Watching old motocross and scramble videos is always a joy, but it’s extra fantastic when they have as good a period soundtrack as this. The addition of that energetic ‘80s synth is like the whipped cream on a banana split. All that old-school moto apparel, such as the one guy’s Yamaha tuning forks t-shirt that some fans now would pay good money for also can’t be ignored.
Syd and Beryl Pearman shot this video on 16mm film, and it shows. “When we decided back in 1980 that we would like to make a film about scrambling, we thought that some slow motion would be a good idea, preferably in the rain so that mud being flung from the bikes might look good,” Syd Pearman explained.
“We went to three meetings but there was never any sign of rain when we turned up— in fact, it was almost a guarantee for the organizers of a fine day if we attended. In the end, we did the film in the sunshine, and the slo-mo wasn't too bad in all the dust.”
Perhaps my favorite shot of this entire 11-minute-long glimpse into the world of 1981 motocross and scrambling in the UK is the one where a dude is patiently getting his RM out of his hatchback. It’s unclear whether this was legit, and he had the thing crammed in and risked getting a wheel to the head as he drove—or whether it was staged for extra comedic effect. Either way, my dude is clearly a hero, through and through.
Make sure you stay till the end for a hilarious observation about the seriousness of injuries suffered in these types of events toward the end. It’s only serious if you lose an eye, kids! Ah, just kidding—but it’s a good reminder that “serious injuries” are apparently relative, and if your bike is OK, that’s the main thing. Right? Right.
Director Syd Pearman has a handful of documentary credits in his listing at the British Film Institute—but this film is not listed, and it therefore appears his entry is somewhat incomplete. No other films listed deal with motocross or two-wheeled pursuits, sadly for us.