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Gallery One

Robin Winter-Smith — United Kingdom

Robin Winter-Smith started his daredevil career as a member of the world famous British Army Team, "The Royal Artillery Motorcycle Display Team". They would always end their performances with the whole team on bikes lined up with a couple of cars nose-to-tail. Then one of the team jumpers would leap over them and in salute would pull the bike's handlebars up virtually standing vertical. After the army, Robin joined the famous British daredevil team,"The Magnificent 7". He did all of his jumps without the use of a landing ramp.

In 1979, Robin jumped over 31 cars for a new British distance record of 189 feet. This jump took place at the Elstree Air Show. Winter-Smith set his record while performing with his daredevil team, "The Magnificent 7". The previous official record at that time was a 23 car jump held by another Brit, Eddie Kidd. At this jump, Robin landed his Suzuki on the grass at more that 70 mph which made for a very hard landing. Attendants quickly reached him and he only suffered a few bruises. Just a few months after this jump, a 190 foot jump by another stunt rider was confirmed as the new British record.

In the Summer of 1979, Robin attempted a jump over 30 Rolls-Royces, this time with a landing ramp. The 212 foot jump took place in front of 10,000 fans at Elstree, England. He was trying to set a new world record when tragedy occurred. Robin soared high into the air after leaving the takeoff ramp. But he just didn't have enough speed to clear the cars. He crashed down the 28th car and proceeded to hit the safety deck. He was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. He was killed doing what he loved to do. Robin Winter-Smith was 29 years old.

Below is an eye witness' account of the jump.

"I was at the jump that day, so was Eddie Kidd. Robin used a Suzuki RM 250cc. It was quite obvious that he just didn't have enough takeoff speed but he went ahead anyway. Because of his almost seated position on takeoff, his bike twisted in the sir. Robin corrected it in flight, which brought the front wheel way up high and his back wheel clipped the edge of the ramp stopping him instantly. If the bike had been level in flight, I'm sure he could have just pinched it." — Lee Sobol

 

 

Download the song, "The Ballad of Robin Winter-Smith" on iTunes. This song originally was written by Richard Dobson and Nanci Griffith covered it on her album, "Once in a Very Blue Moon".