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VIDEO REVIEW: No Regrets – The David Thorpe Story

VIDEO REVIEW: No Regrets – The David Thorpe Story

Duke Media, the company behind masses of classic motorsports videos stretching back to even the age of Betamax or VHS cassette tapes, have released a brilliant companion video to Dave Thorpe’s recent book “No Regrets… Well Almost.”  Dirt Hub were sent a very welcome copy to review and recommend, so here it is!

Words: Ben Rumbold, Images: Jack Burnicle

There is no introduction necessary for British Motocross fans of a certain age to the institution that is David Thorpe. Although many modern-day fans of the sport know him mainly as the Team Manager of one of the biggest outfits in the British paddock, to those of us who grew up in the 1980s & ‘90s he was the one we could rely on as a true world-beater. He was the Everts or Herlings of his generation in the Grand Prix scene, who could even beat the world-crushing Americans in the Motocross des Nations, and over a five-year period he either got hurt or won a world title – three of them in the end, all in the “King’s class” of the 500cc World Championship at the very pinnacle of its popularity.

The book of his story has been out for over a year now, and the beginning of the DVD very much repeats the tale of his early career as he moved from being a teenage prodigy to a full-factory Honda rider, struggling with the exotic new factory Honda in his first year. The extra colour comes from Roger Harvey, always good for a sweet story, who tells of his first encounter with a tall and fast teenager, and there’s an emotional moment as Dave talks to his old teammate and great title rival Andre Malherbe, who has sadly passed away since.

Just after the 20-minute mark, we get the first archive footage, and it’s worth the wait – Farleigh Castle 1985, that familiar (to us oldies) sharp Nick Harris commentary, the 500 two-stroke burble, the roar and sight of that fervent Farleigh crowd. The charge through the pack brings the goosebumps, and you are absolutely there! The cool, calculating way in which Malherbe responds also adds to the story – Dave really did have to beat one of the very best of all time. “It will be very hard to beat me,” says Andre in an interview from the time, not as arrogantly as it sounds, and said with the same quiet conviction that you hear from Dave himself throughout the video, and in everyday life.

Dave flies to a second moto victory at Thouars in the French GP, 1985.

The 1985 title-winning Swiss GP is shown in full colour, but spoiled a little by a bit of pointless, not even period-relevant indie rock when you’d much rather hear the chants, cheers, and bike noises from the race. The thrilling 1986 finale at Luxembourg, which saw one of the best title deciders of all-time, provides an awesome full stop to the title double.

The disappointments of 1987 & 1988, with extra input from then Team Manager Steve Whitlock – like Rick Johnson, adding some American flavour to the story – brings some genuine emotion from Dave himself when he recalls the moment he had to tell his father about the injury that cost him that year’s world title. The genuine heartache that is still there about, as he puts it, letting his Dad down, truly shows how much that relationship drove Dave underneath it all. It almost hurt worse that all of Keith’s work was in vain due to his own rider error.

We do get some great words from not only Dave himself but also his ex-training partner Dickie Dye, colourful friend Chris Dawson, Whitlock, Dave King, many of his present-day team colleagues, and a shockingly f-bomb-dropping Jack Burnicle!

The 1989 Farleigh footage is just as chills-inducing as it shows the scrap with Jeff Leisk in that glorious atmosphere during a British summer heatwave. Kurt Nicoll is also shown as a driving factor when he suddenly raised his game to be a real problem for DT. The stunning battle at Namur is again sadly overlaid with “dramatic” music that really isn’t required. It’s one of the few faults of the video.

There is a nice moment where David visits the Citadel, and this is perhaps the only other fault, that you want it to go on longer! Get him on the steps where he passed Geboers, get him talking about the fans at the Chalet. We see him talking to Sylvain Geboers outside that building, so it’s a shame we don’t see more of DT walking around the present-day Namur.

Firing to a third straight GP win at the start of 1987, at Sittendorf in Austria, one of Dave’s favourite circuits.

It also would have been nice to have heard about his stunning Motocross des Nations performances. Thorpe was the only European that twice beat the Americans to win overall individually at the Nations, once with gold race pants on! So it’s a shame that we don’t get any of those stories.

It’s good to hear from riders who have raced on Dave’s team, such as Tom Church and Stephen Sword, and see him talking to former team riders Tommy Searle, Jake Nicholls, and Jay Hague. It ends with some sweet family moments and great words from Sylvain Geboers and of course, the final word goes to Keith.

It is a great summary of an amazing career, one that modern day racers can certainly learn from, and one that will bring many fantastic memories back for fans who were there or thereabouts at the time. And unlike many great racers, it’s brilliant to see that Dave is in a happy place to the present day. Still competitive, still burning to win in anything he does, still with the spirit that drove him through the inevitable adversities to achieve a position that no other British rider from any time can match.

For the money it costs, it is well worth picking up either the DVD or certainly the much cheaper download. With Christmas coming, treat yourself or that Motocross fan in your life!

The DVD price is £16.99 and for just the download it’s £7.99. Visit –