Nick Freeman is a talented motorcycle racer but lacks a decent bike. Then his brother dies and Nick is left the bike he spent the last three years developing. The bike is revolutionary and Nick sees a way to pursue his dream.
A young hot-headed motorbike enthusiast inherits the prototype for an incredibly fast machine which was designed by his brother. He successfully gets the finance for it, and uses the bike to challenge for the world championship at Silverstone.Written by
Jonathon Dabell <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The bike featured in the crash scene at the end of the movie was actually a Yamaha 250 GP bike dressed up to look like the 500cc Silver Dream Racer. See more »
There are two different endings to this film in circulation. The full version ends with David Essex lifting his arms in victory as his motorbike crosses the finish line. Seconds after he does so the bike begins to wobble, then spins out of control and crashes spectacularly. The second version concludes with a freeze-frame immediately after Essex crosses the line and raises his arms. See more »
When this film first came out I was keen on motorbikes, keen on movies and I was keen on pop music. But....David Essex made music that was poles apart from the stuff I liked, the movie was pretty cheesy and the 'Silver Dream Racer' itself was -to anyone who knew anything about motorcycles- in many respects a fairly obvious fraud. So I wasn't overly impressed, back then.
However, wind the clock on 38 years and by some miracle I can at least tolerate Essex's music, the motorcycling scenes are interesting to me for all kinds of reasons, and when it comes down to it this is a film that is better made than many are, with a plot that is no less cheesy or nonsensical than most.
The motorcycle itself was designed and built by a UK company and used an engine that was mostly used as a sidecar power unit. Three machines were planned, of which two were finished and used in the film. Of the three, only the third machine -which was barely a chassis and bodywork when the movie was made- now exists, apparently, and has been recently restored and used in a photo shoot this year (2018). A further mockup (with an entirely different chassis beneath) was destroyed during filming. The bike is meant to be 'revolutionary' with 240bhp and have a 'carbon fibre chassis' but in the film it is clearly none of these things, although it was a real racing motorcycle of a kind rather than just a prop. About 150bhp was typical at the time for top class GP bikes.
Like many racing films real race footage is used in the film. However unlike most racing films they didn't just dress up an extant racing machine and use that, they actually tried to race the bike that had been built for the film for real. Roger Marshall actually rode the bike in a 1979 Silverstone race and much of the race footage in the film comes from that event. However in reality the performance of the machine was so far from being competitive that in order to qualify the machine they allegedly (and quite illegally) replaced the 500cc motor with a 750cc version instead.
Brands Hatch, Donington Park, Silverstone and an unknown disused airfield were used for filming. In fairness David Essex was a genuine motorcycle nut and rode bikes in several of the scenes in the movie, perhaps taking more risks than most movie stars might have.
So overall this isn't the most brilliant movie in the world but it will (of course) appeal to David Essex fans, it is an interesting period piece and it is somewhat better (especially if you have an interest in motorcycle racing around that period) than some of the negative reviews here might suggest.
If you have read other reviews here you may have gathered that there are two different edits of this film in circulation; if you have the DVD you can choose the version you want but if you watch it on UK TV (eg 'talking pictures') they generally use one version not the other.
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