Highway canine capers
MOTORBIKE-RIDING dogs are not just movie makebelieve like in Australia’s hottest new film,
Meet Scrambles, who will accompany owner John Skinner on a transcontinental journey around Australia next month aboard his Triumph Scrambler.
Scrambles recently replaced Scarlet, Skinner’s best mate for 10 years who died of old age.
‘‘ It tore me to Skinner says.
The 60-year-old selfconfessed gypsy says Scrambles quickly took to his matte-black Triumph.
‘‘She rides in a shoulder bag and as soon as I put the bag down, she jumps in,’’ he says. Scarlet used to ride on the tank, but the practice is now banned in all states.
is set in the Outback in the ’70s when it was still legal for a dog to ride on a bike’s fuel tank. In the film, Victorian kelpie Koko plays the lead role as a hitch-hiking, bike-riding Outback wanderer.
Producer Nelson Woss says Koko didn’t once fall off in the making of the film.
‘‘Luke Hura trained Koko to ride on motorbikes just like dogs do on farms all over Australia,’’ Woss says.
‘‘He never fell off once. We took very good care of him with safety. But the one thing that was dangerous is he has been trained that when a car or ute stops and opens the door, he will just jump in, so we had to be very careful he didn’t suddenly disappear.’’
The film is based on the true story of a dog known for standing in the middle of the road and stopping cars to hitch a ride.
‘‘When he heard one that he knew was a mate that would pick him up he would stand in the middle of the road,’’ he says.
Woss says the thrust of the movie is ‘‘all about driving and movement’’.
‘‘There is something very iconic about driving in Australia with your dog.’’ he says.
The four hero vehicles of the film are a 1968 VE Valiant, a 1969 XW Ford Falcon ute, a 1974 Honda CB750 motorbike and a ’70s bus.
‘‘It was so important to get the vehicles right and authentic,’’ Woss says.
Victorian kelpie Koko plays the lead role as a hitch-hiking, bike-riding Outback wanderer in