On May 12, 19-year-old motocross racer Alex Harvill blasted past Robbie Maddison's 392-foot motocross distance jump record and Ryan Capes' previous 391-foot mark -- as well as snowmobile rider Levi LaVallee's 412-foot record -- while filming at Steve Eilers' Toes MX Park in Royal City, Wash., pushing the new distance mark to an astounding 425 feet. Then he managed an even more incredible feat: keeping the jump a secret until now.
"I've been racing on and off my whole life, but this really did come out of nowhere," Harvill said. "It's been an awfully big secret to be sitting on."
The first published photos of Harvill's jump hit stands this week in the September/October issue of the Australian magazine Freerider MX, and footage shot by Jay Schweitzer of Powerband Films and Mike McEntire of Mack Dawg Productions will be featured in their six-years-in-the-making distance jump documentary (code name: "The Daredevil Project") due out in 2013. Because Harvill is a mostly unknown rider without support from major sponsors, Eilers and Schweitzer urged him to hold out for a big reveal.
"When you see somebody with that much talent and bike control and confidence, it's hard not to get behind him and give him all the support you can to help him meet his potential," Eilers told ESPN.com.
Eilers and his friend Derek McEntire provided the bike and helped set up the ramp and landing for Harvill, a family friend who grew up riding with Eilers' nephew. "If we hadn't had a headwind that day and he could have hit his top speed of about 108 mph, I think he probably could have jumped at least 460 to 470 feet with the setup we have now. To get to 500 is going to take some work, but that's where he wants to take it."
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