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After the professional Hendon and Walton clubs lost almost all their first-stringers to other teams, RIL Chairman Barry East was furious. "What has happened is immoral," he said. "The honest clubs are paying a frightful penalty." East promised he would be merciless once all the RIL was professional and the players were trying to jump back to their old teams. "These amateur clubs better not turn to me for protection on the movement of players," he said. "They can stew in their own juice." The words must have sent shivers through the shamateurs.
THAT WAS NO BIRD
We have been holding this report on the Evel Knievel syndrome until Walter Cornelius had his try at the River Nene in Peterborough, England, but something tells us old Cornelius never is going to go and maybe that is just as well.
Cornelius' excuse now is that he is too heavy. The 54-year-old swimming pool attendant is trying to lose a stone or two before getting himself into the huge slingshot that will wing him 50 yards to the other side of the Nene. Earlier this year he tried to fly across the river from the roof of a supermarket in a Batman suit with wings, missed and plunged straight into the water. He will have the wings again, he says, "but this time I shall have more propulsion. If I can get 20 men to hold me in the catapult and stretch the elastic, that should be enough to launch me to the far bank. I am convinced my idea will make Knievel's stunt look like a Sunday afternoon outing."
This fall the world was full of people, most of them small boys on bikes, who were determined to equal the great Snake Canyon fizzle. Most succeeded. Our two favorites:
Evel Kohicken (that's his name, rhymes with No Chicken) dressed as a rooster and set out in a pedal-powered "sky cycle" at Spring Hill, Fla. to cross Lake Hunter. About halfway out he suffered a loss of pedal power. Two frogmen had to pluck him from the lake.
Gary Erdelen of Kennewick, Wash, practiced all day for a ramp-to-ramp jump of 60 feet on a motorcycle at the Tri City Speedway in Richland. Next day, disaster. With exquisite timing, the cycle ran out of gas as Erdelen roared up the takeoff ramp. Seems he forgot to fill the cycle's tank after all that practice. The cost of that lapse: two broken legs, broken pelvis, various internal injuries and $5,000 to $7,000 in hospital bills. Erdelen's share of the gate came to $400.
Puts us in mind of the latest Evel Knievel joke (yes, unfortunately, there are those), the Evel Knievel Drink. Pour yourself a glass of champagne, toast yourself, drink, set the glass down—and throw yourself against the fireplace. Well, it's as sensible as all those harebrained stunts, and probably safer.
LONG TIME NO ZEE
A SORE TOPIC GETS SORER