Tony McDonald's Retro-Speedway concern lurch into the modern era with this DVD production on the life and times of Mark Loram. Britain's last World Champion recently staged his farewell meeting, so this is a timely release to celebrate the career of one of the sport's recent greats.
Loram is interviewed at length by McDonald and they discuss his career in chronological order, those who have seen the Ray Wilson DVD from the same company will already be familiar with the format. Like the Wilson DVD these tales and recollections are mixed with video footage appropriate to that point in time. This approach works well and the four hours the DVD lasts (over two discs) fly by.
As always, Mark comes across as being very laid back and as a man who would rather say a few well chosen words than a long rambling spiel. At times this does leave the viewer wanting to hear a little more about a particular event or period of time. In this regard this DVD is probably not quite as interesting as the Ray Wilson one, though that may be partly down to much more recent nature of the events covered. Perhaps once those memories have faded a little this DVD will benefit from the same wistful nostalgia.
We praised the production values of the Wilson DVD and are pleased to say that these are maintained in this release. The sound and picture quality are excellent throughout, including the numerous pieces of archive footage that are interspersed with Mark's interview. These span from his days in junior grasstrack, through his days in the National League, on to his time on the World stage and end with the crash at Foxhall Heath that prematurely ended his career.
Given Mark's renowned passing expertise it's no surprise that the vast majority of the races featured are straight out of the top drawer. Indeed the only time he seems happy to settle for a second place is when on the brink of the World Title, knowing that following the leader home will be sufficient and there's absolutely no need for heroics.
One of the most interesting contributors to the DVD is Mark's former manager/driver/mechanic Norrie Allan. Norrie had performed a similar role for Ivan Mauger in previous years, so brought invaluable experience and 'know how' to the Loram camp. It's hinted that Mark and Norrie didn't always see eye to eye, but there's no doubt that Allan's involvement turned Loram from an international racer into a World Champion. His tough negotiating approach, attention to detail and motivational skills definitely helped Loram and indeed set him up for a more comfortable life after speedway than he might otherwise had enjoyed.
Richard Clark from Speedway Star magazine is also good value. He's clearly a good friend of Mark's and seems quite emotional when describing the aftermath of the crash that ended Mark's career and his subsequent announcement of his retirement. Fascinating insights that come across much better in a DVD than they ever could in the written form.
Many of the sport's other big names are asked to share their memories of Mark. Amongst them Neil Middleditch, Terry Russell and Ivan Mauger. Mauger himself expresses the view that Mark is possibly the best overtaker the sport has ever seen, quite a compliment.
The DVD ends with a poignant look at the end of Mark's career and his thoughts on the future - for both himself and the sport. This is perhaps the most interesting section of all, freeing Mark from the need to talk about himself and allowing him to talk openly about the way the sport is headed. He seems more relaxed at this point and his views on air-fences in particular are well worth listening to.
This is a DVD that contains no great surprises, it is what it claims to be, a celebration of the career of Mark Loram and an insight into the stories behind the headlines. A good idea and well executed.
How To Order
By Phone : 01708 734 502
By Post : Send a cheque for £16 (payable to Retro Speedway) (add £2.50 if outside UK) to:
103 Douglas Road
Online : At Retro-Speedway.com
This article was first published on 14th April 2011
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