The Roadracers

Dailies -



With a voiceover you would expect for a documentary about the last uncontacted Amazonian tribe, The Roadracers, shot in 1977 and released in 1979, offers a strangely voyeuristic look at three Irish road racers from Armoy: Frank Kennedy, Mervyn Robinson and Joey Dunlop. While billed as a celebration of the skill and tenacity of road racers, certain points of the film seem to paint racing as a frivolous waste of money and I’m also completely confused by the American country music soundtrack. That said, there’s some amazing footage of 1977 Irish road racing. It’s available right now on YouTube in 4 parts.

YouTube Preview Image

YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image
  • Michael

    It’s a variant of American country you could more properly call ‘Honky Tonk’ Before it was written off as line dancing pickup truck right wing a-hole music, it was the music of the outlaw, the loner, the bad-ass rebel.

    I think it fits perfectly.

    Thanks so much for posting this. I wrecked last weekend and smashed myself up pretty good. Now I’ve got something to watch while laying around waiting the percocets to kick in.

    • Sean Smith

      I mean, I like Johnny Cash just as much as the next guy, but I was expecting to hear something more along the lines of Whiskey in the Jar.

      Good luck with the healing. Make sure to take some pics if you’re horribly disfigured or have any open wounds; we’ll have another scar off eventually.

      • Michael

        Thanks. But all this pain and not a single damn scar to show off to chicks. If I don’t get one from my wrist surgery I’m to paste a fucking fake one on somewhere when I go drinking.

  • Archer

    That was just lovely. Hokey “reverb announcer” production crap aside, one got a sense of the grit required to get it done in those times.

    Thanks for the links Sean.

  • george_fla

    The Armoy Armada are legend,thanks for posting this up.

  • Anthony Wayne

    Awesome. I used to love it when my dad would take out his race bike and haul ass up our road.

  • Peter.C.

    Awesome! cant wait to check it out thanks.

  • JOHN

    Great to see how they did it back in the day when money was tight.Borrowing parts and equipment off each other.
    BTW C&W music was and still is popular in Ireland.

    • Sean Smith

      Well I guess that makes sense of that. Weird.

  • Coreyvwc

    I can only hope to someday be as badass as these guys.

  • Todd

    The fishing boat sank after this film was made on the trip to the Isle of Man. I don’t remember which year. 1978 or 1979 maybe. Joey Dunlop and others had to fish their bikes out of the Irish Sea.

    • Todd

      Also Mervyn Robinson was killed in 1980 participating in the Northwest 200.

  • BuellDoc

    What a difference! Just got finishing watching the preview for the film “Charge”
    with silent racing bikes, then I tune in to the sounds of scream’n two strokes. I miss the smell of “bean” oil and the sound of “coming on to the powerband”