Cyclist injured in record-breaking jump attempt
First responders lift motorcyclist and stunt racer Alex Harvill into an ambulance Thursday morning after Harvill crashed during a landing while attempting to set a motorcycle jump record for the Guinness Book of World Records. He later died from his injuries.
Charles H. Featherstone/Columbia Basin Herald
Staff Writer | June 17, 2021 12:43 PM
MOSES LAKE — Motorcyclist and stunt rider Alex Harvill was rushed to Samaritan Hospital Thursday morning after a bad landing sent him flying over his handlebars during an attempt to set a world record motorcycle jump.
The extent of Harvill’s injuries or his condition were not immediately known.
Harvill was trying to break the world record for a jump from a moveable, pre-built ramp to a dirt ramp, which currently stands at 351 feet. He was making the jump as part of this year’s Moses Lake Airshow.
“We’ve been working with Alex for weeks now,” said Rich Mueller, Grant County International Airport director and one of the air show’s organizers. “It’s disappointing to watch him take a spill, but he was very straight with us from the beginning that spills happen and you just have to roll with it.”
Harvill was making his first practice jump and got what appeared to be a good takeoff when he landed short of the downward slope on the landing ramp. The bike stopped moving, but Harvill didn’t. His helmet flew off, and he flew over the handlebars, twisting at least once before hitting the ground at least 20 feet away.
Paramedics and members of Harvill’s family responded quickly. It took some time before emergency workers decided how best to load him in an ambulance.
A crew with Lifeflight, attending the air show as part of a “static display,” started its helicopter, but Harvill was instead taken to Samaritan Hospital by ambulance.
“Everyone was already here for him in case this happened,” Mueller said. “Obviously, we didn’t want to see him crash today, but we were ready for it.”
Before the jump, Harvill’s wife, Jessica, said she has gotten used to the risks her husband takes.
“It’s a little scary from time to time, but you’ve got to trust that he knows what he’s doing,” she said. “I’ve been around it so long its kind of just normal in a way, even though that sounds weird, because it’s totally abnormal.”
Jessica Harvill, who was at the air show with their children Willis, 5, and newborn Watson, said Alex has been preparing for these jumps for the past two weeks, but during that time he had not actually jumped the ramp.
Mueller said the air show will continue, though without Harvill’s record-breaking jump attempt Thursday and his display jumps on Friday.
“Obviously, our prayers and hopes are with him,” Mueller said. “We’d love to see him out here next year.”