at the starting line and using a special walking frame, Eddie embarked on the London Marathon…. 50 days later, on the 6th of June, he completed it…. A truly remarkable feat ~ one in which he raised £75,000 for the charity Children With Leukaemia….and still today Eddie continues to fundraise for worthy causes….

On the 17th of July 2012 Eddie carried the Olympic Torch through Lewes in East Sussex…. It was also in 2012 that he was awarded with a well deserved OBE – for his services to charity….

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Photo credit : Kenjonbro via Flickr

 

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