Words By Mike Emery | @emeryphoto
Growing up in Eastern, Pennsylvania I wasn't exactly located in the hotbed of moto, but that was never on my radar nor did it matter. Since being a little dude, my father's roots of racing motocross aboard his Bultaco 250, Maico 500, among other bikes ran through my blood sparking a lifelong love affair for motorcycles. My earliest memories of dirt bikes came from watching my brother get his first XR80 for Christmas, and just seeing a dirt bike tire mark anywhere on the ground was like seeing a fossil outline of a dinosaur, tripping out thinking about the fact that a dirt bike had been where I was standing. Naturally, watching any movie or show that had dirt bikes in it as a kid was high priority. The tough part was that there weren't really that many motocross-inspired films out there in the 80's if you were talking Hollywood productions.
Enter Winners Take All and The Dirt Bike Kid, the two most-viewed movies of my early youth and iconic films within our space. I vividly remember watching both of these films countless times, so many in fact that my mom had to get more copies made because we wore them out in the VCR. Of course, when I was eight I got my first dirt bike –a 1980 Honda Z50 –and have been into motorcycles to this very day. Working within the current MX media landscape in 2018 is a trip, and I often step back thinking about how much content we as humans ingest and spit out on the daily. It's not necessarily always a good or bad thing, but today I just had a random memory about watching Winners Take All and The Dirt Bike Kid and thought about how simple yet important just these two films seemed back then. Then I wondered, “Do the youngin's of today even know about these gems? Will they care to even look back and watch? I'd better write something up!”
That being said, below are the trailers with links to the films on YouTube and some memorable things that I remember about each film/random thoughts. Thanks for reading, and I highly recommend you watch and pay homage to the golden 80's and these MX classics! Maybe you'll dig them, and maybe you'll think they suck. Either way, it was fun to pull them up and reminisce this morning…
The Dirt Bike Kid (1985): "When his mother sends Jack off with money to buy groceries, he comes home with a magic supercharged dirt bike instead. His mother is furious, but when Jack uses the magic bike to save the local hot dog stand from the clutches of corrupt big business, he becomes the home town hero."
- This summary above is actually insane –imagine writing this up and pitching it to a Hollywood executive? Obviously it worked and the damn kid saved the hot dog stand!
- I remember thinking how nuts it would be if a bike like this Yamaha really existed. Like…a bike with a mind of it’s own! I was also around 8 years old or so…
- Note how the starting gate at the race is 100% Kawasaki KX's…
- Peter Billingsley, the same kid from The Christmas Story, is the star.
- There’s a lot more
The Dirt Bike Kid, Full Movie
Winners Take All (1987): The scene is a modern, 1980s arena, where present day gladiators compete in the wild sports extravaganza of Supercross. Winners take all mixes the rivalry and camaraderie of two young men with the thrill of spectacular riding and high stakes competition. Going beyond the drama and excitement of the racing scene. a cast of hot, talented newcomers of young love. No one can feel left out of the thrill of victory on the track and off.
- This movie is a must watch for anyone into moto, and completely insane in all the best ways.
- Star Rick Melon is the classic underdog, and characters like his old best buddy Bad Billy Robinson are all-time (and sometimes very relatable to modern riders.) Co-star Judy McCormick is legendary to women's motocross folklore and you should always listen to her if she tells you your throttle cable is frayed.
- Broc Glover stars as in a short segment as Judy McCormick's Corvette-driving boyfriend Carl, which is funny. So many other riders make cameos.
- The whole team Hurricane deal where Bad Billy rides a sub-par motorcycle for big money is not far off of some real-life scenarios in the history of our sport.
- The segment where everyone rallies together to assemble Rick Melon's Frankenstein race bike might be the best name drops of random parts ever.
- When I was a youngin' I thought it was so damn cool that Rick and Bad Billy stole beer from the beer truck on the sidecar. It could be looked at as a bad influence, but I never did it myself so it's all-good!
- The end race showdown is pure chaos, and to think that they CANCELLED Dallas Supercross all together because of fighting is quite a big deal. There is too much to list, just watch the movie…
This one is on YouTube in 7 parts. Watch part 1 below and follow the links for the rest.
Thanks for joining me on memory lane today…