Directed by Austin Vince
By Tammy Wanchena and Kevin Kocur
Some men must prove the size of their manhood by maxing their charge cards and adding a third mortgage on to their trailer home in order to purchase a flashy car. Others, who are naturally endowed, get enough “action” that they can spend a full year circumnavigating the globe without the touch of a woman. For the women who love speed and adventure, and a man to share the expenses with, this leaves our outlook fairly dim. Seven left. Three came back. A big idea tossed around the pub resulted in seven blokes from England setting out on a journey to circumnavigate the globe; riding the longest route, in the shortest time possible. In 1995, they set off from London on Suzuki DR350s; across Europe and Asia to the far eastern edge of Siberia. Next, it was Anchorage to Santiago, Chile; followed by Africa, where they pick up another friend to join their ride. Then it’s back home to London! Traveling 40 countries in 405 days may not have been their original plan, but that’s how long it took once they realized there were circumstances even the most prepared of riders simply could not plan for. Like being arrested at the Turkish border. Or Clive, whom Kevin was convinced was the lead singer in Spandau Ballet (I know this much is not “True”), getting run over by a lorry. Or the inconceivable amount of tire changes and breakdowns that occurred along the way.
I truly love this movie. The guys are as fun and unpretentious as you could ever meet. They don’t possess a single care about the cameras or how dirty they look, and they even dye all their heads blonde for the sheer amusement of it. They looked better bald when they shaved their heads to avoid getting lice. They never once criticize their mates who did not finish the journey, rather they admire the challenges their friends faced by leaving their girlfriends behind.
Kevin was bothered by their extremely close sleeping quarters and their lack of women ogling. Knowing Kevin as well as I do, I can assure you that he, too, may love bikes more than he does women. But I know for a fact that Kevin would never have made that journey. He can’t even survive a day without coffee! Kevin was also bothered by the fact that two of the guys left the trip early to return home to their girlfriends, claiming the guys were “whipped”. This coming from a guy who “recognized” the singer from Spandau Ballet.
Geez, Tammy. Talk about firing one over the bow! Not complete the journey? Not without coffee? If you’d been able to keep your eyes open long enough (after that bottle of wine) you may have remembered the chaps sitting around a morning campfire brewing up fresh pots of the black stuff. Maybe it wouldn’t have been quite as good as what they serve you through the window of a fancy coffee shop, but do remember that these riders were roughing it in the wilderness and riding 350cc dual sports.
Right, then. Let’s get back to the movie, shall we?
Many of the breakdowns were repaired on the side of the road, but sometimes things were so bad that the boys would have to search for the local “mechanic”. Crude welding and makeshift sprockets allowed the gang to continue their journey. Often their misfortunes would bring them in contact with an interesting, kind individual who would treat the chaps to some local hospitality. A memorable scene involves a spent wheel bearing in the middle of nowhere. As luck would have it, a bearing was procured from the nearest farmhouse, the bike was repaired, and the lads spent the evening drinking vodka with their new found friend. Drunken arm wrestling, anyone?
And sometimes things just got ugly. Washed out roads, no roads, and roads under three feet of water meant loading the bikes onto the Trans-Siberian Railway for part of the trip. Never say die. Find a way. Using two different cameras (one of them a Super 8) the group shot some pretty impressive footage. One of the cameras even had a separate microphone, which the gang used to stage mock interviews—usually when one of the riders was repairing yet another breakdown. The mixture of the different films really gives the movie a fun look. The eclectic soundtrack (presumably original) was interesting as well, combining a mixture of Rolling Stones-like instrumentals and 70’s porn music.
“Mondo Enduro” is a fantastic film. It not only makes you want to pack the bike and head for parts unknown, it will also have you cheering for these underdogs as they make their way around the globe. But be warned: watching movies such as these could be hazardous to your bank account. By the time you read this, I suspect that I’ll have a dual sport parked in the garage, and maps spread out all over the living room floor. So true, funny how it seems…