On day two of the Episode 5 shoot, we got to take Brad’s 1974 Honda CB360 onto the private flat track where we’d been filming the day before. For a whole day Brad and I had been eyeing it, talking about finally shooting some footage on it. When the day came we were both a little nervous, both with Brad getting onto the track for the first time in a while and also maybe letting loose a little too much in our excitement.
When we finally got onto the track, I had Brad do a few safe laps. Nothing exciting. Then I asked him if he could go a little bit sideways. “Yep,” he says.
And here, obviously is where it got exciting. This is what we came here for. I got low and started to move around, seeking angles that would get me closer to the slide, so I could linger in the moment some more. After about a dozen shots, I found a spot sitting inside the track and facing west into the early setting sun. Brad was now sufficiently warmed up and, as I lined up the shot and hit record, I could hear him circling around from behind me, the CB’s engine angrier than any of the previous runs. He comes into shot with a perfect slide, inside foot grinding the dust, and the rear wheel just kicking out, having the time of its life.
I was pretty sure we had something special and reviewing the shot afterward on the camera screen, we knew that all the elements had come together to give us a truly magic moment.
But even before this moment, Brad had pulled all of his own elements to create a very special CB360.
When I first met Brad Coles, at Throttle Roll earlier this year, he was clearly passionate about what he’d built. When we got a chance to sit down and have a bit more of a lengthy conversation about how he built the bike, how told me he’d had an initial idea in his mind of what he wanted to build and then over time it changed, evolved if you will, into something else completely.
Brad’s story clicked for me when I realised his story wasn’t about evolving forward, but rather about looking back; looking back beyond his own life span into his family’s racing heritage through his father and grand-father. Because, after listening to each of his answers to my questions it became clear to me that it was this heritage that really permeated a lot of things he did, particularly with building his gorgeous 1974 Honda CB360.
The locations for Episode 5, were absolutely stunning. And I was truly fortunate to get access to them. Brad’s dad, Tony, is good mates with a guy called Cyril. Cyril is a rare find these days; a very old school, charismatic, self-made businessman (who owns a crane and excavation company) with a mouth of profanity like he was making up for too much political correctness in the world.
Cyril’s backyard was a home-made movie set. The 1950’s diner (which Cyril decided to build for his grand-daughter’s 9th birthday), the mid-western US garage and workshop, the various little timber shacks with vintage paraphernalia scattered in just about every corner.
In one of the workshops, where he kept some of his vintage speedway cars, was a handful of 1940’s Indians. Just sitting there.
“Oh, those f*cken things. Yeah, I’m keen to fix ‘em up one day, “ says Cyril. On one of the days he had an old 1925 Douglas sitting in the driveway, just having a tinker with it.
It was a total blast to shoot in and around all this.
But beyond the movie set, and still in Cyril’s back yard, was the flat track. A sweet little track that I was even allowed to take my car onto to power along my car, giving me some great shots of Brad carving it up. The track was surrounded by some of the coolest stuff. Abandoned train carriages, rusted vintage trucks and an unloved Messerschmitt three-wheeler.
The local area we shot a lot of the road scenes, was totally unexpected too (yes, I hear all you video producers out there saying “What? No pre-shoot reccy?”). At the foothills of the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, with lots of open fields drenched in setting sunlight, it was simply gorgeous scenery.
So getting all of this, into Episode 5 was huge fun. And at the end of the whole editing process, thanks to hearing about certain killer Honda CB360 build, my concept of going into something with pre-conceived ideas really changed.
I came to appreciate just being able to let stories evolve and, like the builds of many great bikes, find their own voice.