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Common Tread

Movie night: the B-movie version of "On Any Sunday"

Jan 09, 2020

You think you’ve seen all the motorcycle films out there.

“On Any Sunday,” sure. “Easy Rider.” “The Wild One.” “Long Way Round.” “The Great Escape,” maybe. “The World’s Fastest Indian.” Big deal. 

You fall farther down the rabbit hole. The other classics fall before you like a Multistrada with a busted side stand, and you're into slightly more obscure stuff. “TT: Closer to the Edge.” “Electra Glide in Blue.” “Little Fauss and Big Halsy.” You queue up “Top Gun” and “Mad Max” for the bit roles. In desperation, “Biker Boyz.” “Cool as Ice.” Now you’re watching “Happy Days” for the motorcycle scenes only to realize that Fonzie doesn’t really ride much, he just poses, and that makes you feel worse. You watch “Tomorrow Never Dies” for the R 1200 C antics. Even though it isn’t the worst Bond film, you somehow feel even emptier. To deeper and darker places you go.

“Torque.” “Wild Hogz.” Spurgeon riding a bicycle. What’s left?

Pour the last of your stale, leftover holiday egg nog and settle in because I’m pretty sure you haven’t seen “Sidewinder 1.” It is the last word in 1970s motocross B-movie magic, complete with an equally 1970s soundtrack, more two-stroke sounds than you’ll know what to do with, and I think there’s a love story plot of some kind, or at least more of a love story plot than “Twist of the Wrist II.”

Here’s the general idea: In the early days of American motocross, washed-up racer J.M. Wyatt is approached by a man of means to test and perfect a nutty new motocross bike, the Sidewinder 1. There’s bluish smoke and some dialogue. Here’s a trailer to whet your appetite.

The whole thing’s on YouTube, and it’s infinitely better than “Ghost Rider,” so let the sweet song of early motocross take you away.

Bonus video! This dude claims to have the last surviving Sidewinder from the film. Apparently they were hopped-up Maicos. Check out those mags!

I’ll be humming “I want a Sidewinder that wins” in my helmet every time I haul out my poky DR-Z250. I’ve gotta say, it’s catchy. If anyone knows more about this movie, I want to hear about it. And if you want to help fulfill my dreams of Joe Zito campaigning a Sidewinder 1 replica in AHRMA races, well, we can talk about that, too.