"Dust to Glory" DVD Review

"As you go through life, if you knew you were making history, you would've paid more attention to it."

-Vic Wilson, Baja 1000 Overall Winner

Every generation seems to have an event or two that they can look back at that left an indelible mark on the generation itself and for the individuals of that generation to use as a waypoint in their own life. The assassination of JFK, Watergate, the first Space Shuttle launch, the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, the fall of Communism and the collapse of Russia, the first time the Beetles were broadcast nationally on the Ed Sullivan Show and yes, heaven help us, reality TV.

The sports world also has its hallmarks. Like Mark McGuire's 70th home run to smash Roger Maris' home run record in a single season or Lance Armstrong with his seven straight Tour De France victories. For many motor sports enthusiasts a particular film made its mark on more than one generation by exposing the reality of motorcycles and motorcycle racing. Few movies have impacted the sport as much as "On Any Sunday."

Dana Brown (Step Into Liquid) has given a new generation a new film on which they can anchor their own dreams of being a champion by way of "Dust to Glory." Quite simply this is an awesome film. Not only will gearheads and motor sports fans find it to be a gem in their collection but also anyone who appreciates a well-narrated, well-directed and engaging documentary. Dana was compelled to document the 2003 Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 by Mike "Mouse" McCoy, a five time amateur champion and a ringer for a modern James Dean. Mouse is one of the primary athletes that Brown follows as he attempts to complete the entire 1000 solo on a motorcycle.

Brown does an excellent job of interspersing racer commentary with footage to help give the viewer a sense of chronology of the best know races in the world. This is quite helpful as much of the film is also full of past race veterans commentating on the race itself as if it were a living thing. Brown uses these salty characters to give the viewer an idea of how far the Baja 1000 has come.

As a matter of fact the plethora of past race heroes is one of the strong points of the film with 15-time Baja 500 Solo champion, Ivan "Ironman" Stewart giving kudos to Mouse McCoy for his gallant effort and Malcolm Smith is recorded donating time and energy with his son to an orphanage in deep Baja, Mexico. Dana has done a superb job of tying the present to the past as he makes sure to give a great deal of coverage to JN Roberts whom was the winner of the first 1000 in 1967. JN was such a force that he dominated the race for the next 27 years, according to Brown. And here he is again, one more time entering the 1000 but this time with his son as a teammate and co-rider. Mr. Roberts turned 62 years old only a few days after the end of the race. Quite a feat to say the least.

The film also does an excellent job of using this story within a story to show just how much of a family affair the race is for some people. It's just a taste of the kind of homage Brown pays to the race itself. Many, many more old-timers are given plenty of reel time throughout.

Don't fret that Dust to Glory is a dry history lesson. Case in point: there is a thrilling rivalry that's covered between Andy Girder, who was knocked off the Honda A team by a "corporate type" just two weeks before the race. A fellow Honda racer asked if Andy wanted to race on the B team. The drama begins to unfold as Andy challenges Steve Hengeveld on the A team to cut his lead in half by checkpoint four. During a frantic pit stop the 11x bike of Andy Girder would take the lead. And in a moment that many would call karmic, one of the few people to witness the section of racecourse where Andy would lead the race was the man who cut Andy from the team as he flew overhead in the Honda helicopter. Johnny Campbell, Hengeveld's teammate, would take over for this leg of the race where he applied his pre-run (a strategic opportunity to ride your leg of the course before the actual race, as allowed by the rules) strategy by racing "off' the course. Campbell would sprint down on the hard packed sand of the shoreline, as this particular section of the course would run parallel to the ocean. Campbell would gain valuable time in this maneuver as he piloted his bike to over 110mph before coming back on shore to threaten Andy's new found lead. This portion of the film is truly engaging as the footage and epic music combination suck the viewer into the battle at hand. It's just one of the many thrilling moments in this 137-minute documentation of one of the greatest races in the world.
To its credit and your benefit the movie is not all motorcycles. As MO Publisher Sean Alexander comments: "The film work is superb and the speed, power and drama all come through very clearly. This is a fantastic film and doubly so, since it's race cars and motorcycles!" Just about every type of vehicle gets some time in the film. From Class One million dollar buggies to motorcycles to original, unmodified VW Bugs. And according to race organizer Sal Fish, the variety of allowable entrants is deliberate. As he says: "The Baja 1000 is open to everyone."

Dust to Glory an entertaining and informative for a documentary. For example, a local racer engages in telling of UFO sightings in a past race. Additionally, the on-board footage gives the viewer the full sensation of being on, in, beside, under and over the race machines. The movie also has its heartfelt touches: like the touching moment when Johnny Cambell, a Baja 1000 legend in Mexico, gives one of his own race jerseys out of the Honda factory truck to a joy filled local boy. Dana Brown skillfully entices many racers past and present to talk about the 1000 from what can be clearly seen as an emotional tie they have with the race. It's just one of many highpoints of this soon to be classic.

It's MO Trivia - DVD Giveaway!

Somewhere, buried deep within MO is a picture of our Million Mile Man giving a motorcycle the 'tasters' test. The first user to post in Reader Feedback the correct answers to all of the below will win a sealed, new copy of the DVD, "Dust to Glory."

Post the answers to the following:

Who is the staffer? What bike is he 'tasting'? What story is this pic in? What is the filename of the image?

*HINT: We'll save everyone some grief by telling you that the story is within the past three (3) years.

Good luck,
The Sadistic Staff of MO

As is typical with any quality DVD these days, Dust to Glory has its "Special Features." One of the more interesting and poignant features is the "Tribute to Bruce Brown." Bruce Brown, if the name isn't readily familiar, was a pioneer in cinematic documentaries. To him we owe a debt of gratitude for "The Endless Summer." The famed documentary of surfing that lead generations to take up the sport. Better known to the motor sports crowd is Bruce's film that was equally as responsible for inspiring youth to get involved. You may not recognize the name Bruce Brown immediately but you most certainly have heard of "On Any Sunday." Dana Brown, Bruce's son, pays homage to his father in this portion of the DVD's special features. It's most definitely worth watching to see some of the history behind his dad's work. Equally worth the search are "Dust to Glory: Behind the Scenes", Deleted Scenes and the "Amazing moments captured by the crew" feature.

There simply isn't enough space or words to cover all the details, thrills and insightful moments in Dust to Glory. It has received critical acclaim and rightfully so. Do your video library a grand favor and go get a copy of Dust to Glory as soon as possible!

"Dust to Glory"
Narrated, written and directed by Dana Brown
Director of photography, Kevin Ward
Edited by Dana Brown and Scott Waugh
Produced by Scott Waugh and Mike McCoy.
An IFC Films release
Running time: 1:35.
MPAA rating: PG (racing action and peril, and for some language).

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