Motorcycle racer and experienced stunt rider Alex Harvill died Thursday while he was practicing for a world-record motorcycle ramp jump in Washington. Harvill, 28, was trying to break the record of a 351-foot jump at the Moses Lake Airshow at Grant County International Airport, located around 15 miles from Harvill’s hometown of Ephrata. But during the practice, Harvil’s motorcycle ran straight into the top part of a dirt berm, he was thrown off the bike, and his helmet flew off. An autopsy is scheduled to be performed Friday.
Harvill already had a previous record he set in 2013 for longest dirt-to-dirt motorcycle ramp jump at a little over 297 feet. “While this was obviously a very tragic event that unfolded, Alex was doing what he loved to do,” his family said in a statement. “And we thank everyone for their outpouring of support.” Harvill was married with two young sons. Harvill’s second-to-last Instagram post was a photo of his motorcycle in front of the ramp. “I’m getting excited to send this thing,” he wrote.
In an interview before the jump, Harvill’s wife, Jessica Harvill, said her husband had yet to jump off the ramp that was used in the airshow. “It’s a little scary from time to time, but you’ve gotta trust that he knows what he’s doing,” she said. “I’ve been around it so long, it’s kind of just normal in a way, even though that sounds weird because it’s totally abnormal.” A GoFundMe published on Harvill’s website had raised more than $50,000 early Friday afternoon.