Long Way Round – more or less changed my life. I was so blown away by it that by 2005 I’d started ‘Biketruck’ – moving motorbikes to Africa in a truck – giving up a highly paid corporate career and looking for any opportunity to get work in and around the adventure motorcycle world. I did the Hero’s Legend Dakar Rally with Hubert Auriol (Dakar winner on bike and car) and got deeper and deeper into long distance travel, some enduro and bike rallies. Long Way Down – was more feed for the adventure in me, not as fresh or as raw as LWR but still highly entertaining. Bizarrely, I subsequently went on to work with Charley Boorman across numerous projects – all over the world. I’ve just returned from 10,000k’s across southern Africa and over the last two years I’ve done about 60,000k’s – including Australia, South America, Europe and the Middle East – all primarily off road.
The boys get a fair bit of stick here and there – ‘rich kids’, ‘support crew’, ‘sell outs’, ‘security’, ‘money’, ‘helicopters’, ‘spare bikes’, ‘hotels’, ‘actors’, ‘plastic adventurers’ – you get the point – I could go on. Just remember, from the beginning, they’ve never tried to pretend they were exceptional riders or expert adventure riders – they filmed all the fuckups (there were many) and the bike drops (mainly Ewan) and even the arguments. They’re making a TV show – they need camera people and some sort of crew – that’s why LWR won world acclaim and was sold to over 70 countries. The book – again – won international awards and sold and sold. They managed this because they had a professional approach to the documentary and a team to help capture everything. They also had some luck and I think crested a wave that was already gaining momentum from people like Mondo Enduro, Chris Scott and of course many others less well known.
Now here they are again – this time, right out there on a limb. Doing something that can’t really be done. Going against the grain. Creating a fair bit of controversy. Picking a brand probably nobody would have picked – yet when they had many options to choose from. Attracting the critics – ‘it’s a PR disaster’ – ‘must be getting paid big time’ – ‘where are the helicopters’ and on and on.
I think it’s fantastic. I love the gamble. I love the way they’ve turned it all upside down and shocked everyone (no pun there Mark). I love them being ‘different’. I wish them all the best because to top LWR, they had to do something really really different. Time will tell – but I’m optimistic.
PR disaster? I doubt it – how many PR disasters has BMW had? or KTM? How are they doing? We are living in an age were ‘e’ just about fits in front of everything we do and this new documentary may not be what the majority was all waiting for, maybe hoping for – but – it could well be the very next wave to be crested and by doing so, Charley and Ewan may just be part of that momentum, part of that new ‘e’ world that is slowly but surely creeping over us all. Warts n’all, this will be talked about analysed, criticized and probably enjoyed by thousands, if not hundreds of thousands.|