Wayne Gardner – The Lone Rider
Astonishing as it may seem, awesome 80s music is not the most alluring feature of this three part documentary that looks at Wayne Gardner. An intensely personal documentary, it takes an in depth look at one of Australia’s motorcycle racing legends, the man who won the 1990 Australian Grand Prix with a broken bone in his wrist, during his breakout 1986 season with Honda.
The Lone Racer follows Gardner’s 1986 season, the season in which he would take the highest spot on the podium three times, the first Australian to win a Grand Prix since Jack Findlay in 1977. It was an extraordinarily interesting time in Gardner’s career, as he was on the cusp of the world championship winning form he would display in the 1987 season. It is fascinating to learn about it from his perspective, as well as that of those close to him.
For the technically inclined amongst you there is an informative little section on Gardner’s Honda NSR 500 and its maintenance and setup.
The documentary is jam-packed with terrific retro racing footage shot during the 1986 season and highlights just how incredibly raw and exciting the racing of the time was. There are some tremendous shots of Gardner and his fellow riders tearing out of corners with their front wheels in the air, or fighting and sometimes failing, to get their bikes pointed forward. The documentary also features entertaining behind the scenes and off track footage that provides great cultural background. Great footage isn’t limited to the 500s either and the documentary features some fun shots of mad sidecar racers.
“It’s like having a jar of risk and, ok I’ll have a bit of risk this time and you’re gonna risk it. And that’s why I don’t like to use that all the time, that little jar of risk. I like to keep it in the corner and if I have to use it and try a bit harder, then OK, I’ll use a bit.” – Wayne Gardner
The hook of the documentary comes in the form of frank and intimate accounts from Gardner and his Fiancée at the time, Donna Forbes. They are both exceptionally open in their discussions and provide some personal insight into the life of a motorcycle racer, going into detail on subjects including their hopes and fears, managing a relationship, preparing for races and dealing with the inherent risk of putting your body on the line to go racing.
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