This was and is a wonderful story of two friends and a dream that came true. It also shows you that the average bloke with some planning and will can do what others can do with million dollars budgets and fifteen thousand dollar bikes. It is not what you ride but how you ride it and the will to succeed that makes a true adventure. Des Molloy has captured the essence of the common bloke doing uncommon things, just to fulfill a dream. It will warm your heart and your spirit and leave you wanting more. Next thing you know, you will be out back packing your own motorbike for a journey.
Des Molloy reckons that sometimes you plant seeds in your imagination, those seeds become a fantasy, you fuel that fantasy with secret plans and internal planning, daring to tell no-one in case they pull you down or think you nuts. Eventually the stars and the players align, and that fantasy starts to become a reality, you begin to talk about it, until there is no option but to DO IT.
The Last Hurrah was Des’s fantasy. It became, in reality, a road trip on motorbikes starring: Dick Huurdeman, Des’s old friend, a septuagenarian, diabetic (well only on the outside) - inside a hard-man, engineer, hunter and sage; Des himself, a seasoned nomad, who in his own lifetime had travelled through more than 35 countries, and who, in the 70s, had completed a road trip from New Orleans to Buenos Aires with Steph, the woman who became his wife; and his son Steve, their cabin boy, general fixer, buddy and cameraman.
So after much planning their mission was to travel from Beijing to Arnhem in Holland to make the 70th birthday party of Dick’s kid sister Willy. Armed with ‘Penelope’, a 1965 Yorkshire-made 650cc Panther and ‘Dutch Courage’, a 1954 Norton 600, and the right attitude, they picked a route that took them through China, Mongolia, Russia, Kazakstan, Pakistan, Iran, taking in the heights of the Karakoram Highway and pushing on through Turkey and into Europe.
In total they covered some 20,000km. Boats and trains were used where necessary and their adventures and misadventures, the highs, lows, snow storms and eye-burning sixty degree heat are all documented in the fabulous hour long DVD and Des’s witty book. Oh and yes, they made it to the party – by racking up over 700km some days!
I’ve seen The Long Way Round with Ewan and Charlie. I’ve seen The Motorcycle Diaries, about the young Che Guevara’s South American road trip. I’ve seen The World’s Fastest Indian, Tony Hopkins as the crazy, record-breaking, Burt Munro. The Last Hurrah is an equal, whether you are a bike enthusiast or simply a life enthusiast, it is a marvellous tale about guts, hope, brotherhood, motorbikes, travel, the comfort of strangers and making your dreams come true.
The Last Hurrah is a truly inspirational tale and just goes to prove that although the chassis may show the patina of age, the spirit of the finely tuned engine underneath never dies!
The Last Hurrah by Des Molloy – Panther Publishing, ISBN 09547912 5 8