ESPN, Red Bull Ring In New Year With Daredevil Jumps

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While many ring in the new year with friends or Dick Clark, a couple of daredevils will look to achieve new marks in the early moments of 2009.

ESPN will reprise its Red Bull: New Year. No Limits special on New Year’s Eve with motocross star Robbie “Maddo” Maddison attempting a new-fangled jump, while Rhys Millen seeks the successful truck flip that eluded him last year.

With the Chick-Fil-A Bowl between Georgia Tech and LSU serving as a lead-in, Red Bull: New Year, No Limits will sign on at around 11 p.m. (ET) from Las Vegas, where it will be simulcast on ESPN HD and broadband service

Maddison, who broke the world record for a motorcycle jump at 322-feet 7.5-inches during the 2007 telecast with a leap over the length of a football field, will attempt a more finessed feat this time. He will attempt to ascend with his bike more than 120 feet high to land on the top of the 96-foot-high replica Arc de Triomphe in front of the Paris Las Vegas Hotel. Upon completion, he will freefall 50 feet off the Arc to a ramp.

For his part, Millen will seek to accomplish the first back flip of an off-road truck. Millen’s attempt demands the truck travel a distance of 80 feet at a height of 50 feet to complete the rotation. During his last practice before the 2007 telecast, Millen overshot his landing, resulting in injury, damage to his vehicle and his withdrawal from the event.

In 2007, ESPN officials said theNew Year’s telecast delivered a 3.7 household rating, translating into more than 5 million viewers and 3.5 million viewing households. The 90-minute special culminated in the world-record breaking motorbike jump by Maddison over a football field erected in the parking lot of the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino.

“Last year’s success was proof positive that ESPN and Red Bull created anticipation television on a night that should always have it in abundance but didn’t,” said Joan Lynch, ESPN vice president, content development, in a statement. “Robbie and Rhys are amazing athletes guaranteed to put viewers young and old on the edge of their seats.”