The life and times of Aussie world champion motorcycling star Wayne Gardner hits the big screen next week highlighting the role legendary Kiwi rider Graeme Crosby played in his career.
The movie Wayne opens at theatres detailing the rise of the young Australian from the steel town of Wollongong, his rapid rise from going halves in a $5 first bike to stardom and eventually becoming world champion in 1987.
Kiwi great Crosby helped give a driven young Gardner the chance to pursue his unwavering dream of becoming world champion. Crosby's career preceded Gardner's by a few years and the former became a bit of a mentor for the promising Australian.
It was Crosby that gave Gardner his first major chance to compete in Europe when he offered the youngster a ride at the Moriwaki Kawasaki team he owned.
"I have got a great relationship with Crozzo," Gardner told The Herald. "I remember watching him back in the late 1970s and early 1980s riding Superbikes and I used to admire him.
"I liked his style – he was a funny character, doing wheelies and burnouts and making a showman of himself and I thought that was a really clever way of marketing himself especially when he didn't have the bike or the equipment to show the results.
"He taught me how to be a showman and being different from the rest.
"He is a great mate.
"I also ended up riding for him in 1981 when I was with Moriwaki UK because Crozzo was part of the ownership of it.
"Without Crozzo and Moriwaki I wouldn't have made it. It is that when you get opportunities you make the most of them."
Gardner was a superstar of Grand Prix motorcycling in the 1980s. He came from a humble background and overcame numerous struggles to achieve his dreams and won the world championship in 1987.
His story is an inspiring one but the now 58-year-old was surprised someone wanted to make a movie about his life three decades after his career came to an end.
"Matthew Metcalf from GSC films contacted me and said that he had read my book and that he thought my story was amazing and that he wanted to make a movie about my life," Gardner explained.
"I asked him if he thought it was a bit late because my career finished 30 years ago. He said no because it is a great inspirational story for younger people and it will also fill in the dots where people didn't know about the early part of my career. They don't know about the struggle street.
"He talked me into it."
The finished product got his tick of approval though he admitted to feeling a bit weird watching it for the first time.
"It has been mixed emotions to be honest. When I first saw it I found it confronting and I didn't know how to take it. I was in tears watching it because I have never been one of those people that look back.
"It made me emotional but it also humbled me and I am proud about it.
"I did not want a racing bike movie. I wanted a story about the love with Donna, the racing and the injuries and crashes, the wins and the losses and broken bones and they have captured it relatively well within in the 90 minutes or so."