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Johnny Brittain won more than 50 trials competitions between 1948 and 1965. In this new DVD he tells his own story. Anarchy (partial to a spot of Enfields off-road riding himself) reviews the film…
Johnny Brittain had a long-standing association with Royal Enfield in the 1950s. He competed in the ISDT for 15 consecutive years winning 13 gold medals. This DVD is aimed at telling his story. I met Johnny in 2003 in Redditch and he is a nice chap; this interview DVD shows his down-to-earth character well.
I have to admit that this kind of product is really for a very select audience. You need to be both a Royal Enfield fanatic and also very keen on pre-65 trials to perhaps fully appreciate the content.
The film consists of 105 minutes of mainly Johnny talking in his armchair with cuts to still images from the period. It’s a shame that of only three brief moving video clips I remember that we see of him, sadly two have video interlacing wobble from the film to video transfer. That’s the problem with many of these historic sporting events; there simply weren’t many of them recorded to film.
While I was watching the DVD I kept feeling that perhaps his story would have been better captured in a book, where the viewer can linger over the still images and get into the transcript of the story, creating the imagery in the reader’s mind. The publisher, Gordon May, has produced some good books on Royal Enfield and is more than capable of publishing Johnny’s story in print.
Johnny started off riding for DMW and then James, where he beat the three James works riders in his first ISDT in the 125cc class. He then started riding for Royal Enfield on the British bike that had the only swinging arm, cush drive and neutral finder at that time, the Bullet. 1950 was his first full year riding the Bullet where he managed to win a special first class gold award in the Scottish six days trial, a nine hundred mile gruelling competition.
If you are seriously into Royal Enfield trials motorcycles you will find this DVD interesting. Thumbs up for documenting his story.
Reviewed by Paul Grace
Pre-65 stuff on eBay
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The Johnny Brittain Story DVD costs £11.95 from 0161 494 6665 or www.royalenfield books.com
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