Classic Motorcycle Mechanics

On Any Sunday’s Bruce Brown remembered.


Bruce Brown – who died aged 80 at the end of 2017 – created, shot, directed and narrated the best motorcycle film ever made – ‘On Any Sunday.’ Bruce Brown was born in San Francisco, California in 1937 and grew up on the beaches, becoming a keen surfer. With an interest in still and motion photograph­y, he made his name in the 1960s with a series of surfing films, the most popular being the 1964 flick ‘The Endless Summer,’ a documentar­y released in 1966 that followed a group of surfers chasing the best waves in California. It was on a visit to Ascot Park that he first saw motorcycle racing and was immediatel­y in awe of these riders and decided to make a documentar­y about them. During 1970, Bruce shot more than 150 hours of film covering discipline­s as diverse as dirt-track, road-racing, desert racing, motocross, trials, hill-climbing and ice racing. The story follows two main characters – Mert Lawwill and Malcolm Smith, but it has a cast of many top US racers of the early 1970s from many discipline­s and there’s also a bit-part for Hollywood legend Steve Mcqueen – who helped fund the film. The photograph­y – considerin­g the limitation­s of the very early 1970s, is stunning. From the slow-mo shots of a Harley XR750 going sideways at 100mph, to the aerial shots of a desert race and the head-camera shots, no film has ever come close to recreating the sheer excitement of racing on two wheels. Our main shot of Gary Nixon shows what constitute­d ‘helmet-cam’ technology of the day! It wasn’t popular, as it was a regular helmet, but with a camera on one side and a 4lb ‘counterwei­ght’ on the other! Nominated for an Academy Award in 1972, it didn’t win, but on a budget of just over $300,000, the box office, video and DVD sales have seen a return of more than $25 million on that initial outlay. Brown said some years ago: “It’s great to have people come up to you and say what an effect the film had on them, or it got them into motorcycle­s and racing.”

 ??  ?? Brown (right) with Smith ‘on set’.
Brown (right) with Smith ‘on set’.
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