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Interview with 'Motorcycle Man' and the only US man to win the Isle of Man TT

Published: 18 July 2018

Dave Roper, who has raced a motorbike every single year since 1972, is having  documentary made about him and his relationship with motorbikes. 

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 is looking for crowd-funding in order to get the film finished.

"I began working on Motorcycle Man on my own time in the summer of 2016, filming Roper at two locations in New York and a race track in Canada. After raising initial funds, I was able to hire an editor and we recently completed a rough cut.

"To finish the film, I'll need to raise more funds to cover the final phase of post-production—I'm hoping to raise at least $15,000.

"If all goes well, we plan to submit the film to festivals and eventually seek wider distribution."

An initial phase of fundraising raised $11,538, tantalisingly close to the target figure. A second phase of fundraising is now underway on the Filmmakers Collaborative website.

MCN had the opportunity to fire a few questions at Dave about his racing career:

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...

Visit the Filmmakers Collaborative crowd-funding page to help fund Motorcycle Man.