Daredevil backflips motorcycle between barges on London's Thames

Action sports performer Travis Pastrana somersaults on his motorbike as he jumps between two barges on the River Thames with the O2 Arena sports venue seen behind, in London, Britain, October 5, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) - Extreme sports rider Travis Pastrana performed a backflip motorcycle jump over a 23-metre (75-ft) gap between two barges floating on London’s river Thames on Thursday, 11 years after the last rider who tried the stunt suffered serious injury.

Set against the backdrop of London’s O2 arena, Pastrana had only 150 feet to accelerate to takeoff speed before jumping, with only 36 feet to come to a stop before he would have fallen into the river.

The vessels used in the attempt were fitted with a steep ramp for the rider’s take-off and a more gently inclined one for him to land on.

In 2006, motocross rider Mike Metzger fractured a vertebrae while attempting to backflip between two barges in a stunt for a television programme in Long Beach harbour, Los Angeles.

Organisers of Pastrana’s attempt said he was the first person to try to perform the trick since then.

Pastrana is known for competing in the X-Games extreme motocross competition and in the U.S. NASCAR motor racing series. During his career he has broken more than 90 bones and suffered 25 concussions.

Pastrana will be touring with his live stunt show “Nitro Circus” in Europe in November and December.

Writing by Mark Hanrahan in London, editing by Ed Osmond