“If you’re scared of dying, then you’re certainly not cut out for these dangerous stunts. You need to have a strong heart as this is not a hobby everyone can take up,” says an older and bearded Sultan Muhammad Khan Golden, Pakistan’s first daredevil to have broken several Guinness World Records in car and bike jumping.
He shot to fame in 1984, when he jumped over 15 cars and drove through three burning wooden walls. Following this, he rode through a 60-foot long tunnel of fire at Minar-e-Pakistan. However, it was in 1987 that Golden received international fame, when he jumped over 22 cars, covering a distance of 249 feet with a motorbike to break the previous world record and enter the Guinness Book of World Records. In 1990, he also performed the first reverse car jump and then four years later he set the T-Bone Dive Motor Car jumps record over 249 feet.
In his prime, Golden, with his athletic physique, used to come to the shows dressed in a leather jumpsuit as crowds of thousands of people gathered to watch him perform some of the most dangerous stunts of all time. In many ways, he is Pakistan’s very own Evel Knievel — the American daredevil who, in his career, attempted over 75 ramp-to-ramp motorcycle jumps.
Although his talent, coupled with his charisma — stemming from his Pashto speaking origin — drew huge crowds, Golden harbours immense regret because of the lack of support and facilities provided by the government. “I never earned a cent from doing this. I had to create my own environment, bring my own cars and finance my own shows,” said Golden. “However, I did not stop as I wanted to do this for my country and that’s what mattered the most.”
Even today, at the age of 51, Golden has the enthusiasm of a teenager. “I want to break more records,” said the jumping specialist. “I was offered a lot of money by promoters to break records in the US or Dubai but I rejected them. My hope is to break more records in Pakistan.”
His latest adventure is predominantly focused on breaking the motorcar reverse-speed world record, set by American John Smith, on Lahore’s ring road. Smith had made the record in 1994 by covering 806 kilometres (km) distance, while driving the car in reverse, in 13 hours and 48 minutes. Hoping to raise the bar higher with another record, this time in his new red SUV — which is heavily altered with extra wide axels and wide tires — Golden is awaiting permission from the government to use the highway for the purpose. “I have been trying to get approval from the government to drive a car reverse at 120 km per hour,” says Golden. “Unfortunately, they said that there is a security risk as there are too many people at my show.”
Regardless, he says that it has become his mission to break more records and he will be announcing a date in the near future for a show. “The fact is that people love to watch these shows and that is evident as they come out and support me, but it’s still the government’s duty to provide security.”
Golden also adds that the influx of illegal racing in the country is due to the lack of resources to hone talent. “Kids aren’t being provided with facilities, so they are putting their lives at risk by performing on the streets,” says the stuntman, who has also worked for the promotion of daredevil stunts in the country. Golden has been trying to push the government to set up a school and develop an area for motorcycle and car tricks.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 20th, 2011.
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