15 Cars Thompson Drag Raceway — 1971 or 72


Bob Gill "The Florida Flyer"— United States

Bob Gill's motorcycle career began in 1962 with dirt track and road racing. He won the Sebring, Florida 125 mile International Road Race in 1963 and in 1964 the Pacific Northwest T.T. Championship in Portland Oregon on a factory Honda. Soon he realized you can't make much money racing motorcycles. so in 1970, Bob began jumping bikes full time. Bob made 65 jumps his first year earning over $80,000.

He first started off by jumping five cars at a time. Bob quickly realized that his probably wasn't the best way to figure out how far a person could fly a motorcycle. Gill got help from a friend in Florida who knew physics. His friend figured out the ramp angles and speed that he needed to get the job done.

During the early days of his career, the hardest part for Gill was not jumping cars, but speaking in front of large crowds. That's what would scare him. He finally got over that fear.

Bob's career has many highlights. He was the first to jump without a landing ramp. There were only a few other jumpers in the 1970s that did not use a landing ramp. Bob Pleso and Robin Winter-Smith are two names that come to mind, both died trying.

Gill was also the first motorcycle jumper to actually jump a canyon on a real motorcycle. He jumped across the Cajun Canyon back in 1972. He also held the world record for the longest motorcycle jump of 171 ft over 22 cars. This jump took place in Seattle, Washington in front of 20,000 fans!

On May 10, 1973 Bob jumped the entire fleet of Ryder Rent-a-Truck vehicles. This jump was the first jump featured in a commercial. The ad aired during Super Bowl VIII and over 140 million people watched in on January 13, 1974. This television commercial was voted the "Number One Action Commercial of the Year".

Unfortunately his career came to an end when he attempted to clear a 200 ft gap over the Appalachia Lake. Bob came up short and crashed. that was the last time he ever performed.

Career Highlights

Dec. 4th, 1970: Bob was performing a promotional jump for a photographer. Bob was to jump five cars and the photographer was to lay on the roofs. The photographer stood up while Bob was flying over. Bob hit him and crashed. Gill broke 12 ribs, fractured both clavicles, fractured his pelvis and had many other internal injuries.

April 16, 1972: Bob jumped the Cajun Canyon near New Orleans. The canyon was 60 ft deep and 152 ft. across. 10,000 people showed up to watch him jump his Suzuki 400. Gill was 26 years old.

July 8, 1972: On this three day weekend, Bob jumped 15 cars at 125 ft. and then 16 cars at 135 ft and finally on Sunday, 19 cars at 165 ft. Before a crowd of 42,000 fans.

July 23, 1972: At the Lakeland International Raceway near Memphis, Tennessee, Bob jumped 130 ft., but upon landing his front wheel collapsed and his slid 125 more feet on the pavement.

May 10, 1973: Bob jumped the Ryder Rent-a-Truck fleet for a television commercial which aired during Super Bowl VIII on January 13, 1974.

1973: Bob successfully jumped 171 ft. over 22 cars in Seattle, Washington. Gill used no landing ramp and was riding a Kawasaki.

1974: Bob appeared as a guest on the television program, "To Tell The Truth".

1974: While attempting to jump 200 ft. over the Appalachia Lake. He came up about three feet short. Gill hit the dirt embankment very a hard at 95 mph and upon landing was thrown forward onto the hard dirt. He suffered sever back injuries which put an end to his motorcycle jumping career.

1976: Bob rode a hand controlled Kawasaki 900 across country over 8,000 miles to 30 major cities raising $1,200,000 for spinal cord recovery and repair. The ride was from Florida to Hollywood, California.

Today: Bob founded "The Bob Gill Foundation". Bob currently is working with Gene Sullivan and the Jump for Jesus team.

Gene Sullivan, Bob Gill and John of Cyclejumpers having dinner in California 2008. Gene had just finished a television interview.

Bob Rides Again! July 4, 2014

Here's Bob and his newly restored Kawaski. He was united with his bike after 30 years. Below is Bob in 1981 at the Sunshine Speedway at one of Evel's jumps.