Directed by Austin Vince
By Kevin Kocur
From the same blokes that brought you “Mondo Enduro” (MMM #103), comes “Terra Circa”. In “Mondo Enduro”, the adventurers took off on 350cc dual sports to conquer parts of Europe, Russia, the U.S and South America. During their attempt to cross Russia, they encountered the impassable Zilov Gap. Defeated by the Gap (no, not the jeans store) they eventually loaded the bikes onto a railway car to finish their trek across Russia.
For “Terra Circa”, the group would be riding over 20,000 miles from London to New York. They would cross Europe, into Turkey, Kazakhstan, Russia, and then ferry over to Japan. In Japan, the bikes were crated and shipped over to Los Angeles for the trek across the U.S.
The team would be lead by Dave, younger brother to Clive, who rode in “Mondo Enduro”. Clive wouldn’t be making this trip. Charlie, Gerald, Austin, Matt and Joe would accompany Dave. The film was shot on a variety of cameras, and the Super 8mm was again employed.
Like “Mondo Enduro”, “Terra” would be done on a shoestring budget. Bike repairs were often done alongside the road or, if the problem was too severe, a local mechanic might be summoned. The group would camp wherever they could find shelter. This would include abandoned factories, resorts and shacks. The coolest spot they camped at was an abandoned Turkish bath. Most of the time they ate food cooked with their camp stoves, or over an open fire. Bathing was often in the form of rivers and lakes, although they did come across a rusted out caravan (travel trailer, to us Yanks) that had been turned into a shower.
A significant part of the journey would involve Russia. But Russia wasn’t going be easy. It took two days, stuck in Customs, just to enter. And then there’s the mosquitoes. Apparently, there is somewhere on earth with a worse mosquito problem then Minnesota.
And then there’s the Zilov Gap. Nearly 400 miles of mud and endless river crossings—often times the water level was waist-deep. Slow going and challenging, to say the least.
The boys eventually make it out of the country and make the ferry to Japan. The only problem is that Japan will not allow their bikes into the county. Not willing to accept defeat, they come up with a rather creative plan to continue, and the shots of them riding through Japan are breathtaking.
I enjoyed “Mondo Enduro”, and now I can say I’ve enjoyed “Terra Circa” as well. What these guys accomplish on limited resources is nothing short of amazing. You don’t watch these films for the production quality because it, like the journey itself, is a bit raw.
There are thrills and spills, agony and defeat. An injury sends one rider back to the UK. The gang is delayed for five hours after riding many miles of fresh tar and the bikes—and riders—become covered in the stuff. At one point, one of the bikes even catches fire.
Draw yerself a pint and fire up the DVD player. There are a lot worse ways to spend two hours.