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Historic Motorcycle Jump Fail Caught on Film – Jumping John Holland’s Failed Leap Over 50 Chevettes

Historic Motorcycle Jump Fail Caught on Film – Jumping John Holland’s Failed Leap Over 50 Chevettes

The 1970s were a time full of malaise, slow cars, and motorcycle jumps. For whatever reason, the decade gave way to more wackos on motorcycles than any other before or since. The best known of this breed was Evel Knievel, but across the country, long before the Internet, local jumping heroes emerged to fill the void of boredom by making haphazard, dangerous, and half-assed attempts to wow smallish local crowds. One of those men was “Jumping” John Holland, and thanks to BangShift.com member BigDad, photos of his most epic fail have come to light. This is one of the few things that can make you burst out laughing and cringe at the same time.

To set the scene, there’s a line of 50 Chevrolet Chevettes. These cars have been loaned to the jump effort by a local Chevrolet dealer out for a publicity grab. When you read about what happens next, you’ll agree with us that the dealer had a couple of drinks in him to agree to this mess.

Holland’s plan was to take his heavy, underpowered motorcycle off the ramp and, using the motorcycle as the launch vehicle, fly through the air by way of a parachute mounted on his back. It should be noted at this point that the motorcycle also had a parachute attached to it, with duct tape.

Holland launched off, got air, had his parachute blossom, and then proceeded to mangle several cars when his plan failed horribly and he became a human cannonball. His body, not the bike, damaged several cars badly. He lived and actually attempted at least one more jump by this method. Shockingly, it also ended badly.

It all sounds so simple in words, but the photos have to be seen to be believed. If this does not personify the 1970s in all it’s glory, we don’t know what does.

Thanks for the tip BigDad!

Scroll down to see the personification of, “If You’re Gonna be Dumb, You’ve Gotta be Tough!”



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13 thoughts on “Historic Motorcycle Jump Fail Caught on Film – Jumping John Holland’s Failed Leap Over 50 Chevettes

  1. Matt Cramer

    Yikes. “Duct tape” and “parachute” do not belong in the same sentence, unless it also contains “G. I. Joe toys.”

    1. Ermott

      The photo is from the 70’s. If it’s 1978 that’s 34 years ago. She looks about 27 in the picture. If that’s the case, she’s 61 today.

      Just sayin.

  2. JimDanger

    So many questions….Why put the oldest Chevette first? Why use a flatbed trailer as a ramp? If this was “successful” where was the motorcycle supposed to end up???

  3. Hotrodcharlie

    This had to be 1984 or 1985. The Chevettes are about that year, and in the last pic there is a Honda Nighthawk motorcycle that is about a 1984 model. I have seen these pics before. If you have any interest in wasting ALOT of tim, check this site out: http://www.cyclejumpers.com. Anything from motorcycle jumping is in there.

  4. bruce

    I wonder what the dealer told the insurance company on this mess , giant hailstones or skylab fell

  5. Tim McVay

    I took those photos, you want to see the one with his helmet full of —–, well, you know…

  6. Tut

    The chute was not duct taped on. You can see the strap and bracket attached to the top shock mount. The tape was probably just to hold doe flappy straps or cords.

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