Motorcycle Man: Dave Roper is the only US man to win the Isle of Man TT

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Dave Roper, who has raced a motorbike every single year since 1972, has had a documentary film made about him and his relationship with motorbikes. It is being screened in the UK from May 6, 2021 followed by an interview with Dave and the film’s maker hosted by the BMF.

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During the past 46 years he has ridden exotic, vintage bikes at race tracks around the world and won himself a reputation as a folk hero of the sport. He’s also the only American to have taken a win at the Isle of Man TT, which he achieved in 1984 winning the ‘Historic 500’ category on a Matchless.

Daniel Lovering, the creator of the new documentary about Dave called Motorcycle Man secured crowd-funding in order to get the film finished. It then won awards at several film festivals in 2019.

Dave Roper speaking to MCN in 2018

American legend Dave Roper

What attracted you to racing motorbikes?

“I’ve always been into two wheels, riding push bikes all over as a kid. I find racing the perfect combination of the physical, sensual and cerebral.”

What was your first motorbike and how was it?

“A 1967 Ducati Diana Mark III, probably not the ideal beginner bike, but it set the hook.”

How many races do you think you’ve taken part in?

“Over 2000.”

How many races have you won?

“Probably about half of them.”

What was your best moment on a motorbike?

“Winning the Isle of Man TT.”

What was your worst moment on a motorbike?

“Crashing the 350 Benelli four in the ‘93 Junior Classic Manx GP at Kerrowmoar, but it could have been worse.”

Will you ever retire?

“I will retire when they pry my cold, dead fingers off the clip-ons.  But seriously, who knows. If I feel that I’m getting in the way it’s time to retire.”

What is your favourite motorbike you’ve raced?

“Do I have to choose? As I say, I love singles and there’s something about the horizontal single that does it for me. So, an Aermacchi or Guzzi single, but hard to do better than an AJS 7R or a Matchless G50.”

Who are your racing heroes?

“Jake DeRosier, Stanley Woods, Omobono Tenni, Dick Mann, Jarno Saarinen, Wayne Rainey, Mick Doohan, Valentino Rossi… and I could go on.”

360-degree video of Dave riding a Honda Six…

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Ben Clarke

By Ben Clarke

Assistant Editor (Motorcycling), hick for life, two cylinders max