Review by Randy Smith #24 -
One Chance to Win
One Chance to Win is a great movie that has been laying in a can for many years only to be found and now released for the first time by the folks from the Motocross Files. One Chance to Win is a Time Machine takes us back to 1975 and the unforgettable 1975 500cc AMA National Motocross Series and the five way battle for the championship.
Right off the bat I had to turn up the volume on the TV as the movie is quiet compared to normal programming. As the film begins there is a blurry effect used that had me wondering if something was wrong but that was soon gone and replaced with a warm fuzzy feeling of a day gone by and all the cool bikes, ride gear, long hair, Pit Tootsies and tow vehicles. The movie kind of has that “On Any Sunday” feel. Being that both of these films were made were made within a few years of each other it makes sense. You can’t forget that funky old school porn movie music that plays in the background. It’s a sign of the times for sure.
1975 was a short series of only 5 races and you enter the battle in the second round in Mexico New York (Round one had been in Baldwin Kansas). The main focus in this film is on Jammin Jimmy Weinert but we also see plenty of Tony DiStefano, Pierre Karsmakers, Marty Smith, Brad Lackey, Billy Grossi, Kent Howerton and the sometimes forgotten Steve Stackable. Man these guys are tough, two 40 minute Moto’s in smoking heat. They are exhausted after one moto only to go back and do it again a hour or so later.
With interviews sprinkled throughout the movie you get to see these young lean and mean men talk about their profession. Jimmy Weinert talks about how his Dad made him to be able to do 100 push ups before he would let young Jimmy race and when Jimmy finally did go race, he wins 23 straight races from Amateur to Expert. Pit shots show Jimmy riding his Suzuki while setting backwards on it. Great priceless shots for sure.
Round 3 was in Lake Sugar Tree Virginia. Round 4 in Ravenna Ohio and the Final Race was along side a levy in New Orleans with searing heat and dripping humidity. You will love the up close and personable first corner shots that show the riders bumping and grinding on each other in slow motion and for a 30+ year old film, the colors are great and footage impressive.
One of the sub topics of the film is Bad Brad Lackey comes into the series late but a USA favorite as he had just finished 6th in the World Standings. He is thought to only be there to be a point’s spoiler but he proceeds to be a mathematical possible series champ in the end. What I thought was funny is Brad is holding a personal grudge against Pierre Karsmakers and is out on the track for the primary purpose to ruin Pierre’s day. Poor Pierre, being a foreigner and one heck of a great rider, he gets picked on by the mean old USA rider. Brad had it done to him over in Europe so it was pay back time.
This is a GREAT FILM. Go get it and when you are done watching it, go to the Bonus Features and you can watch another 50 minutes of footage of interviews with those that were there back then as they look back from current 2007. Hear mechanics Bill Buchka, Dave Arnold and Roy Turner talk about their riders. Original Director and Producer Charles Bush talks about how the film was made. Jody Weisel, Bevo Forte and Bob Hannah add their views along with the racers featured in the film. I loved the film and liked the bonus features even better. 30 years later Pierre Karsmakers is still upset. Call Pierre a Waaammm-bulance.
The highest rating-5 spark plugs!
Randy Smith #24
Review by Mark ‘Hollywood’ Jarecki 45Q -
One Chance to Win
You will love this one!
I remember going to the first race of the 500cc series in 1975 but my memory is not as keen as I would like. In “One Chance to Win“, little known film maker Charles Bush decided to document the sport of Motocross and picks up the rest of the ‘75 series right after Lawrence, Kansas culminating in New Orleans where 5 or so different riders could theoretically win. (Unlike today) For some 30 years his work sat on the shelf until recently. Mr. Bush I’m soooo glad this piece got released. The Movie is a real winner. 1975 was in the golden era of motocross with Americans struggling here at home. It wasn’t hard for a European to come over and win is the US. European riders dominated early motocross until 1975. This piece does a great job of following the 1975 500cc circuit, with everyone wanting to beat Pierre Karsmakers, the front-runner of the day.
“One Chance to Win” features the ‘75 500cc circuit, an epic battle in itself. “One Chance to Win” totally captures the Americans VS the Europeans here at home where Jimmy Weinert is our boy in ‘75. The chosen one. Everything is done to derail Karsmakers that year. Even Brad was brought back home from Europe in time to throw another wrench into the mix, anything it seems to knock Karsmakers out. This is real world old school motocross. It’s classic motocross with a serious agenda. America needs the big win. There’s a real plot to the ‘75 series many of us had forgotten or didn‘t realize. I can’t say enough about this film. Also fantastic is footage Charles Bush captures of all your favorite riders, on the road, with very cool behind the scenes pit talk, traveling, the vans and bikes of the day, all clear and done with great taste and sound. These guys lugged a ton of equipment around the tracks to get this footage and it shows. The film shows exactly how it was in 1975. Way cool.
Jody Weisel, Brad Lackey, Jimmy Weinert, and others also do a great job in the 50-minute bonus documentary explaining the battle yet to come and how it goes down. (Watch this first) There was no love lost between Lackey and Karsmakers. This is the real deal. There’s some serious bar-bangin’ going on.
In the past I’ve given 2 of the highest ratings, one which was a full out Hollywood production starring Anthony Hopkins. As far as the Motocross docu’s are concerned, “One Chance to Win” gets my highest rating of 5 spark plugs. First class all the way.