So I know this is mainly a car blog, but as I was searching the other night for a specific MTV show where they followed MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden, I came across a powerful and fantastic movie from director Mark Neale. The Doctor, The Tornado & The Kentucky Kid. If you just read that title and are saying to yourself – what? – have no fear. I follow a little little of MotoGP, but those are each of the nicknames of arguably 3 of the best riders in the world. The Doctor is the nickname of God-like, 9x MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi. Okay, let’s slow it down and say that again. 9 time world champion. This is MotoGP, the motorbike equivalent of Formula 1. Michael Schumacher is the greatest F1 driver (statistically) with 7 titles under his belt.
Ok, enough of the Italian charm. Next is The Tornado. This is the nickname for Texan Colin Edwards. The former AMA star was a 2 time World Superbike Champion before stepping up to MotoGP in 2003. Last, but not least, is The Kentucky Kid, from…well, it should be obvious. Just like Edwards, Hayden grew up racing motocross before leaving the mud for asphalt. The youngest ever AMA Superbike Champion joined Edwards in MotoGP during the same year, and in 2006 went on to win the MotoGP title. It’s a family tradition for the Haydens as his brothers, Tommy & Roger, are also competing in superbikes in the AMA series.
I find Nicky fascinating in a sense. I like how down to earth he is, with his Owensboro, Kentucky roots. From the MTV show I saw a few years back, it was funny and cool to see how he approached things like not knowing what shampoo to get in a supermarket because of the language barrier in Spain, to seeing him being one of the good ole’ boys back in Owensboro driving around town in his jacked-up pickup truck and seeing old school friends. Not like a typical European rider, especially as he mentioned in Europe it’s all business, where even the teammates rarely hang out and eat dinner together. This movie also allows you to get a closer view on Colin Edward’s life. I never really knew much about Edwards, but after seeing the film I can say I am a fan of his hard work ethic, his mentality and of his never give up attitude.
The movie focuses on a sole race, the RedBull U.S. Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 2005. The race was the first grand prix on U.S. territory since 1994. It reminds me of the documentary style of ‘Truth in 24′ that Audi did with their Le Mans winning prototype vehicles. Audi used British movie star Jason Statham to narrate, this film uses Scottish movie star (and noted bike enthusiast/rider) Ewan McGregor. The main people it focuses on are: Rossi and 3 Americans. Edwards, Hayden and John Hopkins. The movie does a fantastic job of explaining MotoGP, showing the history, legacy and the mystery behind Laguna, as well as going deep behind the scenes and closed doors to allow you unprecedented access through the garages as well as into the riders’ personal lives. As you progress through the movie, you truly get an appreciation for what these guys are doing. Hitting bumps, dips, ruts, floating their front wheel at over 190+ MPH, loading up the bike on the tire with a contact patch the size of a credit card as well as many other technical details I can’t even remember right now. To understand the depth of what kind of weaponry these riders are dealing with, these are 325 LB (148 KG if you fancy) rockets with a power output of approximately 240HP. Like mentioned in the movie, your modern street car has the same amount of power, yet with 10x more weight. These carbon fibered, titanium engineered wet dreams are completely prototypes in the sense a Daytona or Le Mans car is. They are not based off of production bike chassis’ and are made with only one thing in mind: to race and win. Of course, if you don’t win, then it leaves you with research and development to make your production bikes better and stronger.
But instead of boring you to death – as well as pretty much echoing some of the stuff already said in the film – I’ll leave it to you to watch it. I found it as a thrilling documentary from start to finish and I was impressed with the nerdy technical details.
To watch parts 1-11 in a playlist format with no interruption, click here.