The big Red Bull-sponsored extravaganza broadcast live on ESPN the last few years is called, “Red Bull: New Year. No Limits.” But a popular snowmobile racer who planned to be the highlight of this year’s event apparently exceeded the limts, and now the event is being cancelled.
Levi LaVallee, driver of the No. 108 Polaris on the national snocross scene, was scheduled to be the main course at this year’s event, but he crashed during practice on Tuesday, breaking several bones, deflating his lungs and ending up in the hospital.
LaVallee, 28, of Longville, Minnesota, is reportedly in stable condition at a California hospital, but he’s expected to make a full recovery from his injuries. That won’t happen in the next two weeks, however, so the event is cancelled.
According to well-placed rumors, LaVallee crashed hard during a landing when practicing for what was planned to be a record-breaking jump. LaVallee reportedly broke some ribs and vertebrae, among other injuries, and suffered punctures to his lungs. LaVallee’s goal was to jump over a water gap of the San Diego Harbor on live TV on December 31 at a distance of more than 300 feet.
In fact, a release from Red Bull stated that Lavallee had jumped an amazing 361 feet during testing, and that jump will be submitted for world record certification. But the big live jump is off, and the entire Snow Goer staff joins thousands of others in sending our best wishes out to Levi.
Here’s the full press release from Red Bull:
SANTA MONICA, CA (December 17, 2010) – Levi LaVallee was injured on Tuesday, December 14, while practicing in Southern California for his planned world record snowmobile distance jump at this year’s Red Bull: New Year. No Limits. event, set to take place in San Diego on December 31 and telecast on ESPN. LaVallee was immediately transported to a local hospital where he is in stable condition and is expected to make a full recovery. As a result of this incident, however, it has been decided that Red Bull: New Year. No Limits. will be cancelled this year.
The safety of Red Bull’s world-class athletes is paramount, and all precautions were taken during LaVallee’s testing sessions to ensure he could perform in the safest-possible setting.
Leading up to the event, LaVallee, 28, from Longville, MN, worked with athlete performance experts, aerodynamics experts and engineers, in addition to his core team, in an effort to get the most out of his body and snowmobile. During testing, LaVallee jumped an astounding 361 feet, eclipsing the existing record by 60 feet. This jump will be submitted for world record certification.
LaVallee has had a very successful career in several snowmobile disciplines. A snocross racer for more than 15 years, he took up freestyle in 2007, and at Winter X Games 12 in 2008, he won the gold medal in the Freestyle and Speed & Style events and was named Athlete of the Games. In 2009, he won the Pro Stock Snocross championship and came thisclose to landing the first-ever snowmobile double backflip at Winter X 13, garnering global media attention. Earlier this year, at Winter X 14, he took gold in the newly-created Snowmobile Knock Out event, his seventh Winter X Games medal.
LaVallee was to be the fourth athlete to star in Red Bull’s annual New Year’s Eve celebration on ESPN, which highlights extraordinary athletes pushing their physical, mental and technical limits to break boundaries and records. Robbie Maddison jumped his motorcycle 322 feet over a football field in Las Vegas in 2007 and followed it up in 2008 by jumping onto – and off – of the 96-foot-tall Arc De Triomphe at Paris Las Vegas. Also in 2008, Rhys Millen backflipped an off-road truck. Last year, Travis Pastrana jumped his rally car 269 feet over water, landing on a barge in Long Beach’s Rainbow Harbor.