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Record-breaking jump

by Rebecca Pettingill
Staff Writer | August 31, 2022 1:25 AM

EPHRATA — Slightly more than a decade after he made the record-setting jump, Alex Harvill is being recognized by Guinness World Records for his accomplishment.

“I started the process in February (to get the jump recognized),” said Debi Chamberlin, Alex Harvill’s mother. “And just, you know, like a thought came in my head - I swear it came from Alex, ‘You know, why not try to get his jump recognized because there's enough evidence all over the place, it just needs to be gathered.’”

Harvill passed away in June 2021 after suffering fatal injuries while practicing a record jump that he would perform during the Moses Lake Airshow. He was rushed to Samaritan Hospital after a bad landing that sent him flying over his handlebars. Unfortunately, he passed away from his injuries.

The practice jump Harvill was attempting when he died was for the same record title as the jump he made in 2012.

“That was his professional goal in life was to own the world record,” Chamberlin said. “And to have nobody be able to say that it wasn't him, and so people have since tried to say that they've done it, but he just wanted it to be so there was absolutely no question that he had the world record.”

Prior to the practice jump that took his life, the 28-year-old daredevil had already earned the world record for the longest dirt-to-dirt motorcycle ramp jump, according to the Guinness World Records website. The record was achieved at the Horn Rapids Motorsports Complex in Richland on July 6, 2013. The jump was 297 feet, 6.6 inches.

Harvill, a 2011 Ephrata High School graduate, had been riding dirt bikes since he was four years old, Chamberlin said.

The now-recognized jump saw Harvill jump 425 feet in Royal City on May 12, 2012. He had surpassed the previous record for the greatest distance jumped on a motorcycle from a ramp by a male rider by more than 65 feet.

It is unclear why Guinness World Records did not initially recognize the 2012 jump earlier. The organization did not respond to the Columbia Basin Herald’s request for comment.

“I sent them an application and they said, sure, we'll see your evidence,” said Chamberlin. “And so then it took me a while to go back to all the people that were there 10 years ago and get sworn statements and the surveyors and the video and everything in the format that they wanted.”

Chamberlin said she submitted the paperwork only a few weeks ago. The Guinness World Records website has now been updated to include the 425-foot jump as a world record title under Harvill’s name, which his mother said was a wonderful acknowledgment of his life.

“It means everything because that was his goal,” Chamberlin said.

After Harvill’s passing, many fundraisers were held for his family to show support and love.

“That was the most humbling experience of my entire life to see a town, and more than just the town, come together and just express their love for him,” said Chamberlin. “Like, I had no idea he was loved at that level. And I've had people just seek me out to give me a hug and say, you're loved. It means so much that the town believed in him and wanted to support his family, since he wouldn't be able to. Ephrata is like the greatest place in the world really, they take care of their own.”

Rebecca Pettingill may be reached at rpettingill@columbiabasinherald.com.

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FILE PHOTO

Harvill rode dirt bikes from the age of four and it was his dream to hold world records in his sport of choice.

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FILE PHOTO

Alex Harvill passed away in June 2021 after suffering injuries while practicing a record jump he intended to perform during the Moses Lake Airshow that year.

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FILE PHOTO

The now-recognized jump saw Harvill jump 425 feet in Royal City on May 12, 2012. He had surpassed the previous record for the greatest distance jumped on a motorcycle from a ramp by a male cyclist by more than 65 feet.

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