2005 Taylor Productions
by Kevin Kocur and Victor Wanchena
Kevin sez: Motocross in the 70’s. Guys named Pomeroy, Smith and Grossi battled it out on bikes by Bultaco, Honda and Husqvarna. “BackTrack” is a fun and fast documentary that mixes vintage and current motocross footage and rider interviews.
A lot of the old footage looks like it was shot on Dad’s old Super 8 movie camera. The only thing missing was Mom’s finger halfway across the lens. Still, the grainy images help preserve some of the good ol’ days of motocross. Riders that weren’t even born in the 70’s can appreciate the trials and hardships that their moto-forefathers endured before them. Bikes broke frequently, factory sponsorship usually meant that some parts might be available, and you might be lucky enough to work out of a converted bread van, as opposed to the big 18 wheelers that many factory teams boast today.
In addition to the voiceovers by the riders, there are many personal interviews. Many are quite hilarious, and you may get a glimpse of an ego or two. Some of the stories told included Marty Smith tackling some questionable terrain with a rental car, Kent Howerton building a minibike utilizing the family’s lawnmower engine, and how many of the riders were their own R&D department. In my opinion, Jim Pomeroy had the best stories; especially his tales of racing in Europe without an interpreter and how the locals tried to help him “learn the language.” Pomeroy’s animated style of story-telling was refreshing and never got old.
At 50 minutes, “BackTrack” is an enjoyable way to kill an hour at home in the dead of winter, or to play on your garage’s DVD player while wrenching on your Hodaka Dirt Squirt.
Victor Sez: Before Supercross, before freestyle competitions and hang off the bike stunts, motocross was an obscure sport. These were the days when men were men and motocross was the domain of the European juggernaut. “BackTrack” is a fun look back at the early days of motocross and some the riders that brought it to the US.
Featuring a ton of interviews done at a vintage motocross held every year in Texas, the interviews include such notables as Gary Jones, Billy Grossi, Kent Howerton, and the late, great Jim Pomeroy. The interviews were actually rather candid; the riders no longer needing to be mindful of sponsors. Interspersed with the interviews were old motocross footage and some modern footage shot during the interviews. The old clips were worth the price of admission. Many of the venerable marques are on display in the old clips. Huskys, Bultacos, Maicos, Yamahas, Suzukis, and the list goes on, all seen in their muddy glory.
On a bittersweet note, this is the last interview of Jim Pomeroy before his untimely death. He was ironically killed in a traffic accident last year. His musings about riding the European circuit for Bultaco were wonderful and the fact that his perspective on that part of history has been captured is fantastic.
This is a documentary for those who remember the golden age of motocross. Those with only a passing interest in the sport will probably not feel the same emotion watching “BackTrack” as those closer to it. “BackTrack” is available from Taylor Productions at www.backtrackvideo.com or 402.890.1512.