Saturday, July 29, 2006

The World’s Fastest Indian

If you love motorcycles, you'll love The World's Fastest Indian

"You live more in five minutes on a bike than some people live in their lifetime," says Burt Munro (played by Anthony Hopkins) in one of the very best ‘biker movies’ of all time. The World’s Fastest Indian is based on the real life story of Burt Munro, and his lifelong devotion to the pursuit of speed on two wheels. Forget current day Hayabusas and ZZR1400s with their mega-powerful engines, sticky tyres and powerful brakes. Munro, from New Zealand, wants to go to the US and do 200mph (320km/h) at the Bonneville Salt Flats. On his weedy old 1920s Indian Scout. The tyres are finished, the brakes barely work and Munro’s riding gear comprises, among other things, of trousers tucked into socks and an old pair of canvas shoes. The sheer audacity of it all – a man in his 60s, on a shoestring budget, and suffering from a heart ailment, wanting to do this high speed stuff – is heartening. And uplifting.

There is some brilliant acting from Hopkins, who does an absolutely wonderful job of playing Munro. The journey from a remote town in New Zealand, all the way to Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats, is an amazing one. The difficulties which Munro faces and the way he overcomes those. The various interesting characters he meets in America. And finally, how his courage and self-conviction are appreciated and the way people help him along – it’s all very well depicted in the film. And when he finally does run his bike at Bonneville and crosses the 200mph mark, you want to stand up and cheer for the old man.

Beg, borrow or steal a DVD, but whatever you do, just watch this film. It makes you believe in the power of dreams once more. It makes you believe in the power of the human spirit. Awesome movie!

Here's a trailer from the film

Friday, July 28, 2006

Freddie Spencer: The Sultan of Slide

The great Freddie Spencer, in action on his Honda NS500
During the 1980s, Americans were at the top in 500cc motorcycle grand prix racing. Kenny Roberts, Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey, Kevin Schwantz and yes, Freddie Spencer. Freddie first won the 500cc world championship in 1983 and then, in 1985, won the 500cc and the 250cc world championships! Yes, two world championships in the same year! Though the softly-spoken Freddie is universally acknowledged as one of the most naturally talented motorcycle racers of all time, he could not, after winning two world championships in 1985, regain the same form again, and faded away from the scene by the late-1980s. Today, Spencer is still respected by those who raced against him and most people have a good word to say about this great racer.
Read a very interesting article about Freddie Spencer here

Freddie Spencer races his Honda NS500 against a Nissan 300ZX and a streetbike. Great video!

Spencer, one of the greatest motorcycle racing icons of all time...