Motorcycle Sportbike Video: Open Throttle

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by John Polnik

High Speed"ONE HUNDRED FIFTY MILES A #!$@!# HOUR! THIS IS NUTS!", screams Robby, the off-duty police officer, holding a high-pitched, screeching radar gun with the number 150 blinking in the locked position on its screen. "I hope my boss doesn't see this." 

Robby and the rest of the Exit Light Productions crew stand on the side of a county highway in Maple Valley while the director, Nick Rossi, reviews the video monitor footage of Mack's near-supersonic fly-by on his GSXR. Brett Nielsen, president of Team Open Throttle Sport Bike Riders, patiently holds a VHF radio in his hand. "Should I tell him to make another run?" There is a pause as a wry smile creeps across Nick's face. "Nope," he replies. "It's time to get the hell outta here." 

WjheelieLast summer, Exit Light Productions, a Seattle-based digital media company, enlisted Brett Nielsen and his club, Open Throttle Sport Riders (OTSR), to develop the first world-class extreme-sports street bike video ever produced entirely in the Seattle area with all Seattle riders. The video is OPEN THROTTLE and soon you will have the chance to see the incredible culmination of their work. "We watched every stinkin' motorcycle video we could get our hands on, street and dirt. We found that successful dirt bike videos not only had no problem keeping up with the ever-increasing need for shock value, they also seemed to capture a sense of 'lifestyle'. They find a way to relate to their viewers even though 99% of them never intend to jump a house with their YZ 250," says John Polnik, Executive Producer of OPEN THROTTLE. "At the time, all the street bike videos had was a bunch of teenage, shit-talking squids wheeling down the highway while some high school kid hung out of his mom's Nissan with a home video camera. We realized that most real sport bike riders haven't been thinking about skipping first period for some time now." 

Setting up the shot for a glide cam"Hottest day of the summer and we have a hundred guys and gals standing around on a black top parking lot wearing leathers," observes an Exit Light production assistant, Donnie Hemminger. He readies a custom rear-facing seat and harness that hangs from the back of a converted Dodge minivan. The van is parked at the Mercer Island Park & Ride on this August morning as over a hundred sport bike enthusiasts from clubs all over the western Washington area swelter in the heat. Among them are Sharon Knight's "Knightriders", Cycle Barn sport bike riders, I-90 Powersports riders, WRMMA racers and, of course, OTSR. The riders wait patiently in their riding gear for the big moment when the mass of humanity and machine will leave the parking lot. Every sport bike imaginable, from a brand spanking new Hyabusa to a duct-taped and baling-wired '84 VFR are poised for their debut. At precisely 10AM, the Exit Light Productions crew begins to work its magic that will forever imbed all involved a permanent place in motorcycle history. 

The minivan leads the entire procession to the I-90 on-ramp, completely taking over the three-lane highway, and heads for Seattle with cameras ready and rolling in positions all over the city. A sea of never-ending crotch rockets rolls into downtown Seattle while the sports fans, going to see the new Safeco field, stay outside to see the real action. Slick urbanites who think they've seen it all stop to take a second look, and tourists run for cover. OPEN THROTTLE owns the Emerald City on this blazing summer day. 

SB Motorsports, a race and streetbike outfitter in the Southend, was a sponsor for the video. "If you ride around here, you're probably in the video," says the owner, Rick Salmon. "I sell a ton of these motorcycle videos and I've just been waiting for someone to do one here. I mean, look at all the great locations. Look at all the bikers. The rest of the country thinks it rains too much here for anyone to ride." 

Taking sentiments like this to heart, Exit Light realized the potential of the Northwest to produce a truly first-rate motorcycle video. "One of the hardest decisions we faced was how to choose which locations to shoot. The choices were so vast. We narrowed it down to key geographical locations unique to Puget Sound area," says John Polnik. "We shot spectacular footage in the canyon high roads of the North Cascade highway at Lake Diablo, the luscious beachhead twisters on Vashon Island, the world-class Seattle International Raceway and, of course, the legendary streets of the Emerald City itself." 

The OPEN THROTTLE video is available starting on March 15th. To video stream a two minute " teaser " of OPEN THROTTLE, click here .

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