Premiere of fastest London 20.Sep.2011


It seems I have been waiting forever for this movie; and then it was over in a nanosecond.

The movie is listed as 110 minutes. However, much like a MotoGP Sunday where we seem to return to our coach 20 minutes after we have disembarked in the morning; the credits were rolling while I was still savouring the starting courses.

In fact the great meal analogy holds: one departs the table fully satiated, taste buds tingling from the melody of culinary experiences served up as one unforgettable course after another. I may not need anything more at this sitting, but I greatly look forward to repeating the experience.


Director Mark Neale

(at our hospitality in Laguna Seca)

aster! has been the iconic movie of the MotoGP world since its release in 2003. Its graphic portrait of MotoGP took us deeper than just the action at the track into the characters, especially the riders, who emerge as heroes of a story and not just a sporting tournament.

But like any story, we have been left hungry for the next volume. Since this is documentary and not the imaginings of a master of fiction, we have a pretty good idea where the heroes have moved on to. However - and here is the mark of a masterpiece - despite the fact that everyone in the audience was deeply familiar with the sport and the what is to come; the film maintains a breathtaking level of suspense as we see events unfolding through the film-makers’ eyes.

Or, as MotoGP rider Cal Crutchlow remarked in the post-film interview when asked if the depiction matched his experience: “Yes, but seeing it this way showed me a lot I didn’t know”.

Bear in mind that this film will have at least TWO audiences. We, the hard core cognoscenti; and bound to be an easy target; and the general public who might have an interest in motor sports but not really intimate with the drama that is MotoGP.  Will this film appeal to them, and thus break out of a very niche audience?

Presuming they have a pulse, it should!

The opening sequence of the film rivals that of the best James Bond adventure. An incredible telling of one of the most dramatic races of the modern era: Catalunya 2009. Those of us fortunate to have been there have a sense of the feeling and emotion of that day, which watching the race on a screen will just never capture. Until Mark Neale that is...

Capturing the final few laps of the epic Lorenzo-Rossi duel both in real time and agonising slo-mo (and even amateur footage!*); interspersed with the telling of the back story in a masterpiece of editing; even the most sceptical of viewers cannot be left with anything but a ravenous hunger for the main course.  The whole audience was cheering!

The film then follows the story of MotoGP, swinging effortlessly into the past and near-present; diving into the heads of the heroes, the men who want to be fastest.  With amazing attention to detail, such as flashing the names of every one of the hundreds of riders who have ever participated in a MotoGP race; or examination of some of the minutiae of the technology in a manner any layman would be comfortable with, the film simply reeks of authority.

In one of Mark Neale’s signature techniques, he captures frank interviews with riders while they are driving. Marco Simoncelli, Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo and others give us quotes and insights that we never get to see in the press conferences and other on-track interviews. I won’t be a spoiler and repeat some of the candid lines; but suffice it to say we are left in little doubt about Marco’s own opinion of his ‘aggressive’ riding style!

Perhaps even more so than the original Faster! Mark delves into more corners surrounding the heroes (especially Valentino Rossi).  He interviews mechanics, crew chiefs, architects and family. He spends a lot of time in Rossi’s home town of Tavullia and we get a real insight as to how ‘ordinary’ (if anyone living in this town can be considered such!) Italians perceive their superhero. We see the reactions of friends and family to injuries and triumphs. The expression on the face of Randy de Puniet’s fiance and umbrella model Lauren Vicker’s face as he crashes badly at the Sachsenring needed no Ewan McGregor narration. We are sitting right in the pit with Ben Spies’ mum Mary when he takes his first MotoGP podium at Silverstone.

I was frequently bumping into Mark Neale and his small crew at many of the MotoGP races in 2010 (he would call it ‘getting in the way’!); so I have a tiny insight into the amount of time and effort (and footage) they accumulated in the production of this film.  If I had to single out one aspect of this film that has left me breathless, it is the exquisite editing which has distilled these countless hours into a riveting 110 minutes that paint a portrait of the sport we love on a canvas the whole world can view.

Perhaps the supreme example of this was a rapid cut sequence of post-race interviews with Rossi where we are treated to dozens of takes on the phrase “and then I pushed it...” which left the audience giggling in a sublime use of comic relief.

Like the great meal, I want to see this movie again.  I predict this will enter the canon of motor sports movies, standing the test of time, and I will be raving about it 20 years from now. (Of course by then we will have had Fastestestestestest!)

This is a movie that makes me proud and privileged to be part of this sport.

See the Fastest website for show times

But my preoccupation is not with the far future but the immediate one. MotoGP needs a larger fan base to grow, and we are on a mission to shine this light. This movie could be a beacon; and you can help.

Go see it. Drag along any friends with a pulse. Do it NOW...  (It is on a very limited release, and needs your support!)

See the movie web site for more information, trailer and show times. DON’T MISS IT!

Gordon Howell

Pole Position Travel

21.Sep.2011 London


We are biased. We have been honoured to have the director Mark Neale appear as our guest speaker over the past several years at the Laguna Seca MotoGP.  See our web site for more...

*Our own claim to fame is that about 1 second of this sequence was extracted from our our YouTube video shot by Pole Position Travel staff member Patrick Crawley! See it...


Empire TheatrE, London

World premiere of new Motogp movie by famed director Mark Neale


We were privileged to be invited to attend the event the evening of 20.9.11 at the Empire Theatre in London’s Leicester Square. Flying over from Prague, we were honoured to be in the company of many British GP riders, including Cal Crutchlow, Danny Webb, Scott Redding, Bradley Smith, Eugene Laverty, Chas Davis, Taylor (and his dad Niall) MacKenzie and others. Moto-mad guests such as actor Danny John-Jules were in attendance; as were BBC presenter Matt Roberts and the EuroSport duo of Toby Moody and Julian Ryder.  The movie was prefaced by a short video welcome from Valentino Rossi who is currently testing in Spain.

An excellent QA session with the presenters and riders followed.

Mark Neale himself was in California - we were disappointed not to be able to congratulate him personally however many congratulatory texts were sent by us and others!

All photos were shot by Gordon Howell of Pole Position Travel