Did you happen to catch The Motocross Files last night? It
was an incredible half-hour documentary on Speed Channel about “Bad”
Brad Lackey, America’s first World Motocross Champion. The show was
made by Todd Huffman and friends, and it’s quite possibly one of the
best motocross shows we’ve ever seen. So we rang Todd up as he was
putting the finishing touches on next week’s show (Tuesday, December 6,
10:30 p.m. EST on Speed), which will feature Marty Smith.
Todd, first of all, I don’t know if I should thank you or be mad at
you. On one hand, you just gave us 30 great minutes of the first
motocross files, but we’re on a deadline, and when the whole office
came to a standstill to watch the show, I had no choice but to join
|Brad Lackey was the featured legend in the first edition of The Motocross Files|
|photo: Kinney Jones|
Todd Huffman: [Laughs] Well, thank you! We hope we did the
subject matter, Brad and Lori Lackey, justice on their story and hope
to do the same for the remaining four guys, and maybe more after that.
I had heard bits and pieces here and there about The Motocross Files and
even spoke to you guys and contributed some old photos, but I was truly
amazed and impressed by what I saw. That was like the Sports Century story on Walter Payton – it was really well done.
Well, we have a great team – but a very small team – of freelance
people that work for other production houses and work out of their
bedrooms and whatever, that have special talents when it comes to
putting some of those sequences together. And of course you guys and
some of the other publications, and people with old footage and Terry
Good from www.mxworksbike.com was a tremendous supporter and
contributor to the piece. And we wish we had an hour, because there was
a lot of good stuff that didn’t make it into the show.
I can only imagine, but I’ve got to tell you that there was a lot of
good stuff that did make it into the show. Brad Lackey’s story is a
very complex one. He’s right there at the birth of motocross in
America, and he becomes the U.S. champion and then becomes the World
Champion and then a vintage regular. It’s hard to get 30 years of
superstardom into 30 minutes, isn’t it?
Yeah, that was the hardest part, and we kind of summed it up at the
beginning of the show that these are the stories that were never heard
before. We didn’t want it to be just a recap show of results. And
stories of Brad and Joel and the guys in that first Edison Dye trip in
1967, it started from there and then he went to Czecho. A lot of people
knew he went to Europe but didn’t know the details of what went on
behind the Iron Curtain. And we had just enough good still photos that
Brad and Lori supplied to us that kind of made the piece come alive.
But traveling in Europe, raising kids and just never giving up – I
think that was probably the biggest part of the story. And skipping
ahead a few years to get into the meat of it to get him to that
Luxembourg race in 1982, that was quite a challenge.
admit that I wasn’t able to watch it last night, but we’re lucky enough
to have a TiVo here in the office, and whenever I first walked in
someone said, “Hey, who was Andre Malherbe?” I was like, “My God, it’s
been years since someone younger than me asked me that question!” So to
see that come alive and the footage and everything – nice piece of
detective work. I know you have a lot of sources, but someone has to
identify all of that and pull it all together. As the producer
visionary of all of this, it looks like a labor of detective work
almost as much as it was a labor of love.
|1970s superstar Marty Smith will be the topic of the next show|
I’ve got to give a lot of credit to three people in particular.
First would be Rick “Super Hunky” Siemen for kind of believing over two
years ago that this was worth doing and hooking us up with Brad. And of
course Brad and Marty Smith, the two guys that said, “Yeah, let’s start
shooting this thing.” And then Brad and Lori opened up their house to
us and said, “Here’s all of the photos and videotapes.” So we started
looking through them and we’d be like, “Wait a second, there’s a clip
of Brad right on Andre Vromans’ tail.…” Just finding these pieces, you
have to give a lot of credit to the subject’s themselves, because they
have the best archives of information.
You said you didn’t want it to be just a rehashing of the results,
but it was almost like a “Who’s Who” of motocross. Off the top of my
head, and I know I’m going to forget someone, but I saw Hannah,
DeCoster, Rick Johnson, Bevo Forti, Roy Janson, Danny LaPorte, Dave
Arnold, Jim Felt … there were so many people. You definitely covered
the bases there.
Well, even to dig out Brad’s first CZ sponsor—the guy who sent him to Czecho—to sit down for two minutes, that was fantastic.
You mentioned Marty Smith. Can we expect something similar to this maybe next week?
I think so. I’m elbows-deep in Marty Smith right now. And him, as
well as Roger DeCoster, are logging tape. And Marty has his own story
and we’re getting a lot of great footage from folks and still photos
from people. It’s a tight deadline for all of us. We’re all up till
midnight every night working on this thing and putting it on the
airplane at the last minute and keeping our fingers crossed that
everything is okay.
what I saw and with Speed getting behind Amp’d Mobile Supercross right
now and maybe the outdoor nationals and GP’s – I just think that this
is a perfect fit. What about industry support? I saw some awesome Troy
Lee ads with Jeff Ward wheelie-ing a mini bike and Lucas Oils. Are you
getting good vibes from the industry?
|The King of the 1980s, Rick Johnson, gets his own show|
|photo: Dick Miller archives|
Well, it’s a little too soon to tell, but we got some nice kudos
this morning from people. And I’ll be honest, Davey, it’s been a
struggle for a couple years to get people interested in this. A couple
of them got on early on, but unfortunately it’s Speed’s account so we
can’t officially get them involved with the show. But it was really
Lucas Oil and Troy Lee right behind them that said they wanted to be
involved and believed that the history of motocross should be told and
that no one else is doing it and it’s different enough from just a pure
event-type racing show. So we hope to get some more support in the
future once people see what the response was.
Well, there’s some really big companies out there that I hope will
read this and take a look at the next show, because this is the kind of
thing that I think motocross needs, and I know I’m not alone in
thinking that. If Super Hunky believes in it then we as an entire
movement believe in it, because as Tracy Chapman says, “You don’t know
your past, you don’t know your future.”
Yeah, and it’s hard to believe that we’re covering stuff that is 30
years old. These were the guys that were my heroes when I was a kid and
maybe there is some partiality of who we chose just based on my own
roots in the sport.
You can’t go wrong with “Bad” Brad, Marty Smith, and Roger DeCoster. Tell us when the last two guys are.
We have five shows, but everything is already in the can. Marty
Smith is next week, followed by Roger DeCoster and Rick Johnson. And
then we’re finishing with Bob Hannah.
As far as truly retired guys go, that’s pretty much the Mt. Rushmore of American motocross. And
the content we have for Mr. Hannah is pretty unbelievable. I just wish
Speed could give us an hour on Hannah, because he not only opened his
house and live to us up in Boise, but he let us walk away with a ton of
still photos, family clippings, stories, and even footage of him today.
We can do a whole half-hour show of what Bob Hannah does today! It’s
just very classic stuff.
|Huffman says the Bob Hannah show will be amazing|
|photo: Dick Miller archives|
That reminds me, it’s about time that Eric Johnson checks in with
the man. “What About Bob?” has sort of been an annual hot-button topic
here for us on Racer X Online. But I will say in one day more than the
entire industry in a year. Todd, if people want to see it, is this
first show going to re-air with Brad Lackey?
Yes. Actually, we’ll do a run of five weeks with the shows and then
they’ll repeat on the same Tuesday. So Bob Hannah is the last of the
five and airs on December 27 and then we’ll start the following week
with Brad Lackey again. And the Brad show may be just slightly
different because we want to improve and have a couple things we’d like
to fix on it.
Congratulations again, because I know you put a great deal of time
and effort and probably a sizable amount of your own bank account into
this. On behalf of motocross fans everywhere, I thank you – this is
I really appreciate that, Davey. And thanks to Racer X and
all of your readers and fans that allows people like us to see the end
of a couple years of work and effort. Not a whole bunch of money at the
end of the day, but I think the future looks bright. A big thanks to
all the people with still cameras, video and 8mm cameras who shot stuff
way back then and are digging it out to contribute it to the show. We
don’t have a big budget to buy footage, but it’s working out so far.
Thanks for your time, Todd, and we’ll surely be tuning into Speed next Tuesday for the next episode of The Motocross Files.
Thank you, Davey.